Sweet Cheeks Q

By Molly McDonough · 11/07/2017    Fenway · BBQ · $$

After years of working under Michelin-starred chefs around the world and composing delicate plates at Rocca Kitchen & Bar, chef Tiffani Faison came home. Not quite in a geographic sense—the self-described “army brat” was born in Germany and has lived all over the U.S.—but rather, Faison embraced the cuisine of memory. Eschewing the pomp of fine dining, the chef opened Sweet Cheeks in honor of Sunday dinners and backyard BBQs. It’s a place with jar glasses, string lights, paper napkins, and meat. Lots of it.

Indeed, by late afternoon on a Sunday, families are crowding around plates of BBQ festooned upon Sweet Cheeks’ long wooden tables. It’s the kind of food that comes heaped onto a metal tray or piled into a basket, begging to be shared. The menu lends itself to communal feasting; ribs can be ordered by the slab, and BBQ staples like brisket and pulled pork are sold by the pound. Sides, or “scoops,” divided into cold and hot sections on the menu, come a la carte in small and large iterations. And the biscuits—those toppling, multi-layered hunks of buttery goodness—arrive as all biscuits should: by the bucket.

Biscuits from Sweet Cheeks Q

But this Fenway-neighborhood staple isn’t just a place to fill stomachs; it’s a place to indulge. And that’s why you’ll also find tables of foodies, romantics, and solo diners treating themselves. Faison’s cooking chops are on full display in the hefty caramelized crusts of brisket, the fork-shredding capacity of St. Louis pork ribs, and the confounding juiciness of fried chicken. (The use of quality Berkshire pork, halal poultry, and antibiotic-free beef doesn’t hurt, either.)

Fried chicken from Sweet Cheeks Q

All the while, expert bartenders sling cocktails worth a trek out to Fenway alone. The punchy sippers—served over ice in mason jars—never stray too far from the drinks typically needed to wash down fatty, saucy BBQ. We love the Harris Shrub, a rye-based sipper recalling sweet tea, and the Federale, a spicy, citrusy tequila cocktail that’s a better rendition of a margarita.

And it’s exactly here, at Sweet Cheeks’ friendly bar, that you’ll find us on a rainy night satisfying our comfort food cravings, social outing or not. Thankfully the restaurant’s “trays,” which offer selections of up to three meats and two sides, allow parties of any size to dig into heaping plates jumbled with Southern staples. Because this kind of food should be jumbled. Squeeze your fried chicken between biscuit layers with some pickles; let your pork ribs to share fork space with beans and mac and cheese; layer your brisket bite with a bit of fallen-off fried chicken skin and chunky coleslaw beneath BBQ sauce. Heaven.

BBQ platter from Sweet Cheeks Q

Good news for the wheat-averse: All the meats here (except for the fried chicken) are gluten-free.

Looking to impress your employees or guests? Feed them BBQ. Sweet Cheeks caters.

While Sweet Cheeks is by no means a sports bar, the flat-screen TVs and special menu offerings on football nights (i.e. Texas Nachos) make it a perfect place to watch the game.

Must Haves

  • Proof that Faison isn’t messing around—the mouth-meltingly good kind that could only come from a super-legit 4,700-pound J&R smoker named Tootsie.

  • Juicy meat and crispy crusts seasoned to a tee. Add the “hot shake” for a hot sauce kick sans sogginess.

  • Dangerous when arriving before the meal. Try to save some for the meat course to make an epic sandwich.

Fun Fact

Sweet Cheeks’ tables are made from reclaimed wood sourced from bowling alley lanes, church doors, and loading docks.

Tastes of Sweet Cheeks Q

So good we can't stop writing about it. Read more about Sweet Cheeks Q!

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