Pie Eating Contest and Barbecue at Sweet Cheeks
Saturday; contest at 3:14 p.m., barbecue 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m..
1381 Boylston St. 617-266-1300, www.sweetcheeksq.com
Want to celebrate the Fourth of July in Boston, but don’t have a backyard in which to fulfill your American barbecue dreams? Look no further for southern-style grilling than Sweet Cheeks. Situated in the Fenway, a neighborhood that loves the Red Sox, a good drink, and deep, hearty flavors, Sweet Cheeks appeals to all. If you’re not so much a barbecue person, this weekend the beer garden hosts a pop-up raw bar, as well as a pie-eating contest on Saturday at 3:14 (get it — pi ?) in the afternoon. Contestants will be chosen through an Instagram photo essay contest; upload your best eating photo with a blurb about why you should be chosen to compete. Put on stain-worthy clothes and get ready to dive into this weekend’s Independence Day specialty: homemade Maine Blueberry Pie.
Patrons include both families and young adults from colleges in the vicinity. The menu even offers kids’ favorites, including hush puppies, a giant Nutter Butter to share with the table (or for solo indulgence,) and sweet tea or ice-cold Coke served in an old-fashioned glass bottle. “We’re a big family here,” says Aaron Drost, Sweet Cheeks’s event coordinator, “and that’s what we’d like to include our customers in, as well.”
Think small-town comfortable and leave the big-city vibe behind for a few hours. Sweet Cheeks caters to the Red Sox crowd and collegiates, so most patrons tend to dress casual. “Or you can wear full-length ball gowns,” Drost adds. “We love everyone, so come on in.”
Jump outside the box with a house cocktail. One signature drink — the “Dollywood” — is a delicious vodka-based summer drink made with limoncello, elderflower, and lemon juice, topped with sparkling wine. Looking for more of an American classic for Independence Day? Drost recommends the “Kentucky Rosie,” made with Old Overholt rye whiskey mixed with grapefruit, pineapple, mint, lemon, and citrus bitters.
Although the cuisine is traditional southern fused with a modern twist, the music selection covers all genres. “We do a variety of music here. One of our favorites is Prince radio,” says Drost. “Every once in a while we’ll do Dolly Parton radio.” From ’80s pop to good old country, the music selection is sure to provide a vibrant ambience.
“Not eating for about 48 hours before you come in,” says Drost, laughing. What would he be sure to do, when he arrives to the smell of a perfect barbecue greeting him? “Walk in the door,” says Drost, “and say, ‘Just give me a biscuit.’” You really can’t go wrong with advice like that.
Mallory Abreu can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.