Creation can be initiated by diverse sources: Ideas, individuals, locations or a vague, visceral instinct or presence demanding progression.
[Author’s Pause: The latter is not a reference to any form of apparition or Linda Blair-ish, soul-possessing activity. It is the inner self. Buddhist stuff.]
For Eric Rifkin, owner and chef of Bobbique, the catalyst for his Patchogue-based presentation of barbecue, beer and blues was Memphis, Tennessee.
“My cousin lived in Memphis, so I would visit him and just love to walk on Beale Street,” says Rifkin, who opened Bobbique in 2006. “Every place had culture with great food, quality beer and live music. I wanted to create something similar in Patchogue.”
Rifkin, who developed his culinary interest as an adolescent caddy at The Concord Resort & Golf Club in Monticello (“I was tossed in the kitchen on a rainy day,” he laughs), aspires to provide Long Island with a slow-smoked, Memphis-legitimate menu of authentic pit barbecue. This includes brisket, ribs and hand-pulled pork and chicken dry-rubbed using Bobbique’s house-made seasoning, and wood-smoked until a pinkish-hued ring (indicates proper preparation of smoked meats) appears beneath the surface.
This does not include attempts at imitation.
“The best thing is when customers ask me for a second Wet-Nap because of our sauce, which is made in-house,” says Rifkin, whose resume includes stints at NYC’s An American Place, City Crab and Seafood Company, Halcyon and Lobster Club. “I would feel like a sellout serving nachos and quesadillas. You won’t find that stuff here.”
“Here,” according to Rifkin, encompasses more than his menu. During location searches for Bobbique (named after his daughter Bobbi), Patchogue and its quality-first ethos was an instant attraction.
“Patchogue has a rich soul,” he says. “The town has Blue Point Brewing Company and a flourishing music and art scene. When I found a building with a stage, I knew it was a perfect fit.”
It is quite acceptable to lick one’s fingers following the consumption of culture.
Pulled Pork Sandwich: Smoked for 10-14 hours on four varieties of Northeast wood (apple, cherry, maple and oak) and tossed in house-made barbecue sauce, Rifkin’s pulled pork sandwich is “not reinventing the wheel,” he says, “but because it’s hand-pulled and created with care, customers can definitely recognize the quality.” Served with coleslaw.