Goble’s favorite menu item is the grilled ham and cheese sandwich, he says, but today the barbecue is calling to him. The sauce is made personally by owner Lamar Phillips, who says it contains 22 ingredients, a vinegar base and takes about four hours to prepare. The result is a tangy kicker of a sauce with a peppery aftertaste.
“I like the sauce a lot,” said Goble. “Although sometimes I spice it up with Tabasco, too.”
The barbecue at Goal Post landed on the Year of Alabama Food’s list, “100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama Before You Die,” a foodies’ destination guide to the state’s best eats published by the Alabama Tourism Department.
“We’ve had a lot of people who have stopped in just because of the list,” said Phillips, adding he’s had everyone from Birmingham bikers to food bloggers from San Francisco stop in to test the goods, which include pulled pork sandwiches, half-chicken plates and thick, smoked ribs. Phillips personally cooks the meat in a smokehouse at the back of the restaurant, and the smoky flavor fills every bite without overpowering.
“Some people from Cape Canaveral came in on their way to Huntsville, and they had to stop in on their way back through,” Phillips recalled.
Repeat business is a big part of the atmosphere at Goal Post, where it seems everyone knows everyone. Phillips chats with Goble and another customer in between orders — Belize, they agree, sounds like an alright place to retire, when you get right down to it. A few other guests arrive and the staff knows them all by name, as well.
“It’s this great, small town atmosphere,” server Carolina Schlemminger said of the restaurant. “It’s a place you can come hang out and sit for a while afterwards.”
Schlemminger, who’s worked at Goal Post since November 2012, is a fan of the barbecue salad, which she likes to top it off with a slice of peanut butter pie for dessert, another homemade creation by Phillips.
Everything about the Goal Post is swathed in nostalgia of the ’50s and ’60s — the huge neon football player kicking the ball that so many have seen since childhood, the orange stools around the bar, football jerseys from Saks and Wellborn, the Piedmont Bulldogs and the Oxford Yellowjackets draped across the wood-paneled walls. Paul Anka croons on the radio, just before Creedence Clearwater Revival and Buddy Holly take to the airwaves.
But it’s a place for new experiences, too. As Goble switches up his usual order, Devante Brewster uses his lunch break to make his first visit to Goal Post.
He decides to try out the bite-sized barbecue riblets and chats for a few minutes while his food is prepared. He’s always seen the sign out front, he says, but never stopped in before. Goal Post’s place on the 100 Dishes list is news to him, but he’s heard the food is great.
As he takes his meal and heads towards the door, Schlemminger says she hopes Brewster enjoys it.
“I’m sure I will,” he says with a smile.
For more information about “100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama Before You Die,” check out www.yearofalabamafood.com. Call Goal Post B-B-Q at 256-237-0211 for menu details.