Good & Looney325 Harbour Cove Dr. Suite 101
Sparks, NV 89434
Good and Looney Bar-B-Que is a perfect destination for a cold winter night because it’s like the Fourth of July all year round. The food is the best sort of All-American backyard cookin', the location is on the shores of the scenic Sparks Marina—my favorite local vacation destination—and some of the dishes even have patriotic names like “star-spangled fries.”
Owners Tim Good and Kim Looney are cheerful and welcoming, and the place has a down-home, good-times, great-oldies atmosphere. The signs, menus and business cards are adorned with a cartoon cow and pig having a grand ol’ time down on the farm. I love a place that has animal mascots that are real excited about their impending doom and consumption. I always just think, “Ah, you’re so cute, I just want to eat the heck out of you.”
I had the half rack of ribs and brisket dinner ($15.95)—a huge plate of food that includes cornbread and two sides. I went with coleslaw and fries. My friend Paul had the similarly gargantuan pulled pork and brisket combo dinner ($13.95). Not only are the quantities sized for people who like to win eating contests, but the food’s also terrific.
One unusual thing about the barbecue at Good and Looney is that the meat is smoked “dry rubbed” and served without barbecue sauce. The food is then served with four bottled sauces, each representing a different region and style: the vinegar-based North Carolina, the mustard-based Memphis, the molasses-based Kansas City, and the hot and spicy Texas. This practice might annoy some barbecue traditionalists, but I loved it. Tasting the different sauces back-to-back helped me distinguish the subtleties of the different styles. There’s something to be said for all four styles, but I think I like the Memphis the best. But I’ve got kinfolk back in Tennessee, so maybe I’m biased.
The meat is cooked to that near-perfect point of seeming to nearly melt in your mouth, and the side dishes were also very tasty, with unmistakable home-cooking flavors. This is a good place to gorge.
I didn’t know how full I was until I stood up and realized I had a wad of meat the size and approximate density of a bowling ball rolling around in my stomach. I promptly sat right back down. Paul and I were completely immobilized by all the food and therefore incapable of leaving. So we decided that if we were just going to be sitting there awhile, we might as well drink ourselves into a stupor.
We ordered a few more drinks and enjoyed the view of the marina. We had a nice conversation with the owner, Tim, mostly about beer. He’s just the sort of guy you like to see running a ma-and-pa establishment—likable, knowledgeable and passionate about his business and the happiness of his customers, even a couple of new guys like us.
For no reason other than to generate some goodwill—he had no idea I was there to do a review—he bought us a round of drinks and gave us some sweet potato fries (sides are normally $2.95), which would’ve been good if I hadn’t already been too full to enjoy them.
Friendly gestures, along with good food, is what this place is all about. If you look out at the marina, you’ll swear that you see, reflected there in the water, fireworks.