Player's Bar & Grill on the west side is not the first place that comes to mind when I'm looking for some eats. It ain't one of Bend's more upscale establishments.
But I was tooling down Century Drive around lunch time yesterday, entertaining the idea of getting some barbecue ribs from Baldy's when I saw this sign in front of Players:
There were three people at the bar, two guys and one woman, but the place was otherwise empty. The two guys were in the middle of a conversation. One was a large white man who looked like Jessie Ventura; the other was even larger, and black.
I walked up and their conversation stopped. The Jessie Ventura guy studied me from behind a pair of sunglasses.
"You must be Big Troy," I said to the other guy. "On account of your cook's apron."
I am, he said.
"My name is Jack Elliott and I am in the mood for some barbecue. What do you have?"
Ribs, is what he had. St. Louis style.
Big Troy is soft-spoken and Big Troy is big. Big Troy sports size sixteen feet, he said. "Double wide."
I ordered a half-rack of ribs, which was all he had left after the weekend. A half-rack, no sides, is eight dollars. That's at least a couple bucks less than what you'll pay at Baldy's or Slic's, the other two prominent BBQ shops in town.
While Big Troy was working up the order, I overheard the bartender ask the Jessie Ventura-looking guy if he wanted another beer.
"How many have I had?"
Two, said the bartender.
I carried my ribs home for lunch and they were the best I've had in Central Oregon so far. Big Troy grills them for nine hours which makes them tender. And there's lots of meat on the bones, maybe 30% more than the other shops provide.
Big Troy's opened last Thursday. Call ahead for take-out at 541 389-2558, or stop in to enjoy the fine ambiance of Players. It might not be the most salubrious place in town, but with the addition of Big Troy, the place is now on my radar.
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