Abingdon Barbecue’s bright red neon signs draw you in like a beacon
Generally, if a place constantly has a queue out of the door, whatever time of day or whatever the weather, it is a sure-fire indication what it is selling is worth the wait.
And after passing by Abingdon Barbecue in Blackpool several times over the last year and always seeing a crowd scrambling to get in, it was time to test that theory. But this can be relative to individual taste.
For instance, I would never queue for more than a couple of minutes to get inside a Nando’s but I have often passed one of the Portuguese chicken chain’s restaurants with a 100 metre-long queue. The same can be said for the sudden boom in bubble tea cafes as I am yet to pass one that isn’t packed-out, or fish and chip shops on a Friday tea time.
Abingdon Barbecue’s bright red neon signs draw you in like a beacon. They offset the black and gold frontage and busy window displays of the corner unit, where you can peer in to see everything from roasted chicken thigh pieces, pork pies and spicy chicken wings.
That’s if you can get past the crowds out front, ogling the food through the window, equally as curious about what is going on inside this thriving sarnie shop. It specialises in cooked meats and baked goods and customers enter and step onto the chessboard-like square floor, with counters on each side in a u-shape.
There’s plenty of smiley servers lined all around, constantly moving. You’ll hear “who’s next!” and “what can I get you?” called out every couple of minutes, and rest assured, even if the queue spills out onto the street, it will shrink quickly.
We pooped in at around 12:30pm on a Tuesday, and the shop was prepared for the lunchtime rush, which was starting to take hold.
It smelt like being in the garden in summer, when the scent of a hundred BBQs wafts invitingly through the air. It’s quite an assault on all the senses, in fact, with so much to choose from, including freshly baked bread, sausage rolls, cold sandwiches, a full salad bar along with a meat carvery and hot food counter with chips, baked potatoes, baked beans, gravy and other sauces.
It is an eatery that thrives on loyal and passing custom, especially being on a prime spot on a main route into centre of the town, metres from the Main Square and tourist attractions.
A group of construction workers entered just before us, each one of them ordering something slightly different and I overheard one of them say “no wonder we were told to come here, they’ve got everything”. While it is also a popular spot for regulars, with a number of customers greeted with a familiar smile and “the usual?”
We had the cooked turkey carved from the hot plate sitting in the bay window, which was packed inside a fluffy white baton bread roll, one with apple sauce and stuffing, the other without, just a generous layer of butter. Our server was chuffed with her new electronic carving device “It’s so much better” she laughed as she stuffed the neatly-sliced turkey into the bread.
The chips looked too good to resist, too, so we got a portion of those and the whole lot came to £8. There was plenty of meat tucked inside the bread, and for turkey it wasn’t too dry but succulent and thick. The one with stuffing and apple sauce (which was sweet and perfectly gooey) was just like that magical turkey sarnie that only really tastes right on Boxing Day.
Although these butties were substantial and chunky, they weren’t impossible to hold and eat, with no filling falling out all over your lap and you’re left frantically wiping the juices off your jeans with a paper napkin so they don’t stain.
Now, the chips were a surprise bonus. They were chunky, audibly crunchy and the potato thick and light, with a gorgeously golden finish any award-wining chippy would be proud of. Incidentally, we asked for a small portion, but it could easily have passed for large and enough for two people to share.
I couldn’t get enough of the chips I like to call ‘little scraps’ at the end of the portion, when I would usually have no interest in them. We hoovered them up, too, before one of the seagulls eying up and circling our lunch-on-a-bench picnic, got a sliver of a chance to get there first.
You could easily visit 10 or 20 times and order something different each trip. It’s the ideal spot for a quick, hearty lunch (again, don’t be put off by the queue)and the staff are efficient with no-fuss and the focus is definitely serving people good quality food and liberal portion sizes, as quickly as possible.
Have you been to Abingdon Barbecue or have you got a favourite sandwich shop in Lancashire? Let us know in the comments
- 05:40, 15 JUN 2022