Charlotte’s newest barbecue restaurant has a few special things going for it:
Sweet Lew’s is locally owned, not a chain. The owner, Lewis Donald, recently worked for Reid’s Fine Foods. It’s in the Belmont neighborhood, an area ripe for commercial development. The restaurant won’t open until October or November, but catering is available (with delivery to your site) for football season.
And most importantly: Donald is only cooking his pork, brisket and turkey over wood. Hickory and pecan, to be precise.
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“That’s part of why we do what we do,” he says. “We’re not trying to chef it up. We kept it simple. That’s what Charlotte needs.”
The sample of Donald’s pulled pork we tasted had good smoke flavor and plenty of outside brown, the crustier bits from the outside of the shoulder. He also is serving a few things that are traditional in South Carolina but are rarely found around Charlotte, like boiled peanuts (oh, stop making that face) and barbecue hash, a thick meat stew that has pork and brisket.
“I wanted to offer something nobody else is doing,” he says.
Eventually, Sweet Lew’s will open at 923 Belmont Ave. In the meantime, though, you can order meats by the pound ($13 for pork, $14 for chicken, $14 for smoked sausage and $19 for sliced brisket), sides in sizes for either 10 to 15 people or 25 to 30 people (mostly $34 or $62 for mac and cheese, baked beans, collard greens, barbecue potatoes and barbecue hash), and dessert. You can also order by the person for a minimum of 10 people, such as $12, $14 or $20 per person for meats, sides and bread.
At Thanksgiving, he also plans to offer smoked turkey as well.
For orders and details, call 865-591-8178 or go online at www.sweetlewsbbq.com.