Ann Arbor: consistently voted one of the happiest cities in the United States, a beautiful college town, and home to a wonderful collection of restaurants and good eats. One of the newer additions to Ann Arbor’s foodie culture is Westside BBQ, a small establishment nestled between Fingerle Lumber and Elbel Field, hosts an authentic environment that gets right to the point: the food. The one room, one table dining area fosters a communal feel that can be rarely found, even in such a culturally diverse city as Ann Arbor. With an old-fashioned wooden chest water cooler and 70’s rock and roll playing in the background, Westside truly brings its guests back in time to fully experience their delicious sandwiches.

They got their start selling meat out of a huge smoker outside of Ann Arbor’s own Argus Farm Stop, where they gained so much interest that they decided to open their own restaurant. One of the three owners, Matteo Melosi, ran the cooker and also did business with the Wolverine Brewing Company prior to his business venture with Westside. Joined by Adam Bota, a man with experience in the bar and restaurant scene who heads the storefront, and Petra Bartosiewicz, who runs the finance, they make for an experienced trio that knows how to keep the business running efficiently.

With nearly spotless ratings and a copious amount of positive reviews, I had high hopes for Westside. They more than met my expectations, and I would recommend them as one of the best barbecue joints in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area. I ordered a brisket sandwich with coleslaw, pickles, and a side of dirty rice, and it was top notch. Their barbecue sauce was perfectly paired and proportioned with their shredded brisket so that the sauce didn’t overpower the delicious smoked meat, and the addition of the pickles and slaw topped off a superb sandwich. Contrary to the usual sandwich of this type, the bun wasn’t soggy at all and the sandwich kept its structure pretty well, which was a pleasant surprise. The service was similarly on point; everything and everyone was efficient, polite, and timely and I could tell that they really cared that their food tasted good. Though a little pricey ($14 for the sandwich), the flavor is well worth the cash. Westside BBQ has it figured out, and every Ann Arborite, foodie or not, should check it out.