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Ron's Ribs is ReOpening


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Philadelphia rib heritage lives on at 1627 South Street. It used to be Bea Bea's Lawnside. (Lawnside is a town in South Jersey that always has a good rib joint or two within its city limits.) Miss Bea ran the Lawnside well into her golden years. Only one steadfast rule, a hand written sign over the cash register "No $20 bills." Least appetizing aspect of the place was the way too naked poster of the way too hairy impresario Harry J. Katz. Took some powerfully tasty ribs to get one's appetite back after that. Miss Bea was up to the challenge.

Ron Washington took over when Miss Bea retired. Ron grew up next door. Miss Bea knew him well; knew he'd carry on the Lawnside's tradition. Ron did Miss Bea proud. Rebuilt the barbecue pit, took down the No $20 Bill sign and the Katz poster. Changed the name to Ron's Ribs and put his mother in charge of baking the cornbread. Pretty sure the greens are her's too. Best greens in the city.

Ron had big plans. A blues club upstairs. More blues out front on the sidewalk on Sundays. Another Ron's Ribs off North Broad. Ron wanted everything to be just right. Painted his home phone number on the wall so folks could call him if they had a problem. Things fell off a bit when he became ill. But while he was a presence, great ribs and great sides. Ron passed away about six months ago. Way too young.

Shortly after a sign appeared in the window. Ron's Ribs would be closed for a while and would open early in 2003. Ron’s is a couple of blocks from where I live and I made a point to walk by every week to see if anything was stirring. The sign disappeared in February. But nothing was happening. I figured Ron's was up for sale and hoped it would stay a rib place.

This afternoon someone had propped open the screen door. A couple of kids were playing on the stoop. Inside some people were cleaning. I popped my head in. "We're still closed but we will be opening in a couple of weeks."

One of the guys introduced himself. Kevin Washington, Ron's younger brother, just out of the Navy. "It's all going to be the same. Same menu. Same cooking. Still in the family."

I asked about the name. Kevin pointed to the sign. "Ron's Ribs. This is his legacy. We're going to keep it going."

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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the one time i was at ron's, the ribs were okay, nothing special.

spicy, but not really tasty.

may have been when he wasn't really involved with the store, i admit.

Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

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Yeah, after the lovefest, I feel like a jerk for saying that the one time I went there, I found the food to be just this side of inedible. The ribs were tough and the sauce was bitter. I must have ordered the greens-- I always do, when I have the chance-- but I don't remember them one way or another. Maybe the reopening will lead to a rejuvenated product?

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Lovefest? 

Nope.  Just great respect for those that built a 65 year Philadelphia tradition and happiness that it is going to continue on pretty much unchanged.

I'll go back again for another try when it's reopened. I had the same experience as Andrew there, several times, before I gave up on it and just went to Phoebes. I really want it to be great, though, because it's just steps from my house, and I love good ribs and whatnot.

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Curiously, I'm in the opposite camp. I always LOVED Ron's Ribs, especially when I lived at 15th & Rodman Streets and it was just a few short steps from my door. My former roommate at that address probably put at least one of Ron's kids through college personally. I always found the ribs fairly tender and the sauces are delicious. I could live without the requisite Wonder Bread, but hell, that's how they served it. I had bad experiences at Phoebe's with gristly tough ribs and a borderline case of food poisoning. 'Nuff said. Not to mention the fact that they stole the concept directly from a former mutual employer.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

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Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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I could live without the requisite Wonder Bread, but hell, that's how they served it. 

Oh, I like that part! You've gotta have Wonderbread with 'cue: it's a combination napkin/side dish. Probably the only acceptable use for Wonderbread...

I had bad experiences at Phoebe's with gristly tough ribs and a borderline case of food poisoning.  'Nuff said.  Not to mention the fact that they stole the concept directly from a former mutual employer.

I don't understand-- which concept is that?

I'm not a huge fan of Phoebe's either: it's okay, but not much more than that. I still have yet to find really first-rate BBQ in Philly. The Route 40 places are pretty damn good, but it's a long drive out there, and you have to wait until summertime...

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From my Penn college days, I'd been a big fan of Miss Bea-Bea's and then Ron's. Only the Rib Crib in Germantown came close for quality and consistency, though they were always more expensive. Never had a bad rib or plate of chopped meat at Bea-Bea's or Ron's.

I've heard great things about the BBQ in Lawnside, NJ, near Collingswood, and I think it's about time to check them out.

Rich Pawlak

 

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Feature Writer, INSIDE Magazine
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I'm not a huge fan of Phoebe's either: it's okay, but not much more than that.  I still have yet to find really first-rate BBQ in Philly.  The Route 40 places are pretty damn good, but it's a long drive out there, and you have to wait until summertime...

Have you tried Dwight's, out at 47th & Lancaster or Parkside or something? How about that rib truck that I see when driving up Broad St., around Broad and Germantown?

(I haven't tried either of them--I'm asking, not being rhetorical or something)

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Have you tried Dwight's, out at 47th & Lancaster or Parkside or something?  How about that rib truck that I see when driving up Broad St., around Broad and Germantown? 

