Most of us remember this place as Birchfield’s, while a very small number of us remember it as the short-lived Coco’s. Now this Main Street restaurant location is home to The Oakk Room, a barbecue joint that is owned by Dennis Wilson and Curtis McCutcheon. While running a restaurant successfully is a full time job in itself, the main ingredient for retaining customers is good food. Of course, good food can only be served up by quality chefs, and when it comes to good barbecue Adam Thomas and Fred Daniel are the guys you want cooking away on the grill.
Unfortunately I missed the barbecue cook-off held on the Fourth of July, but I was lucky enough to stop by last night to try Adam’s Jerk ribs and Fred’s cornbread. Being a pescatarian (for the most part), I found myself confronted with a dilemma when Dennis placed a plate of ribs in front of me. Without mentioning a word, I picked up one of Adam’s ribs and took a bite (after all, what was done was done). Although it had been quite a while since I had eaten a rib, I was immediately transported back to a time when I knew a good rib from a not-so-good one. The rib at the Oakk Room was like no other that I had ever tried. The meat was flavorful and packed a spicy Jerk punch. Thankfully ‘the kick’ was not so overpowering and allowed the sweet and tangy flavors to shine through. The combination was a one-two punch, not to mention that the meat was plentiful and fell off the bone with the help of only fingers.
Fred’s cornbread was the perfect pairing with the ribs. Light and sweet and so moist that it melted right in my mouth. Cornbread can be tough, and everyone has his or her favorite style of preparation. Normally cornbread is too dry for my taste, so I tend to stay away from it unless someone recommends it. In this case, I must say that the only way the cornbread could have been any better would have been if it was served with baked beans to slather it in. A nice cold beer was on hand to wash the meal down, and as I sipped I took in the room, which has remained virtually intact since the days of Coco’s (seen here). The Oakk Room has a great bar and plenty of tables and booths. My bar server, Tasha, was sweet and accommodating, and Adam and Dennis were really happy to show off the establishment as well as the family cooking with me.
The Oakk Room opens to the public this week and is featuring a slew of different chicken offerings including Jerk, curry, baked, country fried and honey dipped. Fish offerings range from beer battered with waffle fries to baked curry with Cajun rice, green beans and cornbread. Ask for extra napkins because the food is downhome delicious… and messy when eaten with your hands (the way it’s supposed to be). Open Monday through Saturday from 4pm to 12pm.
Specialty drinks are available – featuring Berry Islander, Feelin’ Peachy, Pear Bear, Sour Puss, Sweet and Sour, Apple Oakky Shooters, Hammertime and The Slammer. The bartender will even throw on some theme music for those looking to indulge in the island drinks. Live jazz (no set schedule as of yet) and martini Wednesdays.
Photos courtesy The Oakk Room