Southern Charm and Flavors Steal the Show at Limestone BBQ and Bourbon

The Wilmington joint offers New Castle County something unique: real barbecue and all the fixin's.


Published:

The Philthy Feast: ribs, chicken, brisket, pulled pork and hot Italian sausage.//photo by Joe del Tufo

 

Barbecue as either technique or event tends to rouse strong feelings, including an alpha-dog sense of competition among men whose only universal claim to cooking is a lust to roast meat of any kind over an open flame.

Until barbecue grew in popularity via cooking competitions and television shows, many experienced it mainly in the backyard—and mainly as a much-diminished version of real barbecue, the low and slow process of cooking that renders animal fats into sublime elixirs that tenderize even the least desirable cuts of meat and melts the most ravenous of carnivores into finger-licking kittens.

Before a couple of good spots began opening in farmers markets about 10 years ago, there were too few places to get good barbecue locally beyond a few seasonal roadside stands that limited offerings to chicken and ribs. But those places were enough to give us a real taste. A pioneering full-service restaurant at the beach proved there was an appetite for more, and it has succeeded wildly. Wilmington got its own quick-fix place about four years ago, then, in July, New Castle County got a full-service place of its own, Limestone BBQ and Bourbon, and it is a very fun place, indeed.

Prime Brisket.//Photo by Joe del Tufo

Limestone signifies not only the restaurant’s location, but also the rock that filters groundwater sources for good bourbon—part II of a winning concept: Southern food, Southern drink. This in a state that has straddled the line geographically and somewhat culturally while being denied culinary benefits such as Low Country cooking (though we now enjoy some very good Cajun-creole).

“We do things a little differently here,” said the smiling server who greeted us. She pulled a pair of menus from a holder on the post, then directed us to a cafeteria-style line that fronted an open kitchen. We told the staff what we wanted, then they heaped it onto a tray covered in brown paper for us to slide down to the next stations, where you could choose side dishes and desserts before you paid and proceeded to a table or booth of your own choosing.

The kitchen offers the standards: beef brisket, St. Louis-style pork ribs (an important distinction for rib aficionados), pulled pork, grilled chicken, smoked turkey, sausages and then some. Side dishes include cole slaw, macaroni and cheese, beans, collard greens and potato salad. Order what you like, or try the Philthy Sampler (three meats and three sides) or Philthy Feast (five meats and five sides, which are, of course, meant to be shared). Most meats are available as sandwiches. True to form, plain white bread abounds.

We were seated in a room designed like a roadhouse: big pine posts and beams, wooden rafters (nonstructural) overhead and barn-planked sections of wall. The serving line is overhung with a corrugated steel awning. The rounded backs of the booths look like big bourbon barrels. Wood tables. Mismatched wood Windsor chairs. Big Jim Beam label painted on the wall. Cord wood stacked in a corner near the kitchen. Blues and some Southern rock on the stereo. You get the picture.

We sat at a high communal table smack dab in the middle of the action and watched the Friday night dinner crowd of families and after-work groups file in. Our shared tray between us, my companion—a native South Carolinian who is more than passingly familiar with regional variations of barbecue (South Carolina alone, I learned, has four)—started on his side as I began on mine.

After two bites, he declared, “This brisket is good—really good.”

 

(FROM LEFT): The More Cowbell sandwich; Sliced prime brisket on a Texas-style bun.//photos by Joe del Tufo

 

It was an understatement, which is all you need to know about the food at Limestone BBQ and Bourbon. I—more often than not underwhelmed by overly dry beef—could only agree. It was moist and fork-tender, a pleasant surprise. The ribs were tender and tangy. The pulled pork was as good as one could hope for—and all the more fun thanks to the squeeze bottles of sweet, spicy and tangy barbecue sauces to sample. Anyone loyal to a particular style will find a match.

Our assessment of the side dishes we sampled: equally good. The cole slaw was crispy, cool and zesty. The macaroni and cheese was rich with tangy cheddar. The collard greens had an unexpected sweetness, more sugar than smoky ham that I suspect came from a braise of orange soda, which is about as Southern as you can expect—except for the small styro container of banana pudding we finished with.

By then, a male-female guitar duo had taken the small stage up front and started their set of pop covers. That’s part III of the concept: live music on weekends—and good music at that. We never made it to the bar, which features a wall of top-shelf and small-batch bourbons. That’s OK. Because there’s nothing quite like Limestone in the county—and my jones for ribs can be overpowering at times—there will be plenty more opportunities.


