Nestled among Thayer Street’s many attractions sits the newly installed and already-popular Durk’s Bar-B-Q restaurant, which has remained jam-packed since its opening earlier this semester.
Durk’s was brought to Thayer by Jake Rojas of student favorite Tallulah’s Taqueria, as well as Steve Durkee and Jay Carr, the minds behind another Providence food scene hub — The Eddy.
The decoration of the elongated restaurant is that of a traditional barbecue joint reinterpreted by a Brooklynite hipster — consciously stylish, with deep colors and dark woods.
With sports-bar-type seating as well as sit-down dining, Durk’s offers a wide range of bourbons and whiskeys tempered with bitters, along with a sweet, unique selection of cocktails.
Due to its newly established popularity among East Side residents and the fact that it doesn’t take reservations, patrons at Durk’s may face a bit of a wait — but the delay is well worth the many offerings of brisket, pulled pork, ribs and cornbread that await patrons inside. In addition to the usual barbecue fixings, a full subsection of the menu features sandwiches, with traditional sausage, beef and pulled pork options as well as mixed-meat combination specialties like the “Ridurkulous,” a combination of chopped beef and sausage, and the “Dirty Durk,” made with sausage and pulled pork. Curious culinary offerings at first glance, both dishes present patrons with a unique, delicious twist complimented by potato bread buns.
The “Dirty Durk” was the most succulent and delectable of the mixed-meat bunch due to the authentic, hometown taste of its savory sauce. But the menu offers many hearty fan favorites, from the sausage to the pork ribs to the brisket. Durk’s dishes are well-seasoned, tender and perfectly flavored with the restaurant’s signature barbecue sauce, while pricey side dishes like moist, buttery cornbread, crunchy pork rinds, smoked sweet potatoes, crispy brussels sprouts and zesty pimento cheese bring a diverse range to an otherwise meat-heavy menu. Gooey mac’n’cheese, though offered as a side, had main-dish potential.
While the food trended toward traditional Southern barbecue, the portion sizes did not. To the chagrin of the customer’s dollar, dishes often skimped on the nicely seasoned meats, and sandwiches in particular were more bread than meat. Additionally, the logistics of ordering proved awkward and cumbersome, as a representative from each dining group must scribble down orders on a form to hand to kitchen staff.
Overall, despite its shortcomings, Durk’s monopoly as the only restaurant on Thayer that offers an array of succulent, juicy slow-cooked barbecue meats is more than enough to keep its patrons coming back again and again.