Big Lou Elrose, formerly of Hill Country and Wildwood BBQ, is making a triumphant return to the NYC barbecue scene as pitmaster at Sammy's House of BBQ. The restaurant, named after owner Sammy Benmoha, opens today on West 44th Street in the space that last housed Angus’ Cafe Bistro. The menu is a pan regional affair drawing upon several barbecue traditions — Texas-style brisket, St. Louis ribs, et. al — as well as related comfort foods like chicken wings and tacos. The three story space was designed by Ray Trosa of Sir Décor Designs and intended to evoke an American roadhouse with copious amounts of reclaimed barn wood, corrugated tin and subway tiling. There are also Edison bulb throughout.
Big Lou Elrose is a retired NYPD police officer who took up barbecue as a hobby. After several wins in barbecue competitions he took up smoking professionally as the deputy pitmaster at Hill Country with Robbie Richter when the restaurant launched in 2007. He soon decamped to Wildwood BBQ where he served as pitmaster during Steve Hanson's era at BR Guest. Wildwood closed in 2014. If you visit Sammy's, do let us know what you think.