Photos by Cameron Flaisch
YOU HEARD THE RUMORS back when the restaurant was in-the-works and probably couldn’t wait for the new addition to our local eateries to open. And once it did, locals had one question that followed “How have you been?”
“Have you eaten at Moe’s yet?”
That’s because sinking your teeth into one of their steaming, fresh barbecue sandwiches complemented perfectly with the best cole slaw you’ve ever tasted and vegetables that are cooked just right make for a Moe’s Original Bar B Que (101 West 1st Street, Rome) experience no one will want to pass up.
The restaurant itself is spacious, with a rustic, simple interior. A log smoldering in the fireplace is the first thing you see when you walk in, followed by an impressive, full bar. But the first thing you smell is succulent meat on its way to perfection in a massive smoker.
Moe’s has been open only a little more than a month, and one of the restaurant owners, Tyson Dube says each morning, the staff arrives early to fill the smoker with 200 pounds of meat. They’ve also sold out of meat at some point during each week they’ve been open, but that’s something they’re okay with.
“We smoke meat every day; we do it fresh,” Dube explains. “We’re not into serving reheated meat. Once you reheat it, it’s just not the same… you lose that succulence. It only goes right the first time.”
Serving the best, fresh meat that sells out versus selling reheated meat that’s always in stock is something he and fellow Moe’s owners Jeremy Duke and Truman Webb are willing to compromise, he says.
“We’ve caught a little bit of flak for running out, but we’re okay with it. We’d rather do that than go way overboard and try to serve a product that is not up to our standards. Which is one of the downfalls of barbecue.”
Dube says it’s almost ironic that he chose to open a barbecue restaurant, because as a rule, he’s generally skeptical of typical barbecue restaurants. But he always felt the Moe’s Original Bar B Que franchise was different.
“I don’t ever really eat barbecue out,” he says. “I love barbecue, but I don’t trust most barbecue restaurants to serve and sell me good barbecue. That’s why Moe’s was an interesting choice. But I really like their food and their work ethic on making everything fresh.”
Dube’s two favorite menu items at his Rome location are the Bama Style Pork sandwich and the Shrimp Moe Boy sandwich.
“It’s our pork sandwich with our marinated slaw on it and the white barbecue sauce,” he ex-plains of the Bama Style Pork sandwich. “Now, if you order a regular pork sandwich, it’s the same thing but without the slaw and white sauce.”
But for the Shrimp Moe Boy, something that really sets it apart is the quality of shrimp used.“It’s Georgia shrimp and Gulf shrimp,” Dube says. “A lot of shrimp out there these days comes from Thailand, but our’s is as fresh and as local as we can get it. We hand bread everything, so it’s not coming in pre-breaded. We peel it, bread it. We take all those extra steps which makes it taste better.”The tartar sauce used on the sandwich is made from scratch, he says, using finely diced fresh vegetables.
“It’s one of my favorite sauces on the menu,” he says.
While Moe’s Original Bar B Que is a franchise – with right around 50 restaurants in the U.S. – Dube says it has wide margins so that individual stores can flex their own creative culinary muscles, like with the Boudin Balls that are a special side dish.
“We take our smoked pork and rice and mix them together with fresh vegetables and parsley. We roll them all together, bread them and fry them.”
Dube is not opposed to letting his cooks pitch a recipe at him to serve to the masses.
“We have probably 100 recipes written down and we also have a lot of people who love to cook, we allow people who work here to make whatever they want to try to make, and if it’s good enough, we’ll put it on the menu,” he says. “Our menu’s a little different than some of the other Moe’s resturants out there.”
Dube also said that he plans on keeping his vendors and collaborators as local as possible.
“I’ve talked to Berry College about doing beef brisket from them once a week,” he says. “I’ve got a guy who’s a very accomplished chef and we’re thinking about bringing in a half of beef and butchering it down from Berry. We’ve talked to a few people over in Alabama who have farms and who are certified to sell to places like us. We’re going to reach out a little more.”
The vegetables served as sides are also so crisp and fresh and seasoned perfectly. Dube explained that the vegetables used are frozen in the field. says.” Things like that, unless you’re cooking just straight seasonal veggies, are hard to get.”
“The bread we’re using is from Holeman and Finch Bread Company,” he adds. “They’re famous for the H&F burger in Atlanta. We get fresh bread six days a week, and the cornbread is from Southeastern Mills.
With six beers on tap and 40 canned beers, the bar is fully stocked and ready to entertain, as well.
“We have some really good stuff from Against the Grain out of Louisville,” Dube says. “We have Sweetwater’s Pulled Porter on tap. We have Cigar City High Li. We’ll keep good stuff on tap for sure.”
On any given day at the restaurant, Dube is among his staff, bustling through the busy dining room, asking folks how their meals are and if they need anything. With a keen talent for the business, Dube started working in restaurants in his home state of Michigan when he was 15.
“I moved down here from Michigan when I was about 19 in 2001,” he said, adding that he graduated from West Georgia, but worked at Mellow Mushroom in Douglas County while he was a student. “I was the kitchen manager and general manager. I moved to the headquarters and for about five years I travelled around opening up Mellow Mushrooms.”
If you recognize Dube at Moe’s Original Bar B Que, it’s probably because he helped to open the Rome Mellow Mushroom. Back when he worked at Mellow Mushroom Headquarters he opened about 40 of the pizzerias across the country. He became friend with Moe’s co-owner Jeremy Duke, who also owns and runs the Mellow Mushroom in Rome. Dube even helped Duke’s brother open a Mellow Mushroom 11 years ago in Myrtle Beach.
“When I was traveling with Mellow Mushroom, I ate at a Moe’s Original bar B Que in Huntsville,” he said. “This was like seven years ago. I used to go to Huntsville all the time and I would always eat at that Moe’s. Then, when I was going to other cities, like Denver, I would always try to find a Moe’s.”
Dube said he loved the food, plain and simple. He had the opportunity to meet the founders of Moe’s and several franchise owners. The Moe’s founders learned their cooking skills in Alabama then they moved to Colorado and started selling barbecue out there, Dube said.
“I stopped opening up (Mellow Mush-room) stores and I was doing analytics work for the whole brand,” he recalls. “But I was bored with sitting at a desk, I missed being in a restaurant, so I called up Jeremy and we decided to do this. I just believed in what they were doing. It felt like a good fit.”
He and Duke looked at several locations, but settled on opening a store in Rome, and the restaurant is located just off Broad Street. Though it’s a little separate from the usual Broad Street restaurants, it doesn’t look like the new Moe’s Original Bar B Que is going to be hurting for business any time soon.
“With a barbecue place, barbecue kind of creates its own gravity, so you don’t necessarily have to be right in the center of the action if you serve great barbecue.”
For a quick glance at the menu find Moe’s online at moesoriginalbbq.com and use the locations tab to find the Rome restaurant. Or, call ahead at 706-622-2977.