By Angela Castles
These days you can’t swing a hotdog without hitting a new American food place. After studying abroad in Texas –home of barbeque, Tex-Mex and deep-fried butter –I returned, amazed at how popular American restaurants had become in Brisbane, dishing up their best version of burgers, comfort food and hot dogs.
As soon as I tried one, two more craft-beer-pouring, wing-toting places opened up, all sporting food served on wooden planks by bearded staff. Still, I was determined to find a place that served good old southern food, so I braved a premature heart attack to bring you Brisbane's top five authentic American restaurants. You won’t even have to tip. (If you want to try the real thing in America, don't forgot to enter our Vegas comp!)
This New Farm local is the OG of American places in Brisbane. Previously called Blue Smoke, it’s been dishing up authentic BBQ from their wood-fired grill since 2006. This is one of the few places that do ribs like they do in Texas – with plenty of smoky flavour and a sauce that’s not too sweet. Think ribs as big as your forearm, saucy pulled pork and brisket that’ll melt your heart (figuratively and literally). Bonus points for having the best cornbread this side of Louisiana.
85 Merthyr Road, New Farm.
This quiet, dimly lit hideaway is like any dive bar you’d find in Austin – hip, but unpretentious. Tipplers Tap serves a mix of Chicago-style food and old school Tex Mex that’s not too oily or heavy. The craft beers are always cold, and the onion rings always crispy – what more do you need? Come for the food, stay for the hunter’s cabin/Twin Peaks vibes.
22 Masters Street, Newstead
Almost all American places do wings, yet only a few do them really well. Yardbird has beaten out some pretty stiff competition from The Smoke and Red Hook for best wings in Brisbane, thanks to their punchy flavours and no-fuss setting. Try their ‘Death Sentence’ wings if you’re feeling dangerous, and stop by on Sundays for 50c wings.
6/24 Martin Street, Fortitude Valley
Carolina Kitchen is a small suburban restaurant tucked away in Coorparoo is a favourite with locals and well worth the trip. It’s laid-back, no-frills takeaway vibe is the closest any restaurant has come to mimicking the real southern experience, where time moves at a slower pace to the rest of the world. Their ribs are affordable and sticky-sweet delicious, and their pies are homey and comforting.
2/38 Macaulay Street, Cooparoo
These cheeseburgers take me back to the classic American diners dotted across the interstate highways. In these diners there’s always a linoleum counter, faded vinyl booths, a solitary fry-cook hunched over the grill, and burgers that taste like home. Greaser has taken the humble cheeseburger and crinkle-cut fry combo and placed it in chicer surrounds, where you can enjoy it with a cocktail in their underground, candle-lit bar. Uncle Sam would be proud.
259 Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley