Review: Riverside BBQ and Drive Thru

There’s one thing that, to me, says “West Side” more than Elder football, Hudy Delight, and the half-hour drive it takes to get anywhere over there: drive throughs.

Excuse me, drive thru.

I remember my dad going through the drive thru on Delhi Pike to pick up soda (he wasn’t a beer drinker), though they are also known as “pony kegs” (a term that befuddled The Better Half, much like the term “mango” as applied to a green pepper).  There are a ton of them in the neighborhood I grew up in, and throughout the west side.  I can only think of one drive thru on the East side– the one by Kroger in Hyde Park.  I may be missing them: are there more and I just don’t know about them?

Anyway, drive thrus, for the unintiated, carry beer, ice, soda, cheap wine– stuff you need for a party, generally, but don’t want to get out of your car to get. Riverside BBQ and Drive Thru is  unique, however, as it also provides barbecue.  I didn’t think a whole lot of it until my mom suggested I try it.  “It would be a good blog post!  You never write about stuff on the west side.”

Mom, for the record, only reads the blog through the print edition of Metromix.  Hi, Mom.

I’ve actually been twice over the past few months, both on the way back home from her house.  She suggested a baked potato with pulled pork, but I wanted to try something else on the menu as well.  I settled on ribs.   I didn’t drive through– I didn’t realize you could order the barbecue there as well– so I stopped in.  You can, indeed, drive through and get barbecue and they’ll bring it out to your car.

Service was friendly and quick– barbecue is usually quick, so that met my expectations.  You have to ask for sauce if you get a baked potato (fair warning), but the meal was a total of $15: a half-slab of ribs, baked beans, slaw, and a topped baked potato.

DSC_0192The baked potato was a huge disappointment:  they forgot the pulled pork I ordered on top.  The potato itself was good (and huge), topped with the standard “loaded” toppings: butter, cheese, green onions, sour cream, bacon.  The potato was fluffy and the skin was a little crisp, which made it a rather nice baked potato, but I really wanted the pork. I went back a few weeks later and got one with pulled pork (not pictured).  The pulled pork made a bit of a difference: it was moist, but not as smoky as I’d like.  Still, pretty good, but I could easily split a potato with Terry.  They’re that big.


The ribs were next on my list.  Terry and I nibbled on them off and on, and came to a conclusion: they needed more time in the smoker.  The sauce they were coated in was nice: not too sweet, not too spicy, with a touch of vinegar, but the ribs themselves were a bit chewy and had little of the smoky crust I like on ribs.

The sides actually barely rate mentioning:  average beans and average slaw, as is true with many local barbecue joints.  I wish they’d put as much care into their sides as they did into their huge, new smoker.

The verdict?  The potatoes are good, particularly with the pulled pork, and it’s a unique enough presentation to make me want to go back. I’m sure the pulled pork is good (but not great) on its own, if potatoes aren’t your thing.  If they start smoking the ribs longer, they could be good.  If you venture down US 50 into Delhi and you want some quick food that is reasonably priced and isn’t from a chain– it’s a good pick.  Plus, you can pick up beer and soda to go with it, all without getting out of your car.  I’m sure I’ll stop in for a pulled pork potato when visiting my parents.

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23 thoughts on “Review: Riverside BBQ and Drive Thru”

  • I’m pretty sure there is a drive through near the Rallys on Reading Rd, in the Corryville/Avondale area.
    Never been, not even sure if it’s still open, but I’ve spotted it there.

  • We’ve spotted this a few times taking the kids out to Fernbank and were honestly waiting for someone to take the plunge ahead of us. Glad you did. It’ll certainly be a summertime lunch option when we drive that way!

  • I live in Covedale (that’s a nice way of saying ‘West Price Hill’ ) and I had never heard of Riverside. I have got to get out of my bubble more often. When Tabitha & I first met she would look at me like I had two heads when I used the term ‘pony keg’, there’s no such thing down in Louisville where she’s from.

    Good catch by The Dean, Trotta’s is a Westside classic!

  • Drive Thru’s are all over the east side. I can think of at least 4 in the Union Township area (think Eastgate) off the top of my head. None have BBQ (although I could care less anyway.)

  • There are still a few drive thru’s over here on the Westside. Here are a few off the top of my head:

    -Smile Drive Thru at Boudinot & Glenway.
    -8th St Drive Thru on West 8th & Trenton
    -Harvest Home Drive Thru on North Bend near Westwood-Northern
    -Dent Drive Thru on Harrison by the Dent Kroger
    -Murray’s Drive Thru on Queen City at Wyoming.

    There was one where i grew up in Finneytown on Compton & Winton that was there for as long as I can remember, but i think that it closed after being robbed numerous times.

  • Hubby and I visited Riverside twice. Both times they left something out of our order; on the second trip we checked the order in the car and went back in to retrieve the item. The first time the chicken was succulent and delicious. It was pretty lightly smoked, which is how I like it. The second trip it was a much smaller bird, and dried out. Agree the potatoes are good. Not worth a return trip for us.

    • I think chicken is probably best with a light smoke, but in order for the ribs to be falling-apart-tender, they need more smoke. There’s got to be a happy medium.

    • Yeah, I was happy that on my second visit they got my order right. I think they need to realize that the chickens ought to be smoked separately (or taken out earlier) than the ribs, so that the ribs can get the smoky attention they need.

  • I think it’s clearly evident that we westsiders like comfort and convenience with all the drive thrus…and I didn’t realize the east side didn’t have many drive thrus. Today I tried gourmet tacos, served out of a cart that looked like it should be at a festival. It’s the Mexican store near Murray’s on Queen City. Three huge tacos packed with seasoned shredded chicken, on corn tortillas, piled high with diced onion and lots of cilantro. On the side was tomatoes and radish slices (perhaps the Mexican water chestnut?) and lemon wedges. $ 6.00 for three huge tacos. that rivals Nada (perhaps even better). Absolutely delish!

  • It seemed like they had a good idea, but with that simple menu if they routinely messed up people’s orders–especially in a carryout place where people might not know till they got home–that would pretty much put you out of business fast. And the second time I went, the food wasn’t very good, either. Never went back.

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