The Hillcrest location has been closed for some time now so they could concentrate on the Sports Arena location, which is much larger, but lacks some of the soul of the original. Now, I don't want to make you think the new location isn't worth checking out, because it is...but it's definitely more commercial than the Hillcrest rib joint that we first happened upon all those years ago.
Phil's makes both flavors of ribs: pork and beef. The pork ribs are a favorite around our house..tender and flavorful. The beef ribs are immense, and have a nice smoky char, but they're too much for us! Phil's has an award winning sauce, which a lot of people love and come back for time and again...but I always say to really test the mettle of any rib joint, you need to taste the meat "dry"...therein lies the rub. Rub, get it? ha ha. I've tasted them just this way at Phil's, and they stood up to my finicky palate and passed with flying colors.
If you're not in the mood for ribs, you certainly have other choices. There is mesquite chicken, for one. There are the ribless and chickless dinners, which are basically like getting a rib or chicken dinner without the troublesome bones involved in the process. Chunks of pork or white meat chicken with Phil's famous sauce, served with a choice of sides. And there's also the BBQ Broham...a tangy pulled pork sandwich, served with the traditional cole slaw, on a soft, tasty bun. Personally, I order the slaw on the side...but I do see plenty of people eating it as is. Me, I like to top it with the baked beans! Yummy! They also have burgers (beef or turkey), and a tri-tip sandwich, which I've never tried, but have been told is delicious. There's even a veggie burger for any vegetarians that happen to come along with you!
Sides are what you'd expect: corn, baked beans, potato salad, macaroni salad, steamed veggies, baked potato, fries & rings. The onion rings are nothing short of phemonenal! Battered and fried to crisp perfection, they are both hearty and light and make the perfect accompaniment to all that tangy sauce. And they're not kidding when they call 'em colossal!
The new Phil's has plasma tv's and a fast hectic pace. They used to let you phone in orders to dine in, but have since stopped doing so. The lines can get long! Be prepared to spend some time, especially if you head over on a weekend night! Of course, you *could* phone in an order to go, and then "change your mind"! But I'm not advocating that, of course. :-)
Only time will tell if the original location will re-open, but in the meantime, head over to:
3750 Sports Arena Blvd, San Diego, 92110.