Pulled pork, brisket, macaroni and cheese, spinach casserole, corn salad, and pork ribs at Fainmous BBQ.

If you're considering visiting a restaurant, bar, or other food and drink establishment during the COVID-19 pandemic, remember to keep a safe distance from others (at least six feet), wash hands frequently, and if possible, wear a mask.

Meyerland and Westbury residents already know all about Fainmous BBQ. For more than eight years, James and Karen Fain had been serving up their particular brand of barbecue in a busy shopping center by the intersection of W. Bellfort Avenue and S. Post Oak Road. 

But last year the Fains announced they were moving to Sawyer Yards, where they'd be joining a fast-growing arts, entertainment, hospitality, and retail area, and likely adding a whole new cohort of customers. Their new place officially opened last Monday at 1201 Oliver St., right next to Urban South HTX Brewery, and in the same plaza as both City Orchard Cidery and Urban Axes. Based on the quality of their grub, Fainmous should get a good walk-up crowd, especially on weekends.

The Fains, originally from Knoxville, Tenn., specialize in East Tennessee-style barbecue, a region that encompasses their native Knoxville through the Appalachian mountains to the North Carolina border.

East Tennessee style means an emphasis on pork meat rather than beef, with smoked pork shoulder getting particular attention. Pulled pork is a big deal in this region's barbecue culture, so you can't go wrong with ordering some up for yourself when you make your first visit.  Top it with a thick helping of sweet, tomato-rich barbecue sauce. Pork ribs are also popular, and the sides have to stand up to the big and bold flavors of the 'cue and sauce.The juicy pulled pork would be great in any form. You'll want some of the barbecue sauce on the side, and either mild or hot is fine, though the hot with chiles is a nice adventure (it won't burn your mouth). The ribs might be even better than the pulled pork, fall-off-the-bone-tender with a nicely crispy bark and well established smoke ring. Fainmous features the pulled pork and pork ribs that go with their native style of 'cue, but they also offer sausage, pulled chicken, chicken wings and—because we're in Texas after all—brisket.

When you're choosing what you'll have, it's all the pretty standard barbecue joint options. Fainmous gives you a few options for getting that meat, including the usual one-, two-, and three-meat plates with two sides each $14, $16, $19 respectively); by the pound (brisket is $22 for now); and sandwiches ($12 for a brisket sandwich, $11 for ribs and pulled pork, $10 for sausage and pulled chicken).

Sides include the usual fare like baked beans and green beans, potato salad and macaroni and cheese, but be sure to order the luxuriously creamy spinach casserole with fried onions atop for crunchy texture. Also, the cool and peppery corn salad is a fine contrast to the fatty meat.

There are sweets (cobbler, sweet potato pie, cheesecake bars), tacos, baked potatoes, and regular weekday entree specials like lasagna and chili, so there's plenty more to explore, but it'll be hard to come to Fainmous and not get those ribs every time.

The new spot has several tables and booths for dining in, and the high ceiling, pendant lighting, and white paint job make this one of the chicest barbecue joints in town. For those who want the al fresco option—popular right now due to COVID-19 concerns—there are a few picnic tables outside reserved for both Fainmous customers and those getting beer from Urban South HTX. Either way there's much to admire here, from delectable ribs to this new trendy spot that's sure to bring this family barbecue establishment a lot more fans.

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