Pappy's Smokehouse 1st Birthday Celebration

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Amidst all the recession-fueled doom-and-gloom that has settled around the local restaurant industry, it was just plain terrific to stop by Pappy's Smokehouse (3106 Olive Street; Web site) today for the Midtown barbecue joint's first birthday celebration. The line was long -- at noon, I waited 40 minutes -- but everyone seemed in jovial spirits, and the Pappy's staff brought around samples of the day's special treat to those in the queue.

That's co-owner and barbecue champ Mike Emerson pictured above, pulling pork from one of the two whole hogs the restaurant smoked for today's party. The pigs were dry-rubbed Monday and then put in the smoker yesterday at 10 a.m., where they cooked overnight at 215 degrees. (Hat and sunglasses added after cooking, I assume.)

If you haven't dropped by Pappy's yet today, don't fret. There seems to be plenty of pork to go around. The day's special is a pulled-pork sandwich with one side and a drink, and the cost is a you-call-it donation to Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center.

Now we at the RFT have made our love for Pappy's clear: Best New Restaurant, Best Barbecue and #1 on my Top Ten Dishes of 2008. And judging by the throng at Pappy's today -- and, to be honest, on most days -- we're not alone. But you know a joint is speical when none other than Mayor Francis Slay pays a visit. That's Hizzoner himself working the room in the picture to the right. When's that primary election again, Mr. Mayor?

(Actually, I overheard Mayor Slay tell someone he went to grade school with one of the owners. I'd call the restaurant to confirm, but, uh, they're a little busy right now.)

And where is the picture of my pulled-pork sandwich? Well, my camera battery went kaput right after I snapped the close-up shot of the pig's head, so if you want to see the sandwich, you'll just have to hustle down to Pappy's yourself.

Like you need an excuse.

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