By Jessica Isaacs
If you’re looking for a good time this weekend (or any weekend, for that matter), you ought to sit for a spell at Carolina BBQ in Newland, where the food is great, the people are friendly and there’s always music in the air.
Owners Dave and Jennette Calvert strive to offer their customers not only the best barbecue in town, but also welcoming atmosphere that makes folks from all walks of life feel right at home.
The restaurant, which has been serving up food and fun from the same location on Pineola Street for the past 13 years, is a popular spot for locals and travelers alike. Its menu boasts crowd favorites like the Calvert’s signature chopped pork barbecue, critically acclaimed ribs and buttermilk chicken tenders that you just can’t beat.
Carolina BBQ is a family oriented business in more ways than one. Stop by to eat and you’ll find several members of the Calvert family at work, as well as longtime employees have become part of the Calvert clan, too.
“There are ties and commitments here that you don’t see in a lot of work atmospheres. We love our folks and our girls and guys here are part of our extended family,” Dave said. “I have walked some of our girls down the aisle, and we’ve had several employees who have grown up, had kids of their own and come back to work here again.”
You’ll also find that they’ll treat you like family, too.
“The customer is always number one. We treat our people like family and we expect them to treat our guests in the same manner,” he said. “I think that’s what has helped us to be successful in this business.”
Dave, who left the corporate world for the restaurant industry, said their customers can always count on the team’s consistent effort to offer a great experience and improve in every aspect of what they do.
“Quality, service and cleanliness. You can talk it, but you have to deliver it,” he said. “We’re not perfect, but we strive to be. There’s a plaque on our wall that says, ‘the key to success is find a way to do something right and do it right every time.’
“I heard a quote once from Vince Lombardi. He said perfection is impossible; however, if you strive for perfection, you will find excellence. I believe that, and it’s made us who we are today.”
The Calverts recently added beer and wine selections to their menu, which pair perfectly with the food and the live music they offer every weekend.
The tunes typically kick off around 6 p.m. on Friday nights with bluegrass music, and around 5 p.m. on Saturday nights with performers from various genres.
“It’s very much family oriented. A lot of our loyals come on Friday night because they love the bluegrass and they love to dance,” said Jennette. “We dance with them and we have a lot of fun here.”
Dave plays with his own popular local group, the Dave Calvert Collective, and occasionally takes the stage in the restaurant to pick a tune with the featured act.
“Music is something that I always enjoyed as a kid, and it’s an outlet for me,” he said. “I like to entertain.”
Whatever day you choose to go, you’ll enjoy a down home good time that you won’t find in many places; but if you’re there on Friday night, you might even catch Dave’s favorite part of the week.
“It’s nice to know that this is home. This is Avery County. It draws people in,” said Jennette. “It’s just really fun, and Dave likes to do his joke of the night on Fridays. The people wait for him to come out, and if he’s not here then our son Elijah, who is 10, will tell a joke.”
If you’re still making plans for your Friday night fun this week, head over to Newland and say hello to the Calvert crew at Carolina BBQ, and you’ll be glad you did.
“I absolutely love what I do,” Dave said. “I couldn’t do anything else that I would like more than this.”
Carolina BBQ is located at 500 Pineola Street in Newland.
For more information, give them a call at 828-737-0700 or visit carolinabbqnewland.com.
August Live Music at Carolina BBQ:
Fri. Aug. 19: Herman Coffee and Bluegrass Trad.
Sat. Aug. 20: Vintage
Fri. Aug. 26: Tru Blu
Sat. Aug. 27: Elvis and Dolly with John and Carrie