Sticks to the ribs

Photo By David Robert

Aunt Sticky’s BBQ sauce is a wonder—but, wait, who is Aunt Sticky?

We felt like having an indoor picnic, so we went to Aunt Sticky’s Famous BBQ, which opened in mid-June in the old Little Caesar’s pizza place just west of the Village Shopping Center on California Avenue.

I was curious about this Aunt Sticky character, so I asked, “Who is Aunt Sticky?”

The cashier behind the counter grinned.

“She’s at home,” she said, nearly blushing.

“She’s a mythological creature,” called the chef/owner, Matt Spratt, from the back kitchen, puffs of black smoke being sucked up into the fans above the grill behind him. He was smiling. Neither was going to come clean.

Whoever or whatever Aunt Sticky may be, her BBQ tastes delightful.

Michael and I went whole-hog and half-chicken: We ordered a pulled pork sandwich served with one side dish ($6.50); a half order of pork spareribs served with two sides and a fresh baked corn muffin ($7.50); and a half chicken ($7.99), also served with two sides and a corn muffin.

When our food came, we had to lean back from the table to survey it all. We ended up with every side dish offered: coleslaw, potato salad, baked beans (with hunks of bacon), a small ear of corn and a green salad. Along with the sandwich and spareribs came a flame-seared, bright green, long skinny pepper.

The pulled pork sandwich was a pork-lover’s delight: A ton of seasoned, slow-roasted, ever-so-tender pork on a six-inch sesame seed roll, slathered in BBQ sauce. Chef Spratt said his wife rubs the pork with secret family seasonings.

Is his wife “Aunt Sticky?” I prodded and prodded, but he wouldn’t tell me family secrets, like the special ingredients in the BBQ sauce, which was nice—not too sweet, but tangy with a kick.

“It has an aftertaste, doesn’t it?” Spratt teased. “It takes about five or six trips here before you discover what it is.”

That means we have five or six pulled pork sandwiches in our future.

The spareribs were just as mouth-watering. Sometime between the sandwich and the spareribs, Michael said, “You just gotta get messy.”

A paper napkin dispenser was conveniently placed on each of the four dine-in tables.

If you’re really in the mood for ribs, you can get a full order ($10.50) or a rack ($15.95).

Likewise, if you want chicken, you can get a whole chicken ($13.95). The menu doesn’t lie about the chicken: “Juicy, tender and ohhh the flavor!!!” The half order included an individual breast, thigh, wing and drumstick.

The whole time we sat in the tidy, cozy-as-you-wanna-be (with Americana and knick-knacks galore) small restaurant, other customers streamed steadily through the door. But everyone else took BBQ to go.

We discovered what those to-go patrons know when we received our packaged leftovers: Aunt Sticky’s uses high-quality take-out cartons.

While standing at the counter waiting for our leftovers to be packaged, I spotted an espresso machine and a dozen or so tall bottles of espresso syrups on a back counter.

“Do you serve espresso here?” I asked.

The chef told me he and his wife used to run the concession stand at Home Depot and that they are waiting for the right kind of power outlet to be installed. When that comes, Aunt Sticky’s will sell espresso drinks.

After all was said and eaten at Aunt Sticky’s, it sure felt good to get home to some dental floss.