Robbie Richter and Hill Country Part WaysIt’s a sad day for New York barbecue: Hill Country and pitmaster Robbie Richter have parted ways, a mutual decision both sides say was amicable. Richter, whose salt-and-pepper-powered Texas-style barbecue has been a huge critical success, says “there are new barbecue horizons, new directions, a world of flavors and techniques that I need to start exploring.” What might those be? Richter won’t say – yet. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Hill Country owner Marc Glosserman calls Richter “a passionate cook and a great champion of barbecue.” Pitmaster duties will be taken over by Pete Daversa, a Blue Smoke veteran who’s been running basic barbecue operations under Richter since Hill Country opened.
Related: The Mystery of the Pitmasters Stymies the ‘Times’
Hill Country to Challenge Blue Smoke, RUB on Their Own TurfHill Country BBQ, we’ve learned from owner Mark Glosserman, has officially signed its lease and begun construction at 30 West 26th Street, just a few blocks from Blue Smoke and RUB . Isn’t it bad medicine to open so close to a pair of established, busy barbecues? Says Glosserman: “It’s a great spot, and the price was right, and we’re in a big office building, so there will be a lot of traffic even though it’s a side street. We have a lot of faith in our product.” No doubt. But we actually like Hill Country’s chances. New Yorkers have shown a willingness to go the extra mile to eat great barbecue: Daisy May’s BBQ sat on a desolate stretch of Eleventh Avenue and didn’t even have tables; RUB ran out of meat every night; Blue Smoke barely had any smoke flavor during its first year, as a result of chimney malfunction. Glosserman hired the best barbecue cooker in the city, Robert Richter. If Hill Country delivers the goods, New Yorkers will support it … right?