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Mr. P's Ribs and Fish, Shaw Metro - Pittmaster Fate Pittman Moves to 6th Street and Rhode Island Ave. NW from Brentwood


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So there's really no thread on this place? Really?

Just outside the Rhode Island Avenue Metro station, there's an old school bus that's been retrofitted to serve as a food truck, and from this bus come what are, for my money, the greatest pork ribs in the Metro area.

They're smoky, meaty, a little fatty, and overall just flat-out delicious. The meat is still on the bone, but comes off with little resistance, just as it should. You can get them sauced, but there's really no need; the sauce is nothing particularly outstanding, and frankly, the ribs don't need it.

$20 gets you a slab of pork ribs, which on this occasion today was more than enough to serve two hungry friends. To go along with the no-frills-ness of the place, you get just humble slices of white bread go along with your ribs. If you're less hungry, $9.95 gets you a rib dinner with a pair of sides. There's other offerings too, such as the apparently fantastic beef rib tips, but I can't get past the pork ribs. They're literally that good.

This is about as far from fine dining as you can get: everything served in styrofoam containers, and the only thing resembling a table and chairs is the nearest curb, but even if it's just once, you really need to make the trip.

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Checked Mr P's out today, its very clearly the best BBQ in DC proper. They didn't have a BBQ combo platter on the menu so I asked Mr P if he could make one special so I could get a taste of all the BBQ he does. He obliged.... I had chicken, beef ribs, and pork spare ribs. Sides were collard greens and potato salad.

The hype is true, his ribs are really good. I wouldn't bother with the sauce, the meat stands on its own. Chicken was good but I would just order ribs next time. Beef and pork were both good.

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I kicked off what was an (unexpectedly) great weekend of eating with lunch at Mr. P's on Friday. I've been here 3 times now and while I can't say that the Pork Ribs are definitively better than KBQ, I will say they are far more consistent. I had them dry because my order taker forgot the sauce and I think I actually enjoyed them more, as the smoke and saltiness of the meat wasn't competing with the sweet and tangy flavor of the BBQ sauce. Sides, as usual, were just OK, but that's standard for BBQ joints in the area.

If you work on NY Ave or even Union Station and have a car at your disposal, go give Mr. P a visit. He deserves your business.

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Can anyone give me an exact location for Mr. P's? I've looked around, to no avail.

He's in a parking lot on Rhode Island Avenue just south of (and on the opposite side of RI Ave. from) the Rhode Island Ave. metro station / Home Depot complex. It's difficult to see from the street, unfortunately, because the parking lot is elevated...you need to turn into it, then go up a steep driveway, to get to the lot.

Hopefully this convoluted explanation didn't make it more difficult to find... :)

Click here for a view from the street...he's up in the parking lot you see at the top.

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How well do these hold up on reheating? Thinking of a mid-day run before the game tomorrow.

BBQ generally holds up very well to reheating (unless your timing is great places around here aren't pulling things off the pit just for your order), and Mr. P's has the best pork ribs in DC. Did I mean that as damning with faint praise? Kind of, but it's the only BBQ I've had in the district that doesn't make me wish I still lived down south. Get the pork ribs.

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We finally found and stopped by Mr. P's on our way back into the district Sunday afternoon. We grabbed half a chicken, a slab a pork ribs, some slaw, beans and a sweet potato pie.

Enjoyed all except the sweet potato pie which probably suffers from being wrapped in plastic wrap for the day.

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I recently wrote a post on the Hill Country thread lamenting what I'd had there and reproclaiming Rocklands best of DC. Someone else who posts here very regularly pinged me to say 'whoa--careful about that proclamation before trying Mr P's'. I'd never before heard of Mr. Ps but quickly found this thread and, so challenged, finally tried it today. But it wasn't easy.

A sucky Saturday afternoon is when you drive across town to get some ribs and then find that Mr. P's is not open. The school bus and smoker where both there, so I feel like I caught them on a day off rather than a permanent closure.

Even worse than your sucky Saturday two years ago were my Friday and Saturday this weekend. Friday, we tried in vain to find it (more on that below) for lunch and finally checked the dreaded other bigger site where there was a phone number. I called, undoubtedly Mr P's mobile and he kindly told me at around 2pm that he didn't open at 11 as advertised because it had rained yesterday morning. Well, alrighty then. Can't get too frustrated with Mr P and the misfire would give me a chance to get better coordinates for a re-attempt today. When we arrived at the bus today at around 11:45, Mr P & Co were there but not open. Something wrong with the grill or other piece of equipment and they were working to fix it. Ribs were rotating in the trailer smoker though and, at 12:30 or so, we finally were treated to the famed Mr P pork ribs.

