Cuisine: Cajun BBQ
Gay and High st.
Monday-Friday 11am-3pm (or until sold out)
Last summer the corner of Gay and High was home to the cupcake truck 3 Babes and a Baker. This summer it has a new resident – Johnny Oak’s Cajun BBQ. If the name Johnny Oak’s sounds familiar it’s because Johnny already has a restaurant in Columbus – Johnny Oak’s Po Boy and Shrimp Shack located on North Campus. You won’t find any Po Boys here though, as the truck and restaurant offer different menus (the only overlap is the side dishes all of which Johnny himself cooks from scratch). Both menus have the same inspiration, the period of time that Johnny lived in New Orleans.
Johnny opened the Po Boy Shack 5 years ago when he wanted to get out of the construction business and do something that he loved. Johnny (pictured above) is a character and an extremely warm host who offered us samples to help us decide what to order. He jokes with customers ‘this ain’t Burger King’ and takes justified pride in his food. He closed up shop early the day we were there because he was almost sold out and didn’t want the remaining small amount of meat to dry out on the grill.
Here’s the menu, which as you can see will have some variability based on the whims of the owner.
We split two sandwiches and were divided over whether we preferred the pulled pork or the brisket. The pulled pork was a delicious mess of a sandwich oozing with BBQ sauce and coleslaw (note to self – don’t wear a white shirt). The pork was tender and the creamy coleslaw balanced the heat of the BBQ sauce. I also liked the crunch that the coleslaw added.
The blackened brisket was nicely (but not overly) fatty, juicy and with less sauce than the pork. The beans were what really won my heart, less sweet than the usual bbq baked beans, with a decent kick of heat and a rich flavorful broth. The greens with bacon were also very good, less bitter than others I have had.
As well as running the truck and restaurant Johnny caters parties and will pretty much grill any meat for you from goat to turkeys. He also builds and remodels trailers and trucks. There’s more information about the restaurant, catering and trucks here.