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Craig Blondis opened Central BBQ with partner Roger Sapp in 2002. Their goal was to turn Memphis on to the “competition style” they’d been perfecting on the barbecue circuit since the early 1980s.
Central really does give the people what they want, a little bit of everything: ribs, pork, beef, pork rinds, bbq nachos. Add to the expansive menu, four sauces, a couple—vinegar and mustard—not commonly found in these parts.
Still a barbecue competitor, Craig Blondis is as serious as one can get concerning smoked meats. But Central BBQ doesn’t take itself too seriously. Memphisonians—often barbecue traditionalists—are coaxed to try the ‘new’ sauces. The tie-dyed garbed employees are all called “hippies.” And Blondis’ voice can be often heard shouting spiritedly above the cacophony that is Central BBQ; he always seems to be having the most fun of all.