These are the best ribs in DC. Not as good as KBQ in Bowie FWIW. As others upthread have reported, they are pretty big and meaty, very good moisture, stay on the bone yet give easily. All true. I'd disagree with the smokiness praise though. Didn't get a lot of smoke flavor in ours but, given the notorious challenge of consistency in BBQ, that may have been related to the equipment malfunction. Sides of baked beans and greens were pretty good and very ordinary, respectively. We'd come prepared with our own drinks based on a post somewhere but saw that Mr P is now selling basic canned beverages.

The only real competition within the District is Rocklands. And, it's really not an apples-to-apples comparison because Rocklands does baby backs and is an every day, brick and mortar joint whereas Mr. P is just Fri-Sunday, kind of, per the above and serves decidedly non-baby, big ass pork ribs. But, Mr. P clearly puts out some good pork ribs. Chatted with another person on the queue who told me his "wife did the research" and the ribs were "life changing" and he goes to Mr P's every week. Life changing? Every week?!?! Must have been a yelper. The ribs were good. But they weren't that good today. So, I give them the nod over Rocklands with all the attendant asterisks.

One final food-related tip. You might want to bring your own sauce if you try this. The sauce is really a weak point and tastes mostly of ketchup. The ribs reheat well though so can also just bring a rack home and then use better sauce. If you get them on a day with low smokiness, the sauce will be more important.

He's in a parking lot on Rhode Island Avenue just south of (and on the opposite side of RI Ave. from) the Rhode Island Ave. metro station / Home Depot complex. It's difficult to see from the street, unfortunately, because the parking lot is elevated...you need to turn into it, then go up a steep driveway, to get to the lot.

Hopefully this convoluted explanation didn't make it more difficult to find... blink.gif

Click here for a view from the street...he's up in the parking lot you see at the top.

With big respect and appreciation to Rhone1998, the above directions didn't work for us at all. On Friday, we headed for the RI metro/Home Depot and then tried virtually every parking lot around it with no luck. Here are the directions you need:

First the address (from that "other" site filled with gibberish but generally good location info):

514 Rhode Island Ave NE

(at N 5th St)

Washington, DC 20002

Neighborhood: Brentwood

Beyond that, as you head east on Rhode Island and get to/through the traffic light at 4th. Look left and you'll see the huge Forman Mills store up above. Make the left as if you're going to that store and when you get to the top and enter the parking lot, Mr P's buses and smoker trailer are right there. Forget about Home Depot.

A couple of last logistical notes.

This is totally worth doing if you're a bit (or more) obsessive about 'Q. The whole setup, from the genuinely gracious southern hospitality and big, excellent ribs to the venue in that parking lot, the bus itself and the styrofoam on which everything is served, recall an earlier era for this city. But, really do it as soon as possible because:

- Mr P is 75 and has no succession plan. As Tim Carman reported a couple of years ago, his children want no part of this.

- One of his partners-in-crime, a wonderful woman whose name I've forgotten but which begins with a "B", told me today that Mr P is "moving to North Carolina" with no specific timeframe but sounded fairly imminent

- Mr P himself asked me "don't you think 75 is old enough to retire?" I had to agree it was and just felt a bit lucky to have gotten a chance to meet him and try his ribs. He and his two main partners are wonderful people. The trip was worthwhile just to see it and meet them.

- Mr P has campaigned a bit (as much as a 75 year old operating a bbq joint out of a school bus campaigns) to get the Obamas to the bus. I don't know if that'll happen but I'm guessing probably not. Safe to say if it does though, it's lights out so go soon!

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I recently wrote a post on the Hill Country thread lamenting what I'd had there and reproclaiming Rocklands best of DC. Someone else who posts here very regularly pinged me to say 'whoa--careful about that proclamation before trying Mr P's'. I'd never before heard of Mr. Ps but quickly found this thread and, so challenged, finally tried it today. But it wasn't easy.

