LJ’s BBQ / 727 East Avenue / Pawtucket, RI / (401)-305-5255


LJ’s BBQ is so much more than just delicious, award winning BBQ. It is about the LOVE that goes into the preparation of food. It’s the passion. The pride. The enthusiasm. The authenticity. The confidence in knowing that you make some damn good BBQ!
Owners, Bernie & Linda Watson, have the art of home-cooked, BBQ down to absolute perfection. I was lucky enough to meet Linda and fortunate enough to sample Bernie’s cooking, which consists quite a bit of Bernie’s late grandmother, Miss Leola Jean’s recipes.
Linda was cheerful, friendly and extremely hospitable to my partner & I when we dined there this past Friday. This is clearly a woman who glows with pride, as she & Bernie should, because their BBQ, hands down, is some of the best I have ever had! And trust me, I know BBQ! I am what one would call….a BBQ fanatic. I have dined at some of the most popular BBQ restaurants throughout Texas, Tennessee, Missouri, Georgia, Florida and the Carolinas and LJ’s has just moved to the #1 BBQ spot in my book.
But more on the incredibly delicious food later.
Let’s talk decor, ambiance and service! 🙂
LJ’s is located in a popular plaza on East Avenue in Pawtucket, RI. The aroma of smoked BBQ permeates the air outside and lures customers in.
The second you enter LJ’s it’s time to say goodbye to the North and hello to the South! 
You have your neon, black & white checkered table clothes, piggy decor, rolls of paper towel on the tables, essential wet wipes, and of course — BBQ sauce. But LJ’s is a step above the BBQ shacks in the South that consist of picnic tables and Christmas lights. It is more of an upscale, cozy, BBQ bistro with a cool, sleek, 10-seat bar.
Deb, our waitress for the evening, went over the food items on the menu and suggested the Bourbon BBQ chicken wings as a starter, which LJ’s is infamous for she explained. If I were the owners, I would be honored to have a waitress that was such a fan of where she worked. You could tell Deb knew with absolute certainty we would love whatever we ordered.
After placing our order we were each given a piece of homemade corn bread which was so moist and delicious I could’ve easily eaten a pan of it!
Our appetizer was served in no time. I sure am glad I took Deb’s advice and ordered the Bourbon BBQ chicken wings! Wow, wow, wow. I told Melanie that their BBQ sauce could be on a tire and I’d eat it, THAT is how delicious is! Technically I could use such cliches as “lip smackin good” but that wouldn’t do it justice. I’m Italian! I want to use expletives, damnit! How about, “You bet your bippy it’s delicious!” Yeah. That works! 😉
Mel and I weren’t even on our entrees yet and we were experiencing the holy grail, “foodGASM”.
Thank you, LJ’s, thank you!
Still muttering expletives to Melanie about how good those wings were, I saw Deb approaching the table with our entrees.
Oh, Deb……Oh, Debbie, Deb, Deb, Deb.
I ordered a side of Texas Beef Brisket & Smoked Baby Back Ribs. My two sides were Candied Yams and Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes.
Melanie ordered BBQ Chicken with Mac & Cheese and Corn on the Cob.
Both entrees came with corn bread.
I didn’t know where to start. I was overwhelmed by the greatness placed in front of me.
I decided to try a piece of brisket. Halfway through my chew, I was in a euphoric state. THEE BEST BEEF BRISKET — EVER. PERIOD. It was lean, melted in my mouth and had not one ounce of fat on it. You could taste the smokiness of the meat. I wanted to run in the kitchen and give Bernie a hug, but that would’ve taken me away from the brisket, so I remained seated! 😉 
I then sampled the Candied Yams, cocked an eyebrow, said an explanative and looked at Mel. How in the world did Bernie make these? My taste buds were on an all time high.
I’ve said this in other reviews, I wish I was a “real” food critic because I’m sure I’d be able to explain the taste eloquently, however, all I could come up with is…..”I wish my aunt was alive to taste this, she would die.” Melanie just looked at me in a semi food coma.
I decided to sample the Ribs next. I knew the second I ripped it apart that the meat was going to fall off the bone, and it did. WHERE WAS THE FAT? This was a miracle?! So much meat and so little fat. How did I get so lucky? Simply amazing.
The Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes were rich & creamy and worth every single calorie.
Meanwhile, Melanie was digging into her meal like an archeologist!
All I could hear was “MMM…MMM….OH, WOW…MMMM.” She was covered in BBQ sauce and seemed to be having an out of body experience. Between her moaning & my cursing…..God knows what Deb must’ve thought!
The BBQ chicken was plump, moist and the serving size HUGE, but what sent me over the edge was when I sampled the Mac & Cheese. I mean, really? REALLY, BERNIE? How is food THIS good? Again, I have had mac & cheese at restaurants throughout the country and this was, by far, the best EVER. You could taste the butter and cheese with every bite. It was extremely creamy and decadent. Even the Corn on the Cob was amazing!
Linda, what is Bernie doing in that kitchen?? It’s magic!
My mind raced with how I would describe this experience to our readers and then it dawned on me, no matter what I write, it just wouldn’t do the food at LJ’s justice. You HAVE to experience it for yourself. Go there – HUNGRY. Dig in! Leave your calorie worries at the door and make sure you save room for dessert…….oh my, dessert.
Melanie and I shared the Pecan Pie which was served warm with vanilla ice-cream and whipped cream. The pecans were HUGE. Not to be repetitive, but I have also had many slices of pecan pie in my 34 years of life, and not one comes close to LJ’s. I sincerely mean this.
What a dining experience. A 10 out of 10!
  • Linda told me that LJ’s will be getting their first food truck soon! Now THAT’S exciting. Forget the ice-cream truck. I’ll be waiting to hear some Memphis Blues playing outside my window. I. Am. So. There.

  • LJ’s has received a number of awards and critical reviews including “Best of Rhode Island” award. Click HERE for a list.
  • Lunch & Dinner is served daily: 11:30am to closing. Brunch served Sat & Sun 10:00am-2:00pm. Closed Mondays and Holidays.
  • LJ’s delivers! (401) 272-3463.
  • LJ’s offers special promotions. Check out their Tuesday $17.99 Fixed Price Menu from 3pm till closing. Receive a complete meal with choice of wine, beer or soft drink, choice of soup or salad, and a choice of selected entrees with sides, finished off with a delectable dessert.
  • LJ’s offer gift certificates from $10 up.
  •  LJ’s is available for private parties! Reserve LJ’s BBQ exclusively for your own group event. You can check out group menus HERE.
  • For directions to LJ’s click HERE.
GAY & LESBIAN FACTOR: Owner, Linda, responded almost immediately when I contacted her in regard’s to LJ’s being featured on Gay Travel Information’s blog. She and the entire staff at LJ’s was extremely hospitable to Melanie and I. I would definitely recommend this to the LGBT community. The restaurant is located right near Hope Street and Brown University’s “College Hill” section, which is known to be VERY gay & lesbian friendly and often referred to as Providence’s “Castro District”.
I am hearby “OUTING” LJ’s BBQ as an establishment worthy of our business.
Our dining experience was fantastic from beginning to end. It was one of these meals that you don’t want to end, but your stomach can’t take any more. The service and food were simply perfect.
I know, with complete confidence, that Miss Leola Jean is looking down extremely pleased and smiling.
Desiree Sousa
  1. Linda says:

    sounds simply amazing!!!!! I’m soooooooo there………..

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] Gay Travel Information originally reviewed LJ’s back in April 2011. You can read that review HERE. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: