Pensacola 32502: Fining Dining in the 32502

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
This was originally published as an actual dining review about 10 years ago but the place involved mercifully went out of business. The names have been changed to protect the guilty. It is a commentary on back roads diners and southern health food. Bon Appetit.

Submitted: November 13, 2015

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Submitted: November 13, 2015



~~I am Osroe Cleon Bonifei, Ossie for short.  I own and publish the Pensacola 32502 Weekly, circulation about 30,000, depending on the season and day of the week.  If you have any complaints about this review, please direct them to me.

The fact of the matter is, this was one of the most painful, contentious and difficult dining reviews any of our staff has ever written.  The debate was so acrimonious and personal, that two of our finest staff reporters quit and took lower paying, less prestigious positions elsewhere.  This hurt.  But, there are standards and principles of fair treatment that are far more important than the simple truth. 

Our new editorial motto is, “Be nice.”

Thus, regardless of the truth of the matter, there is nowhere in this story that you will find any disparaging comparison of the barbeque spareribs at Ray’s Barbeque to barbequed road kill in Iraq or Somalia or anywhere else in the world.  That would simply be unfair.  We’ve done enough to those Iraqi’s without saying things like that about their food.  So, we will miss that reporter, her rich pouty lips, bleached blond hair, big brown eyes and her firm, large rounded, beautifully bouncing creamy skinned breasts and we wish her the best at her new evening news anchor position with Fox News.

By the same token, describing Ray’s Barbequed ribs as an “adventurous trip back to olden times” when there was little refrigeration to be had, and all ribs and ham were flavored with at least a touch of bone taint (a flavor that seems to be present in all Northwest Florida barbeque --except for Big Mama’s Barbeque ( in North County, when salt was hard to come by for po’ folk livin’ in the swamp and it made opossum rubbery anyway—so they didn’t season their meat at all before they cooked it—they just threw it into the smoke house and let it smoke, does seem appropriate but perhaps a little truthier than desirable.  And if the fire got too hot in those olden days of yore, they cooled it down by tossing a bucket, or two, of swamp water on it—and if the ribs got covered with ash as a result, well that was called “country style.”  Thus, we will miss that sweet young reporter, her satin smooth dark chocolate brown skin and full head of rich black hair, big brown eyes like bottomless pools, succulent full lips, white teeth, peek-a-boo pink tongue; double scoop chocolate ice cream cone breasts and finely shaped derriere and we wish her the best in her new evening news anchor position at CNN.

Be positive.

“Ray’s Barbeque” is A New Age Southern Heritage Fine Dining Establishment that prides itself on New Age Southern Health Food and its family atmosphere.There is plenty of room to park in the parking lot--it is usually empty--so, you can park as near to or far from the entrance as you want.  Secondly, the staff makes you feel right at home.  I walked in and stood patiently by the “Please wait to be seated” sign while the young lady behind the cash register ignored me in a manner equaled by only my teenage sister.  After she finished filing the ends of her nails, and chipping some of the remnants of chipped nail polish from her thumb and forefinger, she led me to a table for one.  As I followed, I noted that she left a tantalizing trail of eau de ash tray and sweat and that her armpits were caked with white powder.  A liquid substance had been spilled on the table and not wiped up.  She wiped it off, squeezed the rag out on the floor and wiped some more.  Scratched her butt a little, examined her chipped nails, said, “Jus a sec, hon,” and walked back to the cash register where she telephoned somebody and gave him hell.  A few moments later, a young man came in from the kitchen.  He was talking on his cell phone, to her, and they stood there, at opposite ends of an otherwise empty dining room, yelling at each other and their cell phones.  Apparently, he is the employee responsible for cleaning off the tables.  He is also her brother.  Which probably explains, why, with at least two dozen tables in the dining room, and I was the only customer, she didn’t seat me somewhere else.

Standards are standards.

Later that evening, when she came back to take my order, I asked her if they had different flavors of barbeque sauces.  She replied, “Huh?” and looked at me quizzically. 

“Do you have any ‘hot’ barbeque sauce?”

Another pained expression.  She whipped out her cell phone, hit the speed dial and began yelling, “You betta git out heah rat now!  I cain’t unnerstan a thang thehs man’s a say’n.”

Turns out, they have “baba-coo sowse” and Takes-us Payt Haht Sowse (Texas Pete’s Hot Sauce)--undoubtedly a winning combination for the discerning palates of Northwest Florida.

The ribs were well done and, possibly the closest thing to “health food” that anything called “baba-coo rahbs” has ever come.  They had absolutely no salt and no preservative of any sort.  This was evident both from the flavor, the grey flesh around the bones and the delightful hint of bone taint flavor mentioned above.  And, I’m sure that the thick coat of ash protected the well done flesh against flesh eating burrowing insects that might seek to deposit their larvae there in.  While I didn’t ask, I’m sure that the absence of salt and other spices is driven by a heart felt concern for the health of their customers.  A few late evening customers waddled in as I was leaving and each ordered a full rack of “rahbs”, with “frahs” and “Bud light”—the National Beverage of Northwest Florida—hush puhpees, and baba-cooed bains.

Those may have been the appetizers.

So there it is, the first Pensacola 32502 Weekly Dining Review of a New Age Southern Heritage Fine Dining that prides itself on New Age Southern Health Food.
Because it is the new editorial policy to keep these things friendly, the good things we can say about Ray’s Barbeque will be summarized, here:

1. It ain’t on the main tourist trail.
2. It ain’t easy to get to so you are unlikely to find it by accident.
3. There ain’t no pleasant odor wafting out of the place to lure the unknowing inside.
4. The staff is so slow, that you are more likely to die of old age or starvation before they serve you--walk over the Texaco station next door and fill up on pickled sausage before you order.
5. If they do manage to come to your table before you die of starvation, they can’t understand what you’re saying and if they do they can’t write it down anyway, and they can’t remember it long enough to walk over and tell the cook what you want,
 so you’re back to number 3 above anyway.

And so goes, fine dining for you in Pensacola 32502.

Be nice.



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