Ballantyne Magazine

SPRING 2013

Ballantyne Magazine covers news, events, real estate, restaurants, shopping, health, schools and business in the upscale Ballantyne Area of Charlotte, NC.

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Flavorful Fun Elwood���s Serves Up ���Cue, Burgers in Relaxed Setting By Amy Rogers Photos by Ray Sepesy HARDLY ANYTHING WILL GET FOLKS RILED UP FASTER than a lively discussion of barbecue and what kind is best: pork or beef, chopped or sliced, tomato- or vinegar-based sauce? At Elwood���s Barbecue & Burger Bar, choosing a favorite is probably impossible. The family-owned restaurant proudly serves ���cue that���s hickory-smoked on site, along with a menu that features traditional fare as well as modern versions of old favorites. Patriarch Jim ���Spanky��� Sprowles gives generous credit for the restaurant���s success to his two sons, Jamie and Justin, and to his wife of 41 years, Betty, who works in management. ���Jamie is the ���food guru,������ who develops the recipes and oversees the kitchen, explains Spanky. ���Justin is the ���personality��� of the business.��� Justin designed the space, along with the eye-catching signage, menus and web graphics that give Elwood���s its brand of flavorful fun. Originally, Elwood���s offered quick service for customers who Above: The familyowned eatery will take your order at the counter or serve you at the table. Left: If you love ribs, Elwood���s has you covered. Bottom Left: Local craft beers are a popular choice at the cozy bar. liked to order at the counter during their lunch hour. But staff noticed that more and more, people really wanted to linger, often in the evenings when they���d drop off their children at karate lessons or other activities. Some of Elwood���s regulars still stroll up to the counter to order ��� and to say hello ��� but most now enjoy table service. Brisket Bravado People boast about the brisket here, proclaiming that even a Texan or two has deemed it the best ever. Elwood���s popular brisket tacos with grilled avocado slices are a clever take on a familiar item, but the true menu standout is the platter of smoked meat, simply sliced with a choice of side dishes. Spanky explains, ���A lot of people define barbecue by the sauce. We define it by its preparation and its stand-alone taste.��� That���s a purist���s perspective, to be sure. But aficionados who like to sample blends, with helpful suggestions on the bottle to encourage perfect a variety of sauces won���t be disappointed. Elwood���s offers its own pairings. The ���Red Sauce��� is a stick-to-the-ribs favorite. ���Piedmont Vinegar��� will please fans of Eastern N.C.-style barbecue, and ���Elwood Sauce��� goes best with pork and chicken. Elwood���s also offers salads, sandwiches, Brunswick stew, burgers and ribs. The most creative appetizer, ���Penos del Don,��� consists of hickory-smoked jalapenos filled with pork and cheese, then wrapped in bacon. They���re one of several items honoring namesake Don Elwood, a beloved family friend and business associate. As a tribute to his exuberant personality, the Sprowles family named the place for him. Community Fixture Although situated in the modern Hunter���s Crossing development where Elwood���s opened in August 2011, the eatery feels like it���s continued on page 61 SPRING 20 1 3 BALLANTYNE MAGAZINE 59

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