You'll enter through a ramshackle metal gate topped with barbed wire, head along a concrete wall until you hit a brick patio. A rusted steel beam hangs overhead. In front of you is an old shack with squeaky door, plus picnic tables and other communal seating.
You're going for barbecue. Unadorned BBQ, sold by the pound and splayed out by the counter person on sheet pans topped with butcher paper, and everything is washed down with beer and whiskey.
That's the lowdown on Fette Sau.
It's the creation of Joe Carroll, a Brooklynite who worked in the music industry, owned a beer bar and dabbled quite heavily in the recreational smoking of meat.
Five and a half years ago, Carroll and his wife, Kim, opened Fette Sau (German for "fat pig") in a beaten-up former auto garage across the street from their beer bar, Spuyten Duyvil, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
In mid-October, Joe Carroll - backed by Stephen Starr - will open the second Fette Sau, at 1408 Frankford Ave., adjacent to Starr's Frankford Hall and across from Johnny Brenda's. Between Fette Sau and the forthcoming Bubba's Texas BBQ opening around the corner on Girard, the Fishtown neighborhood will be smokin'.
I caught up with Carroll Saturday during Frankford Hall's Oktoberfest, which had curious folks peeking in at the site. He visits weekly.
The creation of the Philly location resulted from fortuitous timing.
"I was desperately looking to figure out how I could get Fette Sau into another city," Carroll said. "I mean, I was begging for it, but I didn't know how to do it. I know food, wine, beer, but not that. I taught myself how to do barbecue. It's one thing to have an operation in my hometown, but it's a bit more of daunting task to do it in another market. I didn't want to have to [come down] three nights a week and relocate my staff."
Meanwhile, Starr was looking to do more in Fishtown, because Frankford Hall has exceeded expectations. A mutual friend introduced the men and "we hit it off," Carroll said.
It's a joint venture. "I have final say on design, concept and all the food," Carroll said. He'll bring in the meats - all natural, humanely raised from family farms.
He has two Southern Pride smokers, each capable of doing 600 or so pounds.
It's an all-American bar: Ten craft lines (nine beers, one cider) and what he calls a "very extensive whiskey selection."
The 26-point Zagat review, from Google:
It’s “worth fighting through the hipsters” for “incredible BBQ” rated the “best in NYC” at this Williamsburg “hawg heaven” in a “converted auto garage”; the “ethereal” meat is “priced by the pound” and chased with “brown liquors” and “quality suds”, but you have to endure “long waits” in “cafeteria-style” lines and “picniclike” “communal” seating.