Limestone BBQ and Bourbon: 2062 Limestone Road, Wilmington • 274-2058
Recommended: prime brisket, pulled pork, macaroni and cheese
Prices: sandwiches: $8-$13; smoked and barbecued meats: $8-$14 per pound; samplers: $28 for a serving for two, $60 for four

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Where:
The Lighthouse Inc., Church
6 S Railroad Ave
Wyoming, DE  19934-1026
View map »


Sponsor: The Lighthouse Inc.Church
Telephone: 302-697-1472
Contact Name: Christopher Gore

More information

By Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee  Directed by Sanford Robbins  “It’s not about science versus religion. It is about the right to think.” Inspired by the sensational Scopes “Monkey...

Cost: 15-32

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Telephone: 302-831-2204
Website »

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Epilepsy Foundation of Delaware’s Yara’s Fund supports the emergency medication program.  Individuals with epilepsy, who struggle to pay for their medication can receive assistance...

Cost: NO COST - SHOE DRIVE

Where:
Bear-Glasgow YMCA
351 George Williams Way
Bear, DE  19702
View map »


Sponsor: Kind Girls Rule The World
Telephone: (302) 219-0718
Contact Name: Valerie Nelson
Website »

More information

Jacalyn Beam “A Way of Seeing”  Plein Air landscape paintings from the Brandywine Valley and Delaware beaches. Opening Reception to Meet the Artist - Friday, March 1, 5...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19809
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

CCArts Winter class registrations are open   The Center for the Creative Arts presents its Winter 2019 class and workshop offerings. With over 50 classes and workshops there is...

Cost: 0.00

Where:
410 Upper Snuff Mill Row
410 Upper Snuff Mill Row
Hockessin, DE  19736
View map »


Telephone: 302-239-2434
Contact Name: Nicole Schmid
Website »

More information

From End Caste Apartheid to Smash Brahminical Patriarchy: The Art of Equality Labs February 25 – April 12, 2019 Curated by Thenmozhi Soundararajan Featuring: Khushboo Gulati | Maari...

Cost: 0

Where:
Asian Arts Initiative
1219 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA  19107
View map »


Sponsor: Asian Arts Initiative
Telephone: 215-557-0455
Contact Name: Melissa
Website »

More information

TOTALLY MYTHOLOGICAL Henry Bermudez February 28 - April 25, 2019 Opening Reception: Friday, March 1, 2019 5 - 9 PM | during first Friday Art loop 5:30 - 6:30 PM | Panel discussion,...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 130-265-66466
Website »

More information

TIME STILLED, MY HAIR NARRATIVE A Draper Experiment by Tia Santana March 1 - April 28, 2019 Opening Reception: Friday, March 1 5 - 9 PM during Art Loop The Delaware...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 130-265-66466
Website »

More information

A SENSE OF PLACE 47°-80° N Bethany Springer January 16 - May 12, 2019 Opening Reception: Friday, February 1, 2019 | 5 - 9 PM during Art Loop A Sense of Place 47° - 80°...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 130-265-66466
Website »

More information

NEW HEIGHTS Erica Loustau  January 11 - December 11, 2019 Opening Reception: Friday, January 11, 2019  7 - 9 PM Seeking to engage the unused space of our atrium lobby, artist...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 130-265-66466
Website »

More information

Schedule a private group tour followed by lunch or dinner with a historic, revolutionary war era presentation.* Ideal for conferences, corporate meetings, special interest groups. $25 per...

Cost: $25–$45

Where:
The University and Whist Club
805 N Broom St
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Sponsor: The University and Whist Club
Telephone: 302-658-5125
Contact Name: Stacey Inglis
Website »

More information

ORIGINS Rick Rothrock & Stan Smokler January 8 - April 22, 2019 Special Reception: Friday, January 11, 2019  5:30 - 7:30 PM Artist Talk | 6:30 PM The Delaware Contemporary...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 130-265-66466

More information

The Lighthouse Inc. Church presenta el servicio de la iglesia en espanol.  El servicio de la iglesia en espanol comenzia 14 de merzo de 2019.  Hables espanol?  Entonces este es el...

Cost: free

Where:
The Lighthouse Inc., Church
6 S Railroad Ave
Wyoming, DE  19934-1026
View map »


Sponsor: The Lighthouse Inc.Church
Telephone: 302-697-1472
Contact Name: Christopher Gore

More information

By Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee  Directed by Sanford Robbins  “It’s not about science versus religion. It is about the right to think.” Inspired by the sensational Scopes “Monkey...

Cost: 15-32

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Telephone: 302-831-2204
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

CCArts Winter class registrations are open   The Center for the Creative Arts presents its Winter 2019 class and workshop offerings. With over 50 classes and workshops there is...