Even worse than your sucky Saturday two years ago were my Friday and Saturday this weekend. Friday, we tried in vain to find it (more on that below) for lunch and finally checked the dreaded other bigger site where there was a phone number. I called, undoubtedly Mr P's mobile and he kindly told me at around 2pm that he didn't open at 11 as advertised because it had rained yesterday morning. Well, alrighty then. Can't get too frustrated with Mr P and the misfire would give me a chance to get better coordinates for a re-attempt today. When we arrived at the bus today at around 11:45, Mr P & Co were there but not open. Something wrong with the grill or other piece of equipment and they were working to fix it. Ribs were rotating in the trailer smoker though and, at 12:30 or so, we finally were treated to the famed Mr P pork ribs.

These are the best ribs in DC. Not as good as KBQ in Bowie FWIW. As others upthread have reported, they are pretty big and meaty, very good moisture, stay on the bone yet give easily. All true. I'd disagree with the smokiness praise though. Didn't get a lot of smoke flavor in ours but, given the notorious challenge of consistency in BBQ, that may have been related to the equipment malfunction. Sides of baked beans and greens were pretty good and very ordinary, respectively. We'd come prepared with our own drinks based on a post somewhere but saw that Mr P is now selling basic canned beverages.

The only real competition within the District is Rocklands. And, it's really not an apples-to-apples comparison because Rocklands does baby backs and is an every day, brick and mortar joint whereas Mr. P is just Fri-Sunday, kind of, per the above. But, Mr. P clearly puts out some good pork ribs. Chatted with another person online who told me his "wife did the research" and the ribs were "life changing" and he goes to Mr P's every week. Life changing? Every week?!?! Must have been a yelper. The ribs were good. But they weren't that good today. So, I given them the nod over Rocklands with all the attendant asterisks.

One final food-related tip. You might want to bring your own sauce if you try this. The sauce is really a weak point and tastes mostly of ketchup. The ribs reheat well though so can also just bring a rack home and then use better sauce. If you get them on a day with low smokiness, the sauce will be more important.

With big respect and appreciation to Rhone1998, the above directions didn't work for us at all. On Friday, we headed for the RI metro/Home Depot and then tried virtually every parking lot around it with no luck. Here are the directions you need:

First the address (from that "other" site filled with gibberish but generally good location info):

514 Rhode Island Ave NE

(at N 5th St)

Washington, DC 20002

Neighborhood: Brentwood

Beyond that, as you head east on Rhode Island and get to/through the traffic light at 4th. Look left and you'll see the huge Forman Mills store up above. Make the left as if you're going to that store and when you get to the top and enter the parking lot, Mr P's buses and smoker trailer are right there. Forget about Home Depot.

A couple of last logistical notes.

This is totally worth doing if you're a bit (or more) obsessive about 'Q. The whole setup, from the genuinely gracious southern hospitality and big, excellent ribs to the venue in that parking lot, the bus itself and the styrofoam on which everything is served, recall an earlier era for this city. But, really do it as soon as possible because:

- Mr P is 75 and has no succession plan. As Tim Carman reported a couple of years ago, his children want no part of this.

- One of his partners-in-crime, a wonderful woman whose name I've forgotten but which begins with a "B", told me today that Mr P is "moving to North Carolina" with no specific timeframe but sounded fairly imminent

- Mr P himself asked me "don't you think 75 is old enough to retire?" I had to agree it was and just felt a bit lucky to have gotten a chance to meet him and try his ribs. He and his two main partners are wonderful people. The trip was worthwhile just to see it and meet them.

- Mr P has campaigned a bit (as much as a 75 year old operating a bbq joint out of a school bus campaigns) to get the Obamas to the bus. I don't know if that'll happen but I'm guessing probably not. Safe to say if it does though, it's lights out so go soon!

Damn this is a good post!

And, more importantly, you captured a moment in time that will soon be lost forever.

Thanks for taking the time to write this.

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Damn this is a good post!

And, more importantly, you captured a moment in time that will soon be lost forever.

Thanks for taking the time to write this.

Thanks Don--high praise and you of course captured the big thing about it. The moment in time. The experience. That's reason #1 why dr.com'ers should go.

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I stopped by shortly after 1:30 pm this afternoon and as I pulled up the ramp I saw Mr. P himself and the Preacher Man stepping off the school bus, getting into a car together that looked like a taxi cab, and driving off. Does anyone know if either of them are cab drivers on the side? The kicker was that they were both still wearing their barbecue aprons. Belinda was at the window and I ordered a half rack of pork ribs with cole slaw and beans. It also came with the standard two slices of bread wrapped tight in a clear plastic bag and a can of iced tea. Gotta appreciate the simplicity of not even being asked what you want to drink, she just shoves a can in the bag. I recommend sitting in your car while facing 4th Street so you can experience the great irony of eating that much meat while staring directly at the vegan bakery directly across street at Chez Hareg. And I'd love to catch the faces on the White House pool reporters if the President's motorcade ever did actually show up here on a lunch excursion in between a rundown car wash and a boarded-up decaying building that used to house a Safeway. The experience itself is a must.

