By Wally Kennedy
Globe Staff Writer
JOPLIN, Mo. —
When I was a boy, my dad took me to a real sawmill. The round blade, which was quite large, was powered by a belt-driven motor. It ripped through most of the wood with ease, but some pieces were hard and tough to cut.
I’m using this memory as a way to introduce the latest eatery in Joplin’s competitive barbecue market. It’s Sawmill BBQ at 612 S. Main St.
I had lunch there Friday. I ordered the smoked brisket sandwich. You needed nothing to cut this meat. It fell apart. It was that tender. It came with seasoned fries and coleslaw for $7.99. First impression — two thumbs up.
Of course, when it comes to barbecue, I must admit that I’m easily impressed. I’m a fan of this American classic, and I’m not alone. Joplin supports several successful barbecue restaurants. That means you can choose the style and sauces you like, and often from a restaurant that is not far from your home.
Kansas City is known for its barbecue. Gates, Arthur Bryant and Jack Stack are among the names that come to mind out of the more than 100 barbecue places that do business in Kansas City. I think an argument can be made that Joplin, for its size, is serving up some mighty fine barbecue.
Sawmill BBQ has a broad menu and a bar. It’s open from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
I have one prediction for Sawmill BBQ: It’s going to need more tables.
There was a time when Christmas shoppers walking on Main Street in downtown Joplin would be entertained by the “window dressings’’ that came with the season.
What struck me about Vagabond’s, a new shop at 513 S. Main St., is that its windows are dressed for the occasion.
The items for sale in Vagabond’s were purchased at auctions, estate sales and yard sales.
“We check out every venue we can,’’ said Cheri Roschevitz, one of three partners in the venture. “We’re adding new stuff every day.’’
You’lI find old doors, pillars, furniture, chandeliers and accent pieces. Some of it has been painted to create a specific look. If you have a piece of furniture that you want painted to look a certain way, you might want to visit this store.
The store also offers clothing, jewelry and a line of candles.
It’s the kind of place where you will see something you recognize from your past, as in: “My grandma had one of those.’’ If you’re looking to replace an heirloom that was lost in the storm, you might find it here.
The reconstruction of the Goodwill store at 2102 S. Range Line Road has progressed at a rapid pace thanks to favorable weather of late. It looks like it could open at anytime, but a worker at the site said the completion date is the third week of February.
In June, I reported that El Vaquero, a popular Mexican restaurant at 2412 S. Main St., was coming back. Relax. It’s still coming back.
An architect on the project told me the design has been altered so that the structure will be a better fit for the site. The developers also had to obtain a parking variance from the city before work could begin.
If you have news about something happening on Range Line Road or Main Street, call 417-623-3480, ext. 7250; or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org; or send a fax to Wally Kennedy at 417-623-8598.