On a recent trip to Charlotte, NC we had the good fortune of stopping by Mac’s Speed Shop on South Boulevard in the trendy up and coming “Southend” district.
A local BBQ restaurant, craft beer emporium and sometimes biker-hangout, Mac’s is the sort of peculiarly fun modern-day urban eatery that successfully embodies a perfectly balanced energy and style. A cross between old school comfort-casual, indie-hipster cool, undertoned sexuality and shabby-chic, Mac’s is quite possibly all things to almost all people…
While unabashedly playing up the socially accepted sexuality of their serving staff (in the spirit of Hooters or Winghouse), Mac’s has balanced that misogynistic equation by seamlessly integrating it with the colorful and whimsical culinary styles, sensibilities and vibes of the gastro-pub, classic BBQ shack and honkytonk jook-joint. The result of this cross-cultural pollination has been a rather unique restaurant experience that is at once a yuppie/foodie hang-out, a happy-hour craft beer drinkery and a biker bar…sort of. Cooked down to stock, Mac’s is a uniquely Charlotte centric balance of new and old, blue and white and every shade in-between.
Having established the overtly undertoned sexuality of the serving staff it is important to emphasize just that, while it may be in the spirit of places like Hooters or Winghouse, Mac’s is executed much better and more tastefully in such a way as to not demean the server or the patron. This is the sort of place you can bring your kids, your wife, your mother and definitely your father… Southern hospitality is alive and well here and the staff is all knowledgeable, friendly, helpful and hospitable. Offering a wide array of BBQ indulgences expertly paired with an expansive assortment or spirits and libations, take some time to study both the food and beer menu, ask questions, take your time, relax and have fun with it.
The food here is great, solid staples prepared with a kick or twist, just enough to keep things interesting and make Mac’s standout from some of the competition. Arguably however, the star of the show could be argued to be the assortment of home-crafted sauces on the table…this is North Carolina and we’re not talking dry-rubs, BBQ here is wet and steeped in vinegary sweet tradition. In particular we enjoyed the pulled pork sandwich and platter, tender, moist and bountiful; our amply sized “small” plates ranneth over. The sides were equally tasty and deployed in complimentary heaping portions. On this day we opted to try the Mac ‘n Cheese, Fresh Slaw, Potato Salad, Collard Greens and Cheddar Grits…all excellent.
In terms of Mac’s Alchoholic offerings one suggested draft choice seemed wholly appropriate with this meal; the Foothills Brewing Company’s excellent Hurricane Hefeweizen. A North-Carolina homegrown micro-brew out of nearby Winston Salem, this ingenious take on the classic hefeweizen was served on draft, ice cold, well-carbonated, medium bodied and finished smoothly. The perfect pairing for classic Carolina BBQ served up hot and fresh in a white collar gastro-pub shabby-chic jook-joint biker bar.
Mac’s Speed Shop
2511 South Boulevard
Charlotte, NC 28203