by Kat Robinson
I can’t write about places I ate in my youth without including Sims Bar-B-Que. Sims was one of those places that was a real treat -- Mom would go by on her way home from work and pick up a family pack, and that and an extra loaf of bread from the bread store down the street would last us a while. I remember being so entranced by that sauce that I’d soak up all the remaining sauce from the little paper boat inside the tightly wrapped aluminum with a slice of bread and be happy with it.
That’s the thing about Sims… ‘cue is served on white bread, end of story. Unless you are high-falutin’ and want to splurge the 35 cents for a bun. Me? I’d rather spend the 35 cents on the addition of slaw, the Arkansas way to eat barbecue. Of course, a Sims sandwich ($6 for any meat that’s on it) is not eaten with the hands unless you are very, very careful and have lots of napkins. Napkins, in my honest opinion, only rob you of the opportunity to soak up more of the runny, vinegary sweet sauce. When you go to eat in the store, a fork is handily provided, a real fork wrapped in plastic for your sanitary approval.
Thing is, barbecue is a luxury item… full of meat fat and goodness and grease. Something to be savored on a limited basis. More on the jump.
For instance, Sims ribs… when you talk about meat dripping, this is the image that comes to mind: pork ribs dripping with barbecue sauce and melted pork fat, pink inside from the smoke ring, juicy and falling off the bone. For a rib dinner ($8), you get your ribs stacked up on a pile of white bread (what else?), with a couple of side items. You could go for the BBQ beans, but my companion decided on the not-too-sweet and slightly pasty potato salad and a pile of slaw.
You know, one thing I have never tried myself is the Bar-B-Que Salad ($5.40), but now I’ve seen what it is I just might. It’s a big old bowl of lettuce and huge chunks of tomato and a pile of cheese and a pile of Bacos and within a huge amount of meat (your choice, of course) with a sea of sauce and a more than generous supply of your choice of salad dressing as well. Looks like fun.
Of course, one thing that Sims does especially well is a sweet potato pie ($2 a slice) that defies comparison. This ain’t your storebought special. There’s a lovely custard-smooth, sweet and spicy glow to each slice that’s like stealing a bite of pie off the dessert table at Sunday dinner before eating your vegetables. I will say this -- some things have changed. I like the fries better now -- for some reason, I can’t dig up in my memory what they were like before, but it’s obvious that a French fry cutter has been acquired, and the fresh skin-on potatoes are crispy as chips on the outside and mushy within, almost like home fries with a crunch. I’ll take ‘em. Sims is also one of the few places around where I know you can order up a mess of greens if you want them. That ain’t bad. I tend to run over to the location on John Barrow… just like I did when I was in high school. Others might go for the Geyer Springs location. I haven’t been over to the one at Roosevelt and Broadway yet, but I can’t imagine it’d serve up ‘cue any less tangy or tasty. Go check out the website -- yeah, they have one, too.