It's been eons (a year and a half) in development, but Bubba's Texas BBQ is finally smokin' at 19-21 W. Girard Ave., the corner spot between Front Street and Frankford Avenue in Fishtown. They're targeting the first week of October for opening.
The owner, Steve Ehrenhalt, and the operator, a hail Texan named Robert "Bubba" Kolbasowski, attribute the long wait to the construction of a custom smoker - a 2,200-pound behemoth with eight smoking chambers. Barry Robbins, a welder and fabricator who lives near Bubba in the New Jersey Pine Barrens, built it from scratch.
Bubba, who caters under the name Bubba-Que, specializes in Texas-style (as in, dry-rub). His brisket spends 18 to 20 hours in the smoker. "The half-inch smoke ring is so tender you can cut it with a feather," Bubba said, with Lone Star-size modesty.
"Feathers are against health code," Ehrenhalt added. The two men have been buddies for two decades, having met when both were rehabbing houses in North Philly and Bubba pulled up in his mobile smoker.
Ehrenhalt bought the building about seven years ago and rehabbed it. Cornerstone Market operated there for three years. After Cornerstone was done in by the economy, Ehrenhalt decided to put Bubba in business.
Features: Large tiger wood bar with 10 taps (and graffito - "an homage to the edgy neighborhood," says Ehrenhalt); multiple TVs, family friendly vibe.
Oh, and the prospect of being around the corner from the Stephen Starr-backed Brooklyn BBQ destination Fette Sau - opening in October - is a plus, both men say.
"These are two different places with two different feels," says Ehrenhalt. "I hope people think we're both awesome."