Cost: 0.00

Where:
410 Upper Snuff Mill Row
410 Upper Snuff Mill Row
Hockessin, DE  19736
View map »


Telephone: 302-239-2434
Contact Name: Nicole Schmid
Website »

More information

Jacalyn Beam “A Way of Seeing”  Plein Air landscape paintings from the Brandywine Valley and Delaware beaches. Opening Reception to Meet the Artist - Friday, March 1, 5...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19809
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

A SENSE OF PLACE 47°-80° N Bethany Springer January 16 - May 12, 2019 Opening Reception: Friday, February 1, 2019 | 5 - 9 PM during Art Loop A Sense of Place 47° - 80°...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 130-265-66466
Website »

More information

TIME STILLED, MY HAIR NARRATIVE A Draper Experiment by Tia Santana March 1 - April 28, 2019 Opening Reception: Friday, March 1 5 - 9 PM during Art Loop The Delaware...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 130-265-66466
Website »

More information

TOTALLY MYTHOLOGICAL Henry Bermudez February 28 - April 25, 2019 Opening Reception: Friday, March 1, 2019 5 - 9 PM | during first Friday Art loop 5:30 - 6:30 PM | Panel discussion,...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 130-265-66466
Website »

More information

From End Caste Apartheid to Smash Brahminical Patriarchy: The Art of Equality Labs February 25 – April 12, 2019 Curated by Thenmozhi Soundararajan Featuring: Khushboo Gulati | Maari...

Cost: 0

Where:
Asian Arts Initiative
1219 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA  19107
View map »


Sponsor: Asian Arts Initiative
Telephone: 215-557-0455
Contact Name: Melissa
Website »

More information

NEW HEIGHTS Erica Loustau  January 11 - December 11, 2019 Opening Reception: Friday, January 11, 2019  7 - 9 PM Seeking to engage the unused space of our atrium lobby, artist...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 130-265-66466
Website »

More information

Every Friday | 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.   Read a story fromFairy Tales to Nursery Rhymes, explore art, and create. Ages 2+. Family Friendly.  

Cost: Free to Members, $5 per child and one adult free for Non-Members.

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentemere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Website »

More information

Schedule a private group tour followed by lunch or dinner with a historic, revolutionary war era presentation.* Ideal for conferences, corporate meetings, special interest groups. $25 per...

Cost: $25–$45

Where:
The University and Whist Club
805 N Broom St
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Sponsor: The University and Whist Club
Telephone: 302-658-5125
Contact Name: Stacey Inglis
Website »

More information

ORIGINS Rick Rothrock & Stan Smokler January 8 - April 22, 2019 Special Reception: Friday, January 11, 2019  5:30 - 7:30 PM Artist Talk | 6:30 PM The Delaware Contemporary...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 130-265-66466

More information

The Lighthouse Inc. Church presenta el servicio de la iglesia en espanol.  El servicio de la iglesia en espanol comenzia 14 de merzo de 2019.  Hables espanol?  Entonces este es el...

Cost: free

Where:
The Lighthouse Inc., Church
6 S Railroad Ave
Wyoming, DE  19934-1026
View map »


Sponsor: The Lighthouse Inc.Church
Telephone: 302-697-1472
Contact Name: Christopher Gore

More information

Chadds Ford Elementary welcomes over 65 local and regional artists for the 70th Annual Art Sale & Show on March 22-23, 2019. Artists display and sell their art in an array...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Chadds Ford Elementary School
3 Baltimore Pike
Chadds Ford, PA  19317
View map »


Sponsor: Chadds Ford Elementary PTO
Contact Name: Kara Hyman
Website »

More information

By Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee  Directed by Sanford Robbins  “It’s not about science versus religion. It is about the right to think.” Inspired by the sensational Scopes “Monkey...

Cost: 15-32

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Telephone: 302-831-2204
Website »

More information

Poisoned apples. Glass slippers. Who needs ’em?! Not Snow White and her posse of disenchanted princesses in the hilarious hit musical that’s anything but Grimm. Forget the princesses...

Cost: $10 - $25

Where:
Bootless Stageworks
1301 N. Broom Street
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Telephone: 130-288-79300
Contact Name: Box Office
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Jacalyn Beam “A Way of Seeing”  Plein Air landscape paintings from the Brandywine Valley and Delaware beaches. Opening Reception to Meet the Artist - Friday, March 1, 5...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19809
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

CCArts Winter class registrations are open   The Center for the Creative Arts presents its Winter 2019 class and workshop offerings. With over 50 classes and workshops there is...

Cost: 0.00

Where:
410 Upper Snuff Mill Row
410 Upper Snuff Mill Row
Hockessin, DE  19736
View map »


Telephone: 302-239-2434
Contact Name: Nicole Schmid
Website »

More information

TOTALLY MYTHOLOGICAL Henry Bermudez February 28 - April 25, 2019 Opening Reception: Friday, March 1, 2019 5 - 9 PM | during first Friday Art loop 5:30 - 6:30 PM | Panel discussion,...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 130-265-66466
Website »

More information

TIME STILLED, MY HAIR NARRATIVE A Draper Experiment by Tia Santana March 1 - April 28, 2019 Opening Reception: Friday, March 1 5 - 9 PM during Art Loop The Delaware...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 130-265-66466
Website »

More information

A SENSE OF PLACE 47°-80° N Bethany Springer January 16 - May 12, 2019 Opening Reception: Friday, February 1, 2019 | 5 - 9 PM during Art Loop A Sense of Place 47° - 80°...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 130-265-66466
Website »

More information

Delaware & Pennsylvania Home Owners Thinking of selling your home? Whether you're just considering selling or have already started to prepare, our experts will walk you through...

