When it’s barbecue you crave, it’s Bubba’s Smokehouse that’s a fave
By Will Parson
Just up the hill from Children’s Pool and La Jolla’s famous Harbor Seal colony, the casual walk-in atmosphere at Bubba’s Smokehouse BBQ attracts a lot of tourists. But locals look to Bubba’s as well for their smoked meat fix, as the eatery offers the best bet for barbecue in the village.
Owner and New York transplant Jeff Nicoletta charms his hungry visitors with personal attention right when they come in the door. Serving up top sellers like baby back ribs and sliced brisket, the Navy veteran keeps the wait time to a minimum while making his guests feel welcome. Lunchtime on a weekday doesn’t leave the place crowded, and it’s that quick service and food quality, rivaling Phil’s BBQ in Point Loma, that made a repeat customer out of Sergio Javier. He comes every Tuesday with a friend.
“If I were to go to Phil’s, I would be standing outside for like an hour trying to get in. I can come (to Bubba’s) and my food is here in not even 15 minutes.” The menu at Bubba’s includes meaty sandwiches, half-pound burgers, pit-smoked ribs, and a hearty Cobb salad.
There are several other leafy choices, but if you are a vegetarian, then this certainly isn’t the place you want to be. However, if you are searching for jerked chicken, frickles (deep-fried pickle chips) or fried catfish, you’d be hard-pressed to find them elsewhere in La Jolla. The frickles are $3 during the daily happy hour, as are snacks like hush puppies and fried okra, as well as beer and wine.
Javier’s table on a recent visit was dotted with several cups of self-serve barbecue sauce to supplement his sandwich. There are two types of self-serve barbecue sauce available, aside from the typical ketchup. The Kickin’ BBQ Sauce is the spicier variety, and the Lip-Smackin’ Sweet Sauce is just as its name suggests.
Javier notes, “Sometimes I go all out with it, I’ll pour a bunch of barbecue on here, but I don’t really like the Kickin’ barbecue, so I’ll go with the Sweet.”
Whichever sauce you choose, it will certainly go well with a majority of the items on the menu. Just avoid putting it on the frickles.
Bubba’s Smokehouse BBQ
Address: 888 Prospect St.
The Vibe: Casual, Quick, Friendly
Signature Dish: Pit-Smoked Baby Back Ribs
Open Since: 2009
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday
Phone: (858) 551-4227
Patio Seating: Yes
Take Out: Yes
Happy Hour: 3-7 p.m.
On The Menu Recipe
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This week Bubba’s Frickles.
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