Payne's is exactly the kind of place you imagine when you think about Bar-b-Que and Memphis. It's Deep Down Home South incarnate. Housed in an old gas station, you think you've been transported back to the time when the people dishing up this soulfully delicious food had to ride in the back of the bus on their way to work. Don't worry, they didn't It's in the wrong part of town, that is unless you are looking for the best Bar-b-Que. Being from Philly, it didn't look that bad to me but I was glad we heeded local suggestion to eat elsewhere the night before and save Payne's for the daylight. It was was mid-afternoon so a bit late for lunch and too early for dinner so the place was empty on our arrival. We were greatly warmly a big woman who emanated the word Mama with her beaming smile.
Favorite Dish: Sensing our nervousness, she told us what the had on at the moment and we opted for one of each, a ribs meal and a pulled pork meal. Surprisingly, no sweet tea so we had to settle for a soda. We ordered at the counter and picked up our little styrofoam to-go containers likewise so no tip involved and only $16 for the lot. The ribs were truly falling off the bone and the sauce was a perfect blend of tang, sweet and spicy. The pulled pork was a likewise heavenly concoction. The beans and a yellow mustard based slaw of some kind were equally tasty and perfect accompaniments for the meats done to perfection. As good as the Bar-b-Que shop had been the night before, this place blew it away and I was glad we chose to have yet one more BBQ meal before leaving town!
We were going to get ribs, but they were out, so we had these sandwiches instead, and I am glad we did. It's basically shredded barbecued pork on a bun. Also, they put cole slaw on top of the pork, right in the sandwich. Delicious. My boyfriend came here years ago when he was a vegetarian, and he ordered the one fish item. THe proprietors, both African-Americans, looked at each other knowingly and said, 'Oh yes, the white-boy sandwich.'
Favorite Dish: the pulled-pork sandwich