Casual Dining reviews

Open less than a year, Sweet Old Bill’s in High Point serves up smoked meats, fresh sides and shares a wall and patio space with Brown Truck Brewery in High Point. The entrance is the side closest to the small parking lot but there is plenty of street parking and additional parking behind Brown Truck. The dining room is large and airy, with concrete floors, booths, tables and a bar with high stools. There is plenty of seating for your party of one or 10.

The menu focuses on the smoked meats and deep-fried delicacies, but there are a number of salads, soups and appetizers that could easily turn into meals.

Starting with the Snackables and Sharables appetizer portion of the menu, crispy fried pork rinds appear as two menu items: The smoked and grilled pork belly and the crispy, fried pork skins. The pork belly come in a small cast-iron skillet on top of cheesy grits, bourbon honey barbecue sauce and a few hot pork rinds sprinkled with a “magic dust” seasoning.

The dish comes with a few strips of fat, juicy, smoky, grilled pork belly with plenty of meat and crisped edges. The barbecue sauce is a tangy foil to the smooth, creamy grits.

Another menu standout is the deep-fried deviled eggs. Coated in crispy panko breadcrumbs and served with dollops of a thick blueberry compote on top, they were a hit with my dining companions.

Moving on to sandwiches and burgers, choose from a 7-ounce burger and upgrade to two patties for an additional charge.

Platters are served with coleslaw and your choice of more than 13 sides. Smoked low and slow, the meats include pulled pork, smoked chicken, ribs, brisket and salmon alongside a robust veggie plate with three, four or five side options.

The Big Boy and Bigger Boy combos allow for sampling multiple meat styles. As far as the sides go, standouts include the cheese grits, corn pudding and tomato pie. Piled high and piping hot, you can’t go wrong with any choice, but the collard greens are one-note, despite having a massive amount of bacon and potlikker in the bowl. Neither a sprinkle of vinegar nor the addition of the barbecue dip could save the leafy greens.

The brisket comes in thick slices, drizzled with a house barbecue sauce. Layered with a smoky charred exterior, the beef itself was very good but very dry. Barbecue sauce could not resurrect this cut. After polling my server about which meats to order, I settled on the smoked chicken, which comes drizzled with an Alabama white sauce. I ordered dark meat, hoping for a leg and thigh but a breast and wing arrived at the table. Ready to dig in, I didn’t want to send it back. The chicken was dry from skin to bone. There was a minuscule drizzle of the white Alabama sauce which had been baked onto the chicken. I asked for additional sauce and was given ranch dressing by accident. The dressing was flavorful, but I wished I had more of the white sauce because the little bit I had was excellent. The same affliction befell the pulled pork. The meat was dry.

I am sincerely hoping that my experience was just an off day and that the dry meats are not indicative of what Sweet Old Bill’s has to offer. The sides, the atmosphere and the range of beers on tap make the trek to this barbecue joint worth while.

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Casual Dining features local restaurants for diners on a budget. It appears the second and fourth Thursday of the month. Contact Nikki Miller-Ka at nicolettemiller.ka@gmail.com.

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