Tastings: Ossie’s Bar-B-Que and Hamburgers
photo by Elise Poché
Ossie’s is back! The beloved barbecue is again being served in its original spot on Government – the same exact location but in an entirely different building. The longtime Mobile favorite, originally owned by the late Osmond “Ossie” Boutwell, opened in the 1950s and eventually expanded to three locations before closing in the mid-1980s. Ossie’s son, Rudy, reopened it in late January. (The property was still owned by the Boutwell family, but in the preceding years, it had been a Popeye’s and then an Arby’s.) The new location retains a fast-food feel, complete with speedy service and a drive-through, but the fare is mostly old-school barbecue comfort food – ribs, pork, beef and chicken, along with good potato salad, slaw, hand-breaded onion rings and some of the best baked beans around.
Business has been booming according to Chip Deupree, the general manager, who is married to Ossie’s granddaughter. “We have a diverse customer base, but I would say the vast majority of them are here because they fondly remember the Ossie’s of old,” Deupree says. “I’ve heard numerous stories from dining-in couples of how they got engaged in our parking lot in the ’50s.” In fact, former fans were so enthusiastic about the restaurant’s return that Ossie’s ran out of food for the first three days and had to close early. Deupree says that they have appreciated their patrons’ patience as they work out the kinks. He is delighted to report, however, that during the first month back in business, Ossie’s sold 10,000 of their signature pork sandwiches.
The staple pork sandwich remains the restaurant’s top selling item. The menu also features hamburgers, hot dogs and Ossie’s tasty Chic-loin sandwich. There is also a basic, but classic, gooey grilled cheese, made with American cheese on white bread. They don’t yet serve desserts, but Deupree says they are batting around ideas. “There will probably be some sort of Southern-style pies or cakes.”
on the menu
House-made onion rings in a pleasing thickness and size, with a light, crisp, golden coating
Sassy, slightly sweet, lightly tangy beans with lots of delectable bits of tender pork
A giant, juicy fried chicken breast on a buttered bun with mayonnaise and pickles
Tender, fall-apart pork in their signature snappy, not too spicy sauce served with buttered Texas toast