One of the best BBQ joints in town for ages has been Full Moon. From its beginnings in the 1980’s with a single location Downtown/Southside (pictured), when it used to be owned by Pat James, this locally-owned small chain continues to grow around town and with franchises in other states. But I am wondering if Full Moon hasn’t taken its eye off the ball or in their case, watching the football too much.
Last week my visit to the Hoover location was disappointing, just like the one a month or two before. On the upside the sandwich and fries, along with the grilled cheese my daughter had, were fresh, but there was not a bit of salt on the fries (and we all know you can’t make salt stick to fries once they’ve cooled off the least little bit) while one of the slices of BBQ was an extremely tough outside piece that was impossible to chew. The time before the food was good, but you couldn’t hear yourself think with both the radio and the multiple televisions blaring at the same time.
If Full Moon put as much work into its food as it does with its collection of sports memorabilia, or the recent renovation of the Hoover location, I can’t help but think the food would be better. While the sports theme originated with Pat James, former University of Alabama player and assistant coach, when he opened his single location Downtown, it now seems to be a little overboard. The place looks like a sports bar, minus the bar, and is complete with televisions everywhere you turn.
I hope Full Moon doesn’t go the route a rather still popular sports bar did years ago. In the early 1990’s this place served good and basic wings, burgers and the like, amid a few televisions and a few memories of Alabama football, but then it grew. As it expanded to include bigger locations, it was never the same. More money was put into the atmosphere making it almost like being in the middle of a sporting event, with the quality of good going down each time I visited until I finally threw in the towel.
The most interesting thing I noticed about Full Moon’s Hoover location when I visited the other night was just how few people were there, compared to Jim N’ Nicks, also located in Hoover off Hwy. 31. Full Moon was half-full at best and is only half the size of Jim ‘N Nicks, which, as usual, was completely running over with cars parked on the grass and the nearby service road.
If I want a museum with my food I will go to something at the Birmingham Museum of Art or the nearest Hard Rock Café. BBQ isn’t about atmosphere -- it’s about a carnivorous delight and the sauce that goes with it.