A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from April 08, 2014
Tablecloth Barbecue (Tablecloth BBQ)

Barbecue is often served in a shack—and not at a fancy restaurant. The main barbecue feature is a barbecue pit and the smoke that it adds to the food; this style of cooking can’t be made in an electronic oven. The term “(white) tablecloth barbecue” is sometimes used to disparage any barbecue offering served at a restaurant that has white tablecloths. Lamberts Downtown Barbecue (Austin, TX) and Jack Stack Barbecue (Kansas City, MO) have been called “white tablecloth barbecue.”

“It is literally white tablecloth barbecue” was cited in print in 2005. “Some call this ‘tablecloth BBQ’” (Lamberts) was cited in print in 2010.


Highbeam Business
White-tablecloth barbecue??? (finer dining establishments experiment with barbecue dishes) (On Food) (Column)
Article from: Nation’s Restaurant News | August 9, 1993 | Fabricant, Florence
Barbecue, typically messy finger food, is a far cry from smooth white linens, silver sauce spoons and fine wines. It is best experienced in small, informal places along country roads. Even big-city barbecue restaurants are casual operations where beer, not wine, is the libation of choice, blue jeans the typical dress and bare tables with paper napkins—lots of them—are expected.

But the smoky-rich flavors and succulently tender texture of good barbecue has started tantalizing chefs whose specialties more often depend on Atlantic salmon, scallops, fresh morels and sweetbreads than whole briskets and pork ribs. Indeed, the ribs usually used by these chefs are only on the racks of lamb and occasionally on the veal chops. …

Roadfood.com
BuddyRoadhouse
RE: MPLS. ST. Paul Sat. lunch. Where to go? Tue, 12/6/05 8:19 PM
While a true barbecue con-a-sewer would turn their nose up at this place, Rudolph’s on Lyman in Minneapolis fits the description of what you’re looking for perfectly. It is literally white tablecloth barbecue. Again, it is not necessarily the best barbecue (cedwin is correct, Market Barbecue is better) but should suit the needs of pleasing your mother quite nicely.

Austin (TX) Food Journal
February 19th, 2010
Restaurant Review: Lamberts Downtown Barbecue
Some call this “tablecloth BBQ”. They usually don’t mean it in a nice way. I don’t think you need to be cooking in a dirt floor shack with an old pit to produce tasty BBQ. Case in point, Lamberts Downtown BBQ. Their slow roasted meats have an updated twist on old-style “Q”: Brown Sugar and Coffee Rubbed Brisket, Maple and Coriander Crusted Pork Ribs, Achoite and Lime Rubbed Chicken (Combo plates $12-$16). A trio of house made sauces come on the side. Unlike some other BBQ places that don’t even have forks, Lamberts has a full menu for those who prefer to munch on things that didn’t have hooves: Deviled Eggs, Green Chili Queso, Broiled Oysters, Soups and Salads.
(...)
Lamberts Downtown Barbecue : 401 West 2nd St. Austin, TX : (512) 494-1500
Happy Hour : 5pm-7pm, $2 off Drinks, ½ off Bar Appetizers

Eater (Austin, TX)
Get Your Mexican and Barbecue Fix in Downtown Austin
Monday, March 7, 2011, by Paula Forbes
(...)
Lamberts Downtown Bbq
401 W 2ND ST
AUSTIN, TX 78701
(512) 494-1500
Yes, Lamberts is what some might derisively refer to as “tablecloth barbecue,” and yes, they smoke indoors. However, it’s also damn tasty. Try the ribs.

Roadfood.com
BuddyRoadhouse
Re:Kansas City barbecue? - Sun, 09/30/12 4:28 PM
(...)
Jack’s Stack in Overland Park, KS is a favorite for folks who like safe, white tablecloth BBQ.  They’re especially well known for their lamb ribs.

Twitter
Matt Staub
‏@staubio
@MSmitty25 @TheRieger for my fave non-BBQ. Jack Stack for white tablecloth BBQ, OK Joe’s tasty, Arthur Bryant’s for authentic experience.
1:53 PM - 9 Aug 2013

Twitter
Moisés Chiullan
‏@moiseschiu
@poly915 i.e., I have a distinct distaste for “tablecloth” BBQ joints like Lamberts. Just the opposite of primal, pit BBQ.
3:21 PM - 12 Aug 2013

Eater
First Look: Dean Fearing’s The Texas Food Bible
Tuesday, April 8, 2014, by Paula Forbes
Here’s Dallas chef Dean Fearing’s (Fearing’s Restaurant) latest cookbook, The Texas Food Bible: From Legendary Dishes to New Classics. This is Fearing’s third cookbook and his attempt to define Texan cuisine. From the intro: “So many people have asked me about Texas ingredients, ‘Tex-Mex’ cooking, and how I incorporate all of the various ‘ethnic’ styles to make recipes my own that I began to create my own Texas food bible as a resource for my cooks. It is something we constantly use.” And now, with this cookbook, it’s something anybody can use.

Texans will recognize this food. It’s what a friend of mine refers to as “fancy nacho” cuisine, or what some might call “tablecloth barbecue.” (These are not necessarily meant to be derisive terms; this type of food can be very, very good.) It’s available across the state in gigantic suburban steakhouses and on brunch menus in upscale neighborhoods.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Tuesday, April 08, 2014 • Permalink