Cost: FREE

Where:
INDEPENDENCE MALL
1601 Concord Pike, Suite 88
Wilmington, DE  19803
View map »


Sponsor: The Kat Geralis Home Team
Telephone: 302-575-1080
Contact Name: April Griffith
Website »

More information

NEW HEIGHTS Erica Loustau  January 11 - December 11, 2019 Opening Reception: Friday, January 11, 2019  7 - 9 PM Seeking to engage the unused space of our atrium lobby, artist...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 130-265-66466
Website »

More information

Schedule a private group tour followed by lunch or dinner with a historic, revolutionary war era presentation.* Ideal for conferences, corporate meetings, special interest groups. $25 per...

Cost: $25–$45

Where:
The University and Whist Club
805 N Broom St
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Sponsor: The University and Whist Club
Telephone: 302-658-5125
Contact Name: Stacey Inglis
Website »

More information

Keeper Talks, 11:30am & 1:30pm, www.brandywinezoo.org (302) 571-7747 Join our keepers for daily talks about the animals here in the Zoo. Topics and animals change daily, so there’s always...

Cost: Adults $ 5, Seniors $4, Kids $3; free for under 3yrs and for members.

Where:
Brandywine Zoo
1001 North Park Drive
Wilmington, DE  19802
View map »


Website »

More information

ORIGINS Rick Rothrock & Stan Smokler January 8 - April 22, 2019 Special Reception: Friday, January 11, 2019  5:30 - 7:30 PM Artist Talk | 6:30 PM The Delaware Contemporary...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 130-265-66466

More information

Meet Marilyn A. Bauman, author of Edward L. Loper Sr., The Prophet of Color.     Image:Old Farm,1954. Edward Loper Sr. (1916–2011). Oil on canvas, 18 × 22...

Cost: Free with Museum admission.

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Website »

More information

ART & SOUL ART AUCTION AND CONTEMPORARY AFFAIR Saturday, March 23, 2019 7 - 10 PM VIP Pre-Party | 6 - 7 Celebrate our 40th anniversary at this glamorous event inspired by the...

Cost: $80 - $250

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 130-265-66466
Website »

More information

Chadds Ford Elementary welcomes over 65 local and regional artists for the 70th Annual Art Sale & Show on March 22-23, 2019. Artists display and sell their art in an array...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Chadds Ford Elementary School
3 Baltimore Pike
Chadds Ford, PA  19317
View map »


Sponsor: Chadds Ford Elementary PTO
Contact Name: Kara Hyman
Website »

More information

The Lighthouse Inc. Church presenta el servicio de la iglesia en espanol.  El servicio de la iglesia en espanol comenzia 14 de merzo de 2019.  Hables espanol?  Entonces este es el...

Cost: free

Where:
The Lighthouse Inc., Church
6 S Railroad Ave
Wyoming, DE  19934-1026
View map »


Sponsor: The Lighthouse Inc.Church
Telephone: 302-697-1472
Contact Name: Christopher Gore

More information

By Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee  Directed by Sanford Robbins  “It’s not about science versus religion. It is about the right to think.” Inspired by the sensational Scopes “Monkey...

Cost: 15-32

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Telephone: 302-831-2204
Website »

More information

Poisoned apples. Glass slippers. Who needs ’em?! Not Snow White and her posse of disenchanted princesses in the hilarious hit musical that’s anything but Grimm. Forget the princesses...

Cost: $10 - $25

Where:
Bootless Stageworks
1301 N. Broom Street
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Telephone: 130-288-79300
Contact Name: Box Office
Website »

More information

Sal "The Voice" Valentinetti comes to The Event Center at SugarHouse Casino on Saturday, March 23, at 8 p.m. Tickets go on sale Friday, Jan. 11, and cost $29 to $49.

Cost: $29-49

Where:
SugarHouse Casino
1001 N. Delaware Ave
Philadelphia, PA  19125
View map »


Website »

More information

The concerto grosso, one of the high baroque’s most varied and conversational forms, pivots on dialogue between an orchestra and groups of soloists. We perform masterpieces of the genre by...

Cost: $25-39

Where:
Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral
23 S. 38th St.
Philadelphia, PA  19104
View map »


Sponsor: Tempesta di Mare
Telephone: 215-755-8776
Contact Name: Ulrike Shapiro
Website »

More information

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