For years, Missouri boy Jason Owens has been dreaming of a fried chicken shack, riffing on a recipe from Northwest Portland’s long closed Viande, the City Market butcher shop where he worked with Ben Dyer in the mid-2000s.

The two cooks later teamed up at Laurelhurst Market with chef David Kriefels bonding over a love of meat, affordable comfort, and barbecue—best expressed in the East Burnside Street restaurant’s signature 12-hour wagyu beef brisket shimmering in a potent “Ozark” barbecue sauce.

On Monday, March 31, after a year of secret testing, the trio unveils Reverend’s BBQ, a family-friendly Sellwood restaurant where the eating is fun and easy, and drinking, says Dyer, is “efficient, delicious and inexpensive,” with eight to 10 beers on tap and simple cocktails. Doors open 4 pm at 7712 SE 13th Ave., in a revamped 75-seat space last home to Eleni’s Estiatorio.

We snooped out the menu and boiled down highlights:

  • Appetizers ($4-$6), five to start, including boiled peanuts and fried chicken poppers.
  • Salads, big and small, mostly $8. Options include, most importantly, a BBQ Chop Salad with brisket ends, cheddar cheese, chow chow, and Ranch.  
  • Sandwiches ($9-$10), six to start on toasted brioche, with choice of side. They all look appealing, from BBQ Beef Brisket with crispy fried onions to the Good Reverend Burger stacked with “burndt ends,” pimento cheese and house pickles. For non-believers, there’s a tempeh sandwich with “Ozark BBQ chopped slaw” and those crispy fried onions.
  • Smoked St. Louis Cut Pork Ribs, $15.95. I’m a native of Missouri, the “Show Me State.” This will be my first order.
  • BBQ Plates ($12-$14). If RB delivers, this should be the main event. Includes a choice of meat, two sides and “white bread on request.” Lineup so far: fried chicken (boneless thighs or breast – need you really debate which to order?); pork ribs, beef brisket, and Carolina-style chopped BBQ pork shoulder. I’m intrigued by the smoked sausage plate: a Louisiana hot link, French Montbeliard and Portuguese Linguica, all made fresh at Laurelhurst. A “smoked surata tempeh” is also in the house. 
  • Sides are classic, slaw to creamy potato salad, BBQ beans to mac & cheese.
  • Desserts are strictly back-to-the-womb basics: brownie sundaes with hot fudge, strawberry shortcake, and caramel nut bars. 
It’s not a groundbreaking menu, but one designed to hit the happy buttons. If Reverend BBQ delivers, I’m guessing Portland will line up to worship.

Reverend’s BBQ
7712 SE 13th Ave.
Hours: 4-9 pm Sun-Thurs, 4-10 pm Fri-Sat

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