In my day job as a residential contractor, I had been working near the Historic Avondale District in Jacksonville for the last half of the year. On days when the wind was right, we would often catch a whiff of lunch cooking at one of the many restaurants that line Riverside Avenue. Sometimes it was the sweet scent of smoking wood that teased our nostrils. I knew it came from Mojo #4, and one sunny Friday made a point to stop in for lunch. Like most establishments in the area, the facade of the restaurant is simple and straightforward, but it does include a covered outdoor dining area. We opted to sit inside, which by contrast was dark and noisy. A full bar lines one wall of the big dining room, but there are also a good number of regular tables throughout.
"Urban barbecue" refers more to the atmosphere of the restaurant than the style of cooking. The inside feels a little like a blues club, and tables are served by waiters. Although the menu has many southern/soul options besides barbecue, I wasn't too disappointed in ordering the North Carolina pork and dry rubbed spareribs.
It seemed like both meats spent a little time on a smoker but were finished in an oven. The pork was chopped fine and covered in the traditional vinegar and black pepper sauce, which was good but it overpowered any smokiness of the meat. The ribs were tender, and the well flavored rub took on a little smoke though the meat didn't get much. Sides of baked beans and macaroni and cheese were generously sized and both top notch. Along with a drink this lunch was over $12. It was worth the splurge once, and good enough I would probably return if it wasn't so loud. Overall the food was good quality, but you can probably find more authentic barbecue for less somewhere else.
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