Sunday, 25 March 2012

Camp 31

Camp 31
22 Paris Road
Paris, Ontario


In her opinion:
We recently planned to have dinner with friends and as always, the big question came up...where should we have dinner? After mentioning our dislikes and their dislikes and where we have eaten lately, a short list was complied...the winner Camp 31. Camp 31 was the original bar-b-que place in our area long before Hogtails or the Lancaster Smokehouse existed.

Camp 31 prides itself on being Alabama's finest bar-b-que. They have two locations, one in Paris, Ontario and one in Castleberry, Alabama.  Camp 31 is also part of the Ribfest circuit including Canada's Largest Ribfest. We knew their reputation so it was easy to agree on this place. But apparently so do a lot of other people. We waited almost 45 minutes for a table. When we finally did get seated our drink orders were taken promptly (I ordered their famous lemonade at $3.25 a glass), but it did take a while to get our meals.  In the meantime, we have the free roasted peanuts to tie us over.

Camp 31's famous Lemonade.

Their menu is pretty extensive. It's filled with all kinds of bar-b-que and Southern delights. However, since it was not my first time here, I knew exactly what I wanted to eat. The Southern Fried Chicken was my pick with mash potatoes and gravy instead of the fries and corn bread as my side.

The chicken was good.  It doesn't compare to the Stockyards but it is very good fried chicken. The mash potatoes were also good with a nice homemade taste with a nice gravy. But the kicker was the cornbread.  The cornbread is sweet and absolutely delicious.

Overall, it was a good meal. My only complaint was having to hear a drunk patron's rants for most of my meal. The restaurant is small and as a result we can listen to our neighbours conversation which unfortunately isn't always a good thing when alcohol is involvedI really do like Camp 31. It's as close to Southern bar-b-que as we can get in this part of Ontario.

Our friends had the ribs and they found them dry but still enjoyed them.

In his opinion:

Well, my second time at Camp 31 is not much to brag about unfortunately. Not really sure why people rave and rant about their ribs either. I find them over-smoked and pretty dry, although the taste is somewhat good. Then again any decent BBQ sauce will do that.

We waited forever for our table. The group of waiters that don't seem to be much older than 15 weren't helping the situation. With about 5-6 parties waiting to be seated, the hostess felt she could remember who is who and it wasn't until we were there for 30 minutes that she started taking names, after screwing up who was next.

We finally sat down and it all seemed okay until we realized that the people beside us were acting like they were at home, cursing up a storm and acting obnoxious with complete disregard for the children that were at the restaurant. Alcohol was indeed a factor (even before they sat down) but the young inexperienced wait staff did not address it and looked a little overwhelmed about what to do.  I really should have told them to return to their trailer park! :)

I ordered the pulled pork sandwich, which is one of their specialities. It was served with sweet potato fries that ended up being the best thing of the night. The pulled pork meat was sort of bland and it came inside of a hot dog bun, similar to the grocery store variety. The beans are actually pretty good and tasted great but their sauce was much watery this time around. I had a chance to have some of the Southern Fried Chicken and it was good, not great but good. Another highlight of the meal was the corn bread that I must admit was delicious. It was still oven hot and melted in your mouth. They serve it as small biscuit sized corn breads that are almost worth the drive to Paris, Ontario.

Overall it was just ok. I wouldn't say that I wouldn't recommend it to anyone but I just believe that because I have a lot more to compare to as far as BBQ is concerned, that it's easy to point out that they fall short on a few of things.

The Good: Great corn bread, good chicken and the extensive menu that pretty much gives everyone lots of choice.
The Bad: The grocery store buns, inexperienced wait staff (although trying very hard) and the over dry ribs (that's twice now)
The Verdict: As far as BBQ goes, it's good to have a place close to home but I feel that Hog tails and possibly Lancaster Smoke House (both closer to us) are better options for BBQ. Not even going to mention places out of town or TO.

I give it a 2 1/2 olives out of 5 as rating

Camp 31 on Urbanspoon

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