No, haven't tried those yet, though I've been meaning to try the truck for a while now. The Rib Crib is okay; I like it mostly because it's just such a neat place, but (at least on weekends, which is when I've gone there) they don't cook the ribs long enough, which makes them a little too chewy for my taste. Rich, if you're looking for somebody to head out to Lawnside with you, let me know!

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Had ribs in lawnside last Sunday. Place called Nina's Bar-B-Q. 351 Evesham Avenue, open Thurs - Sun.

They're trying hard. Real nice folk. An incredible sauce. Great sides. But the ribs were tough. It's my guess they ran out and tried to rush cook some more. They ran out for the evening a few customers after us. But the place had enough going for it that it's definitely worth a return bout.

Homemade banana pudding too. Chunks of banana on the bottom and topped with vanilla wafers. Nothing wrong with that.

Best ribs I've had in the city. The ones I wrote about earlier, that Jack serves at the Firehouse. Full of meat and fall-off-the-bones tender.

Jack-RibsAfter.jpg

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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This could be a "Lawnside" or East Coast Urban stlye or....

but there is a tendency for some rib houses to par-boil first and grill and smoke later. This is Dwight's technique and it was Ron's. A couple of things happen when you parboil a rack. If you take a piece of fat and throw it boiling water it will harden, not become rendered. This was a traditional way of making soap. The second thing is what I call the teabag effect. When you take a teabag out of boiling water hopefully some of the flavor is left behind, that's not what you want to happen to a rack. Closest I get to slow smoke ribs is Jack's Firehouse and The Conshy Rib House and it's big sister the Bridgeport Rib House

http://www.ribhouse.net/

Bone Appetite

Jim Tarantino

Jim Tarantino

Marinades, Rubs, Brines, Cures, & Glazes

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  • 2 weeks later...

Anyone ever try the "Rib Rack" on Rte 73 (Township Line Rd) in the Burholme section of the NE? I pass there often, treking back and forth to Fox Chase, and wondered if I should stop in and bring some home. Thanks for any feedback.

"Nutrirsi di cibi prelibati e trasformare una necessita in estasi."

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"Falling off the bone tender" = Overcooked. It should put up at least a cursory fight...

As far as parboiling ribs, I used to comment: "Boiling ribs will ensure that the flavor of the barbecue sauce is not overwhelmed by the flavor of pork."

=Mark

Give a man a fish, he eats for a Day.

Teach a man to fish, he eats for Life.

Teach a man to sell fish, he eats Steak

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  • 2 weeks later...
Anyone ever try the "Rib Rack" on Rte 73 (Township Line Rd) in the Burholme section of the NE? I pass there often, treking back and forth to Fox Chase, and wondered if I should stop in and bring some home. Thanks for any feedback.

Oh gosh, we used to eat at the one at Tyson and Bustleton! They were good and although I do drive into the Northeast from time to time, I can't remember whether the Rib Rack is still there...the one on Township Line is opposite Rolling Hill Hospital, isn't it? Or whatever it's called now? Graduate or whatever? Their ribs were really good back then, but I couldn't tell you about now, since I live "so far away I might as well be in California" as my mother used to say, in Camden County.

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  • 3 weeks later...

popped in on dwight's at 47th and lancaster saturday.

much better than ron's (the one time i had it, which I suspect was after its true heyday) and phoebe.

isn't there a place just off broad somewhere in north philly?

not as spicy as they imply when i ask for hot, though.

Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

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popped in on dwight's at 47th and lancaster saturday.

much better than ron's (the one time i had it, which I suspect was after its true heyday) and phoebe.

isn't there a place just off broad somewhere in north philly?

not as spicy as they imply when i ask for hot, though.

Yes, Dwight's. :raz:

Germantown Ave, just off Broad

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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popped in on dwight's at 47th and lancaster saturday.

much better than ron's (the one time i had it, which I suspect was after its true heyday) and phoebe.

isn't there a place just off broad somewhere in north philly?

not as spicy as they imply when i ask for hot, though.

Yes, Dwight's. :raz:

Germantown Ave, just off Broad

Wait, the truck at Broad & Germantown is Dwights? I've been meaning to stop by there for a year or so, but don't have a car--and whenever I do and am in the neighborhood, it's because I'm on my way to my parents' house, usually for dinner--not a time to stop for ribs....

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The Dwight's is a storefront, their second location.  I'm not sure the truck is still there, haven't seen it for a while.  Don't think that was Dwights

My memory isn't what it used to be--I just paged up this thread and saw that I asked those same questions several weeks ago. D'oh.

But I walked by Ron's Ribs and it appeared to be open the other night. It was kinda late and I'd already eaten, and was too distracted by J's deli collapsing to stop in.

Has anyone been yet?

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But I walked by Ron's Ribs and it appeared to be open the other night.  It was kinda late and I'd already eaten, and was too distracted by J's deli collapsing to stop in.

I stopped by Ron's on the way home today. Ron's brother was outside, but they weren't open. He says they were open last weekend and will be opening weekends for the next couple of weeks (don't know if that includes Sunday) and then will open regularly after that if things continue smoothly. "Same menu, same sauce."

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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