RoRo BBQ, Before Ballard

Georgetown is where the smoke bellows most beautifully.

Ballard is in the midst of a barbecue boom, and the local chain RoRo is in on the action, having taken over the landmark Zesto's space early last week. But it's in Georgetown where RoRo feels most like itself.

Housed in a simple two-story white building that previously contained a popular vegan restaurant, Squid & Ink, the Georgetown RoRo is close enough to Boeing Field for small planes to land on its flat roof should they time their descent a bit too early. A couple hours before RoRo opens at 10:30, a young lady in an old pickup cuts across RoRo's parking lot, smoking a cigarette and blasting Journey with the window rolled down in cold weather. In her tailpipe's wake, a bikini-clad barista serves hot, foamy drinks to bone rangers intent on gathering material for a mid-morn wank in the office can, while Seattle's most peculiarly located nursery, Julius Rosso's, sets to watering the day's first buds on the airstrip's north pole.

By noon RoRo is slammed, with a lone two-top to be had. While strictly a lunch establishment, the term "tavern" is proudly included on RoRo's sign, and a full array of Georgetown beers are poured at the counter. Iced tea is served in Mason jars, and pulled-pork sandwiches can be spiked with hot links for patrons looking to bury the memory of RoRo's meatless predecessor through sheer carnivorous consumption.

Thursday's special is an open-faced turkey sandwich, lean as can be, served alongside mashed potatoes and topped with zesty gravy. While its skin lacks the blackened char that some aficionados prefer, RoRo's chicken thighs are satisfyingly juicy. Accompanied by a refreshing cup of succotash and soupy mac 'n' cheese, it's the rare barbecued lunch that won't make you wish on-the-clock napping were a more acceptable practice in the American workplace.


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