Get messy

My BBQ Spot

2502 J St.
Sacramento, CA 95816

(916) 442-4446

It could be a drag for some of Mr. Dixon’s future takeout customers. The cramped space of My BBQ Spot is filled. All seats are occupied. Folks line the wall waiting for their orders to come up. The next customers will wait outside where rain is imminent.

There’s not much Mr. Dixon can do except secretly rejoice in his success. He mans the register, fielding orders in his bright red apron, which identifies him as Mr. Dixon.

Marcey Brightwell, former KXTV political reporter turned PR maven for Rose & Kindel Grayling Communications, and I are lucky. We snag two seats of a table for six (black-and-white-checkered tablecloth with easy-to-wipe-down glass on top). Well-stocked dispensers of doublewide paper towels stand tall in the table’s center. But, in a break with barbecue tradition, no moist hand wipes. Soon, the other seats become occupied. Marcey meets and greets while I queue to communicate our Q choices to Mr. Dixon.

There’s neither beer nor lemonade, but Mr. Dixon assures both deficiencies will be soon rectified. To my undying shame, my purpose in inviting Marcey is to see her get messy manhandling some back ribs. So naturally, she goes for the chicken sandwich, and I tussle with a half rack and wash it down with raspberry ice tea.

Marcey says she has the palate of a 10-year-old, so a side of macaroni and cheese is added. Bad idea. Our waitress—it’s her first day—delivers the generous-sized sandwich, the ribs and macaroni.

To be charitable, let it simply be said mac ’n’ cheese is not one of the strengths of Mr. Dixon’s two kitchen-based, Q-creating partners. One taste and Marcey wrinkles her nose. Untouched, the dish grows cold and congeals.

The barbecue, however, is good. Mr. Dixon is right when he says he told his buddies that their homemade barbecue was so good they ought to open a restaurant. It is a public service that he gives them such an opportunity.

Mr. Dixon cautions that the spicy sauce is way spicy and, as a compromise, recommends half spicy and half standard on my meaty half rack. As a lover of heat, the hot stuff could be plenty hotter, although it generates a little smoke.

Mr. Dixon keeps the menu simple: tri tip and chopped chicken sandwiches with a drink for $6.95. Brisket and pork sandwiches for $6.45 and a hot link sandwich for $5.95. A full rack of baby backs is $17.45, half is $10.95. There are some salad offerings but, seriously, is that why you’re here? Bring on the Q, pile some crinkle-cut fries into the red plastic serving basket and keep the paper towels coming.

Mr. Dixon relishes his role as Q Spot major-domo and frontman. He asks me by name if I want an ice tea refill. He addresses the gentlemen seated next to us by name as well. He probably reads the names off the order slips before coming over, but still seems genuinely warm.

Mr. Dixon lingers. Since my notebook is out, I figure he’s currying favor with the big-deal restaurant reviewer. After about 30 seconds, it’s clear Mr. Dixon’s presence has nothing to do with the notebook and everything to do with the statuesque blonde across the table, with eyes a man would eagerly cliff-dive into, even at low tide.

Business is boisterous, Mr. Dixon says. There’s talk of opening a My BBQ Spot franchise in Roseville. And bottling the elixir so it can be snatched from supermarket shelves and used by mere mortals to brighten pork, chicken or brisket.

Pretty heady stuff considering February’s Second Saturday was Mr. Dixon’s barbecue business’s one-month anniversary.

Mr. Dixon says his goal is to offer a happy Midtown middle ground between grabbing a sandwich at Bon Air (or another deli) or hitting a restaurant where $20 a person is the norm. This he’s done—with strong success.

Marcey says Q places should be rated on number of paper towels stained. There’s a very respectable pile of 14 by the time we leave.