Mike Malbon Brings His Dad’s Virginia Barbecue to the Lower East Side


Mike Malbon isn’t just the owner of Frank’s Chop Shop — he’s also the son of Mike Malbon Sr., founder of longtime Virginia Beach favorite Malbon Bros. BBQ. This Spring he’ll bring his dad’s pulled-pork sandwiches, brisket, and sauces to the big city via the Hester Street Fair. According to the fair’s Facebook page, Luke’s Lobster and An Choi have joined the previously announced vendors, but Malbon’s project may be the most exciting, if only because he tells us he wants to “let the north known what’s going on down south” (he’s convinced, you see, that “there’s no good barbecue from where I’m from up in New York”).

So what are the Malbon Bros. selling points? Well, aside from the fact that it’s located in a gas station (much like Kansas City favorite Oklahoma Joe’s), it’s one of the area’s few barbecue joints that’s more influenced by Memphis barbecue. Mike Sr. tells us his pork isn’t heavily smoked— it’s merely slow-cooked at 200 degrees for ten or twelve hours, until it’s extremely tender. Then it’s topped with either a ketchup-based, Memphis-style sauce (named Billy’s, after Malbon Sr.’s dad) or a vinegar-based, Carolina-style sauce (named Tilly’s, after his mom). To make sure he does his pop proud, Mike Jr. is importing his cousin (who does a good deal of the cooking at the restaurant) to man the cooker, and if everything goes well, he might just consider opening a restaurant here, or at least distributing the sauces locally.

Finger lickin’ starts April 24.