Good ol’ southern American dude food is what you’ll find at Carolina Kitchen, where apron-clad ex-marine and short-order cook Mike Perry serves ‘food for the soul’. Perry’s Alabama drawl and the kitsch dining-room decoration of a trumpet-playing Satchmo immortalised in wood add authenticity to the street-corner kitchen surrounded by Coorparoo’s respectable picket-fenced plots.
The walls are decorated with images of Michael Jordan and a poster spruiking a Temptations gig at the Fillmore Auditorium in July – year unknown. It’s clean-as-a-whistle but nothing flash; checked plastic tablecloths are set with bottles of Mexican Cholula sauce and cardboard milkshake cups filled with pre-packed issues of serviette-and-plastic cutlery. One serviette won’t do – getting stuck into a rack of ribs is a beyond-messy affair. Roll up your sleeves ’cos that BBQ sauce will be dripping down your arms in no time.
Aunt Lilly Mae’s tender, slow-cooked ribs ($16.95) take their name from Perry’s dear aunt’s treasured recipe. The sauce is house-made but Carolina Kitchen is short-order by nature, so expect a squeeze of this and that in the mix. The Nike-and-hoodie set will go for buckets of buffalo wings ($21.95) doused in mild or hot sauce with unglamorous blue-cheese dipping sauce, along with hoagies ($12.95) and New York Fries with house chilli, cheese and dollop of sour cream ($7.95). Depending on the day’s bake, pumpkin, pecan, cherry or lime fillings are poured into pre-made pie cases; there’s Butter Fingers and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups; and the fridge stacked is with cherry cola, root beer and Dr Pepper to quench the thirst, USA-style.
An unpretentious, light-hearted tone dominates a night out at Carolina Kitchen and the good folk of Brisbane are flocking to Coorparoo to enjoy it.