We may have to start calling this O’Boos barbecue.
I stopped in the other night at the newest location for O’Boys Bar-b-q in Baldwin Park. The boys have taken over a small space that previously was the Grouper & Chips fish and fries place. I ordered a sampler platter of beef, pork, chicken and ribs. The ribs were actually good, if a bit on the teensy side. But the rest of it ranged from average to awful, the latter being the beef, which was so dry it it was like chewing a thin sponge. And there was no help from the barbecue sauce, not that any sauce could make a sponge more palatable. But there was hardly a difference between the mild and the hot sauce — neither had much flavor.
The chicken was just as dry and seemed to have been overcooked. The pork was almost as dry, but not totally. Still, it had little flavor to identify it as barbecue. The fries were easy to push aside as not being worth the calories. The takeout container also had a small ramekin of creamy cole slaw and another of toatlly flavorless baked beans. (There was also a container of brown sugar, which I supposed was meant for the beans.)
This is disappointing but, sadly, not surprising. O’Boys has (have?) been steadily declining since its early heydays. The first O’boys opened on West Colonial Drive in 1998 and was an immediate success, earning my critic’s Foodie award for best barbecue. They opened another location in Winter Park, in the space that is now occupied by Kata Thai and Sushi. It was soon after that quality started to falter.
Those first two locations are gone; so is the one that occupied the former steakhouse on the corner of Colonial and Edgewater Drives, just down the street from the original. There is still the O’boys that occupies the former Harper’s Tavern space on Fairbanks Avenue, and another on South Orange Avenue. My experiences at both of the other existing locations have been similar to the one I just had in Baldwin Park. I don’t think it can be written off as just having a bad night — the consistency is too obvious.
Until O’boys Bar-b-q can recapture the quality of its early years, I can no longer recommend it.
The newest location of O’boys Bar-b-q is at 4932 New Broad St., Orlando. The phone number is 407-425-6269. Here is a link to the Web site.