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Showbiz Ribs Rubbing Downtowners the Right Way

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Thursday, September 11, 2008, at 10:48AM
Showbiz Ribs Ed Fuentes

Showbiz Ribs Assistant Manager Andy Webber with General Manager Bill Cook.

It didn't take long for people to find Showbiz Ribs when it held its soft opening on August 14th. A crowd of carnivores were waiting outside the door, GM Bill Cook recalls. "We didn’t even have time to finish writing the menu board. All it said was ‘ribs’ –– and we ran out."

The eatery is well stocked now, and Downtowners will want to take as much note of the hours prominently posted on the storefront and menus.

Downtown's dining options have improved drastically over the past few years, but there is still a lack of affordable mid-range restaurants open on the weekend. Showbiz will be open until 9pm, seven nights a week. That's a bold move when there's little else offering similar hours in the surrounding blocks.

Owner Tony Katsaras, known to the staff as Tony K, is a music producer and actor who collected BBQ recipes while traveling on tours. Starting with the Santa Maria style of BBQ, the menu is a collective of dishes from around the United States.

The array of marinated meats is managed by 4-star sous-chef Mitch Anderson. “The combined slow smoke and dry rub are different from fast cooking techniques. It's an older style of pit barbeque,” Anderson says.

Menu favorites include the pulled pork, moistened by its own natural juices, the slow-roasted tri-tip and small, meaty baby back ribs. Even the pastrami leaves a smoky taste in your mouth without hiding its bite. The cornbread is flaky, and Showbiz offers a warm honey/butter dip to top it off. The macaroni and cheese -- rather the macaroni and six–cheese -- has a rich bold texture and a slight taste of garlic.

Then there is the peach cobbler. It's a confident dish that allows no other desert to be on the menu, and it won’t need company. The graham cracker crust sits on a bed of secrets, a light layer protecting perfect peaches until you recover from filling up on BBQ.

As for the decor, the shots of movie stars give off the same cheesy goodness as the mac dish. The upper floor of the former fast food location will be transformed into more dining, and may later be equipped with a bar. Downstairs, a basement once used for storage will be converted into a high end dining location to be dubbed the Green Room, giving BBQ lovers a spot to hide from vegan-loving spouses.

While Downtown doesn't have a vast choice of BBQ, Showbiz Ribs is a welcomed addition to Original Texas BBQ King and Spring Street Smoke House.

_Showbiz Ribs / 520 West 6th / (213) 439-5700 / Monday to Friday: 11am to 9 pm, Saturday: 12 noon to 9pm, Sunday: 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm__

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