The pork ribs I had showed me both ends of the spectrum. I think I had six, and four of them were so rawhide--like that I didn't even want to risk the dental work to try chewing them. The other two were probably the best I've ever had in the area. All of them had very little bone with lots of meat. I agree that it's best to skip the sauce. The beans were just fine, and the cole slaw was great in a strong vinegar base. It's always hit or miss, and the $14 meal can seem expensive considering that only two of the ribs were any good, but it's still a special part of DC culture that I will be sad to see leave this poor lot.

For those looking for family roadside barbecue that might actually continue to the next generation, has anyone ever tried King Ribs on the Wharf? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxacVlFJ_es I can't stand promotional videos, but I'm curious what the food and experience is like.

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Mr P's rib "dinner" with sides of baked beans and greens was a great lunch today, made even better by the fact I sat outside in this amazing weather at the little table they have set up next to the truck. The ribs almost need to be reviewed bite by bite rather than as a whole meal...overall they were good, with some really amazing bites that incorporated perfect crunch and fatty meat at the same time. I should have declined the sauce. The baked beans were too sweet for my taste but they had some nice underlying flavors (garlic for one) and I wound up finishing them all.

A query about Mr. P's potential move to North Carolina was met with a denial and some muttering about "the Internet".

Edited to add: they were also handing out slick business cards, with two phone numbers listed: 202-438-3215, and 202-635-2176.

Edited by Rhone1998
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The ribs almost need to be reviewed bite by bite rather than as a whole meal...overall they were good, with some really amazing bites that incorporated perfect crunch and fatty meat at the same time.

This is a fascinating comment, in the absolute geekiest sort of way.

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I stopped by Mr. P's yesterday for the first time. I had the pork ribs, mac and cheese, and yams.

I think the quote below really hits the nail on the head on the ribs. It can probably be said of most bbq, but seems especially apt for ribs here. In terms of the sides, the mac and cheese was very disappointing, but the yams were very good.

Also, FYI, Mr. P's has now moved to 6th and Rhode Island Ave NW.

The ribs almost need to be reviewed bite by bite rather than as a whole meal...overall they were good, with some really amazing bites that incorporated perfect crunch and fatty meat at the same time. I should have declined the sauce. The baked beans were too sweet for my taste but they had some nice underlying flavors (garlic for one) and I wound u

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I stopped by Mr. P's yesterday for the first time. I had the pork ribs, mac and cheese, and yams.

I think the quote below really hits the nail on the head on the ribs. It can probably be said of most bbq, but seems especially apt for ribs here. In terms of the sides, the mac and cheese was very disappointing, but the yams were very good.

Also, FYI, Mr. P's has now moved to 6th and Rhode Island Ave NW.

We flew by there yesterday to do a Home Depot run and then check out the new Zeke's Coffee well east on Rhode Island.  Didn't even occur to me to make the left turn up into the store's parking lot and see if the bus was still there. I would have assumed he was long gone to North Carolina as he'd told me nearly two years ago.  Aside from the food, how did he seem to be doing?  And, any intel if the move south is on permanent hold?

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The bus is actually still in the NE parking lot though covered with signs redirecting people to the "new" bus at the 6th NW location.

The ribs were definitely good enough that I'll go back given how close it is to my place, and I'll be sure to inquire about the possible move to North Carolina.

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This is incredibly sad. I'll never forget the couple of hours I spent with him (and wrote about here upthread) almost precisely three years ago. That image and experience are indelibly stamped in my memory. Won't ever forget him asking me, with a big smile, whether I thought 75 was "old enough to retire" as he was thinking of returning to North Carolina then. He must be 78 now.

Mr. P and his family are in my family's thoughts. Really sad news.

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Awful news.  Such a nice guy.

I've been hesitating to report Mr. P's closed, but I fear it may be - does anyone know for sure?

Yelp is reporting that it is (and they're often correct), but unless someone actually sees it with their eyes, or knows for sure, I'd prefer to be cautious. A similar thing happend with Pound yesterday (Capitol Hill Corner has since issued a corrected version).

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