The cuisine: Texas barbecue with savory soul-food sides and just a smidge of Cajun cookin' to spice things up
The food: The combination of Texas barbecue standards and soul-food specialties adds up to a wider menu than you'll find at most barbecue joints. Sliced brisket, ribs, two kinds of sausage, pork chops, catfish, chicken, pork steak sandwich and about a dozen sides ... where to begin?
We decided to start with a couple of two-meat combo plates ($9.50). We went for sliced brisket, chicken, ribs and spicy sausage. The chicken was fork-tender, and the ribs had a goodly amount of meat per rib but, of the four, the homemade sausage was the star. It left the mouth stinging just a bit, and its peppery flavor seemed to infuse the rest of the meal. Or perhaps they are just heavy-handed with the pepper at Avery's, because the greens, which we sampled next, also seemed to be heat-charged and not for the demure palate.
Smashed yams were possibly the sweetest item we've ever encountered that did not come from the dessert side of a menu. Barbecue beans also were on the sweet side, though not overpoweringly so, and bits of chopped peppers added contrast. The mac 'n' cheese was lovely, with a creamy white sauce, and we'll be ordering that again when we return to try the catfish and the loaded baked potato topped with sausage and beef ($9.50), which owner Mary Giles says is a house specialty. We finished things off with peach cobbler ($3 for a pint), which was a tad on the soupy side.
The atmosphere: Avery's is located in a small, neighborhood shopping center in a mostly residential area. The dark wood tables are attractive, and it's new and clean and simple. There's a good chance you'll find Giles and a couple of friends sitting at a table, cracking jokes, which makes for a congenial atmosphere.
You should know: Avery's offers several family meal deals. For instance, $18.99 gets you a whole chicken, a pint of barbecue beans, a pint of potato salad, a half-pint of green beans and bread. Giles also offers carryout meats ("poundage to go" reads the sign). Seniors get a 10 percent discount and -- we like this a lot -- teachers get a 15 percent discount. There's a $1.25 pulled pork sandwich for the light of appetite (or light of wallet).
The details: 10:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday, 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Wheelchair-accessible, smoke-free, no alcohol served. Credit cards accepted. Press Pass accepted.