Vernon's BBQ is a causal place. You order at the counter, eat off paper trays with plastic forks and serve yourself from the soda machine and sauce bar.
But the food is not simple. It's pure BBQ goodness, smoked right on the parking lot and served up with special dry rub spices. The sauce is served at a communal bar because each unique sauce, from sweet and tangy 'Lou style to XXX hot sauce, is served warm.
Why warm? Staff at Vernon's say the sauce is just better that way. Why spoil your hot plate of ribs with cold crusty sauce that's been sitting on the table?
According to the Riverfront Times, co-owners Matt Stiffelman and Tim Zolman came up with the recipes by combines flavors from around the nation.
The recipes come from different flavors of food I've had, places I've traveled and things I want but can't get here," says Stiffelman. The ribs, for example, are marinated in puréed jalapenos and pineapple to achieve a Hawaiian flavor. The partners offer five different sauces, from sweet to tangy to smoky to spicy, all of them, like everything else at Vernon's, house-made.
Vernon's BBQ serves pulled pork, beef brisket and ribs, turkey, ham, chicken and even smoked tofu. The sauces are all vegetarian. They have traditional sides like creamy cole slaw, corn and potato salad. They offer two kinds of baked beans, one vegetarian and one with generous helpings of burnt ends. The green beans are "Tequila Lime" flavored and there's a seasonal smoked fruit.
Prices for meats start at $5 or $6 for a half order and $7 or $8 for a full order. Ribs are more expensive at $12 for a half and $22 for a full order.
Sides are priced at $1.29 for a single serving. You can also order them by the pint ($4) or the quart ($7.50).
Vernon's is open from Tuesday to Sunday. They're open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. most nights, and until 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. They are closed on Mondays.