Restaurant Radar // BOOTLEG BBQ CO

Southern-style barbecued ribs, chicken wings and craft beer is on the menu at the American themed restaurant in Christchurch. The Bootleg BBQ Co is a new restaurant and bar that aims to convert Cantabrians to the religion that is American barbecue. Situated on Welles Street, on the former site of the infamous Charlie’s Massage Parlour, doors opened mid-March to the public.

Owners, Charlie George and Campbell Parker, have created an establishment that will offer diners a unique and authentic experience. A specialist pit smoker imported from America ensures the food is barbecued in true Southern-style with the iconic wood smoke flavour. Both George and Parker have a long history in the hospitality industry in New Zealand and abroad.

After consuming their body weight in ribs during a mission through Louisiana, Tennessee and Texas to research the American barbeque, the pair came back with ideas about how it could be applied in New Zealand. “Barbequing is a labour of love in the States,” said George. “We wanted to open a new restaurant in Christchurch as part of the rebuild but one with a point of difference. Authentic American barbequing is yet to hit New Zealand and our aim is to create a dining experience that is a bit edgy, very honest and true to the traditional process.”

Scott Gibbs heads up the kitchen and has recently spent two months working in various restaurants throughout Texas honing his knowledge. The menu includes iconic dishes including barbecued pork ribs and chicken wings, and care is taken to ensure all meat is locally sourced and free-range and sessionable craft beer has been a strong focus. It is the only venue in the South Island to pour the Good George range of beers. As for the fit out, the pair decided to pay homage to Christchurch and have salvaged recycled bricks, wood and other materials from demolition sites instead of the kitsch American themed restaurant.

– Sarah Mitchell