WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, N.J. -- Peter Mason of Washington Township doesn't have kids with food allergies, but he knows plenty folks who do. Which is why, when he opened Southbound BBQ in Chestnut Ridge he was adamant the entire menu be peanut and nut-free.
"That's not so easy to do when you're a Southern-style restaurant," he said. And so instead of traditional southern staples like pecan pie or pralines, you'll find house-made ice cream and Key Lime Custard on the dessert menu.
Mason also prides himself on creating house-made sauces that are tasty as well as safe. Among the popular favorites: Alabama White (mayo, horseradish, and vinegar base), Kansas City (tomato, brown sugar and molasses base) and Carolina Gold (mustard and vinegar base).
Mason, who admits to having two smokers at his home, said he developed a love for Southern cuisine from his years as a road warrior working in the sports and entertainment industry. His job required a lot of travel in the Southeastern U.S., which meant a lot of entertaining and eating out.
For the last several years, he was managing a hospitality company headquartered in New York City and the long hours meant even more time away from his family -- he has a two and a six-year-old -- which is what eventually got him to do something closer to home.
And so, he brought The South to Rockland.
His motto -- as the Southern adage goes -- is “Down South, there are no strangers; only friends you haven't yet met." To that end, the restaurant -- with a play on "where friends go to meat" -- boasts communal tables with sauce caddies on the table to inspire conversation -- or at least a friendly "pass the sauce, please." (There are also individual tables for those not in the mood to chat.)
Mason is also big on promotions and keeping in mind other local businesses as much as possible. It's why he offers beers from several New York based breweries including Defiant in neighboring Pearl River.
In fact, on Sunday, Aug. 13, the eatery will feature an afternoon of Defiant tastings paired with several of Southbound's popular dishes like the Chopped Brisket Cheesesteak and Bacon-wrapped Smoked Meatloaf. The event goes from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. and will include a host of customer giveaways.
Mason has also made it “Hurricane Season" with a 16-ounce concoction of aged rums and fresh fruit juices, specially priced at $9 now through Labor Day.
And, because he's big on keeping the customer experience lively and fun, Southbound BBQ boasts several Ultra High-Definition screens to catch all the local sports action as well as engaging kids-- and their parents -- in fun interactive trivia. There, are in fact, $5 Kids' Meals every day until 5 p.m.
Folks seem to like what Mason's serving. Daily Voice readers selected the four-month old restaurant the DVlicious "Best Barbecue in Rockland."
Go to www.southboundbbq.com/ for more information.
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