‘Cue & A with Downtown Spartanburg’s Initial Q Smokehouse

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‘Cue & A with Downtown Spartanburg’s Initial Q Smokehouse

Barbecue is big across Spartanburg, but Initial Q Smokehouse in Downtown Spartanburg is doing things a little differently.

Initial Q, which shares a space along Main and Broad streets downtown with Underpin Lanes N’ Lounge and the Magnolia Grand Event Center, opened aiming to be an upscale smokehouse, taking the traditions of barbecue and adding a fine dining-like twist to them.

Along with fan favorites like pulled pork, chopped chicken, brisket and sausage, Initial Q has a tofu option for vegetarians along with less-seen barbecue faire like rabbit and duck confit. Side dishes are kicked up a notch at Initial Q, too, with pepper-jack cheese grits, mac and cheese, honey coleslaw, crispy Brussels sprouts and more on the menu.

For an in-depth look at what you can expect when you visit Initial Q (there are indoor, outdoor, and call-ahead dining options available) we talked to Marissa Human, Group Sales Manager at Initial Q, Underpin and Magnolia Grand Event Center.

Q: What inspired Initial Q’s menu?

A: Our owner, Howard Dozier, has a love for barbecue and good bourbon, so he wanted to bring the two ideas together. Chef Daniel Dobbs came in with 25+ years culinary experience and compiled a menu of his favorite barbecue flavors from all around the Southeast and added his fine-dining influence.

Q: How is Initial Q different from some of the other barbecue spots you can find in Spartanburg?

A: The best way to describe it is atmosphere and variety. We have a stunning Art Deco feel in the dining room with the bar as the main showstopper. We offer a more upscale menu that has a variety of ingredients that you may not find at a classic barbecue restaurant like rabbit and Brussels sprouts fried in duck fat. Our menu hits the mark for everyone by offering smokehouse favorites as well as more classic “center of plate” dishes like our signature filet.

Q: How has Initial Q’s relationship with UnderPin Lanes N’ Lounge been?

A: Great – we are owned by the same company so we work together as much as we can. Initial Q actually prepares the food for the bowling alley so it’s another opportunity to show the innovation of our barbecue by creating fun “bar food.” One of the most popular items on the menu is the Triple Pig Nachos. Instead of your traditional tortilla chips, we use house-made pork rinds and top with lots of goodies, including house smoked pulled pork and crispy pork belly. It pairs so well with one of the nice, cold beers we have on tap.

Q: What’s the most adventurous thing on the menu?

A: I would say the duck or rabbit. Many people haven’t had the opportunity to try smoked meats outside of traditional offerings. And jackfruit! It’s one of our vegetarian options so we have a little something for everyone.

Q: What’s your favorite thing on the menu?

A: Hands down, the burnt ends. They are a little fattier piece of meat, but they hold so much flavor. We offer them on our everyday Smokehouse menu, but Chef also has a “secret” menu. One of the items he had during Sunday brunch was the “Chef Bomb” which is an open-faced donut, burnt ends, over easy egg, honey habanero BBQ sauce and topped with hollandaise. It was amazing. Chef’s favorite dish is a little more refined than mine. He enjoys the pork belly steak with his signature creamed corn, bourbon braised greens and a roasted orange balsamic glaze.

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