Roscoe's BBQ offers authentic pit barbecue — and what could say the real thing more than a plate of chicken or ribs smothered in a tasty sauce and served with cornbread, beans and a roll of paper towels?

Roscoe's BBQ offers authentic pit barbecue — and what could say the real thing more than a plate of chicken or ribs smothered in a tasty sauce and served with cornbread, beans and a roll of paper towels?

The free-standing dispensers of paper towels at each table were the first thing my spousal equivalent and I noticed when we entered the restaurant.

It made me glad that I wasn't wearing a white shirt. But our waitress' warm welcome, the seating at a tidy table near a fireplace and the mouth-watering aroma permeating the eatery dispelled any early concerns about the food.

Along with chicken and pork ribs, Roscoe's menu offers beef brisket, pulled pork, hot links and gumbo. There's also the Catfish Plate.

I've been told that the catfish at Roscoe's is as near to Southern-style cooking as you can get in this part of the country. I've never eaten catfish, and I was too chicken — pardon the pun — to try it this time.

I settled on the Brisket Plate, and, since there were no cheeseburgers on the menu, my spousal equivalent ordered the next best thing — the Ribs and Chicken Plate. We wanted to sample the gumbo, but we were told that the kitchen had run out of it for the evening. Our waitress described it as a very spicy dish with crawfish, hot links, chicken and rice.

So for a starter we tried the deep-fried zucchini fingers. They were served immediately, piping hot and accompanied by ice cold ranch dressing. They were ok. A little overcooked for my taste. There are also onion rings and curly fries on the menu.

Our plates of barbecue came out of the kitchen nearly as quickly as the appetizer. The plates are served with cornbread and two side choices that include potato salad, macaroni salad, baked beans and cole slaw. We mixed it up and tried one of each. The salads and beans were good but I thought they tasted like something you could get from the Reser's case at the grocery store.

But the barbecue outshone any picky notions that I have about appetizers or salads.

The brisket was lean and tender enough to cut with a fork. The chicken and the pork ribs also were cooked to perfection and covered with generous dollops of flavorful barbecue sauce.

I got one delicate bite of my spousal equivalent's chicken before he slipped off into his personal Neverland to consume his meal.

There are two dessert choices on Roscoe's menu, the Sweet Potato Pie and the Buttermilk Sky Pie. Since the kitchen was out of the Sweet Potato Pie, we went with the Sky Pie. It was made with buttermilk custard baked into a flour pastry. It was rich and decadent and topped with whipped cream. It hit the spot after those zesty meals.

With two dinners, an appetizer, dessert and a couple of drinks, the bill came to just $35. A pretty good deal for that much food. And, if you're feeding a family, there's a dinner for four on the menu that includes chicken, ribs, brisket and hot links for $35. There's also a sampler platter that our waitress described as plenty of food for two people.

The restaurant has a full bar, a couple of wines by the glass and some domestic beers and micro ales.

The owners of Roscoe's have done a nice job renovating the building that housed Hog Heaven to use for their restaurant.

The place has a homey, roadhouse atmosphere with a stage and dance floor and provides live blues, jazz or rock music every Friday night. We dined at Roscoe's on a Saturday night and missed the music, but we're looking forward to visiting the restaurant again for live music and more great barbecue.

— Laurie Heuston