By Dane Feldman
Photos by Dane Feldman.
Hill Country Barbecue & Market is located on 26th Street between Broadway and 6th Ave, but Hill Country also has a chicken joint around the corner on 25th Street and Broadway as well as another Hill Country Chicken in Brooklyn.
Things are done quite differently at Hill Country than at every other restaurant where I have ever had the pleasure of dining. Calling it a market is actually quite fitting because patrons choose from a variety of items and order them by the pound at their respective counters.
Hill Country serves all kinds of meat (beef shoulder, short rib, prime rib, two kinds of brisket, chicken, three kinds of sausage, pork ribs, and pork loin) as well as house specialties, sides, corn bread, market items, and even produce and dessert.
I’m almost grateful that I wasn’t starving when I set foot inside Hill Country because a small order of roasted chicken, lean brisket, and mac and cheese was plenty. The meats were absolutely delicious—juicy, lean as advertised, and quite flavorful. The mac and cheese was some of the cheesiest I’ve had. Still, I intend to return and try almost everything else on the menu (campfire baked beans, beer braised cowboy pinto beans, and sweet potato bourbon mash to start).
Oh, and Hill Country also boasts daily specials if everything else isn’t quite enough to choose from for you.
To my surprise—though it really makes no sense as to why I was surprised—Hill Country offers an unbelievably extensive specialty cocktails list, as well as a lengthy beer list, spirits list, and wine list. Patrons can order anything from a $6 or $7 beer to a $40 glass of some of the best bourbon around. I, unfortunately, stuck with water this time, but next time I’ll be trying a whole bunch of Hill Country’s cocktails.
Although patrons are expected to order at the counter, there are still waiters and waitresses who help with drink orders and any questions people may have. The wait staff is quite friendly and attentive even when the place is packed.
The restaurant itself is large and open and tables are situated near the market area so that ordering is made easy. Live music comes to Hill Country downstairs most nights of the week, which turns this place into something of an old school honky tonk. All in all, Hill Country is pretty out there for New York City, but I’m not complaining. This place is fun, the food is deliciously authentic, and patrons can spend as little or as much money as they want.