25 February, 2020, 18:15

New Q: Locally-owned “BBQ Shack” to open on 22nd St. just east of Kolb

The 2,600-square-foot restaurant will host a soft opening Friday, April 26. But don't expect brisket - it's pork and chicken only.

Local catering company R & R Family Kitchen announced plans to expand their brick-and-mortar space with a restaurant called BBQ Shack.

The 2,600-square-foot restaurant at 7230 E. 22nd St. will host a soft opening on Friday, April 26.

R & R started in April 2007 as a restaurant at 1101 N. Wilmot Rd.; it closed in March 2012. It also had a location at 8270 S. Houghton Rd. for two years and a location at 1745 E. River Rd. in 2015, which also closed.

“We decided after that, that we would only focus on our catering business,” said Robert Ramos, chef at R & R and BBQ Shack. “But the demand from our customers for smaller portions and a few pounds of our meats made us make the decision to open up our dining room.”

The small BBQ Shack dining room seats 16 guests. However, the restaurant specializes in ready-to-serve pick-up orders at affordable prices that compare with meal kit services.

Half chicken at BBQ Shack (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Half chicken at BBQ Shack (Credit: Jackie Tran)

“Working moms and dads don’t have time or are too tired to cook when they get off work, and then they have to clean up the mess afterwards,” Ramos said. “With our family-style meals you just pick up, serve it, and you’re done. Our meals come with all the disposable plates, napkins, silverware and beverages also.”

Quarter-pound sandwiches with a side ring in at $5.99. Meat plate with two sides and house-made dinner rolls or cornbread start at $10; family meals for four start at $29.99.

Discounts for military and first responders are also available.

“We are only offering pork and chicken in our restaurant and will be bringing seasonal items like our Beef BBQ Meatloaf, Pork Shanks and BBQ Surf & Turf for limited times,” Ramos said. “Beef has gotten so expensive I cannot offer it at a price everyone can afford. We have eliminated a hostess, fountain drinks and fancy decor to pass these savings to our loyal customers.”

Pulled pork sandwich at BBQ Shack (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Pulled pork sandwich at BBQ Shack (Credit: Jackie Tran)

The busy catering side also helps keeps prices low, Ramos said. While the restaurant is focused on barbecue, the catering offers various styles such as Mexican, Italian, seafood, and vegan. Furthermore, they specialize in weddings, corporate events, and on-site cooking and will work with anyone’s budget.

BBQ Shack’s hickory smoke barbecue doesn’t fit into any particular regional convention.

“My style is my own,” Ramos said. “I have never been to any other barbecue states or have tried any popular method for cooking meats. I was trained by chef Jan at the Hilton El Conquistador [Tucson] many many years ago on what spices, seeds and flowers go best with what protein. Knowledge I will never share until I decide to sell the company.”

The baby back ribs featured a house-made ketchup-based sweet barbecue sauce. The meat was tender enough to slide off the bone with its own weight, a quality Ramos said his customers ask for.

Facade at BBQ Shack (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Facade at BBQ Shack (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Additionally, the half chicken is juicier thanks to a long brine and Ramos’ proprietary slow steam cooking process.

Side dishes are simple and traditional with options such as mac and cheese and coleslaw. No exotic ingredients, just good old-fashioned nostalgia.

Operating hours will be 3 – 8:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. Saturday. Catering is available daily. Hours may expand in June to include lunch.

BBQ Shack is located at 7230 E. 22nd St. For more information, call (520) 258-9994 or visit rrbbqtucson.com.

Jackie is a food writer and photographer native to Tucson. He loves corgis and still thinks rickrolling is funny. If you'd like to stalk him, visit jackietran.com and his Instagram @jackie_tran_.

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