Way back in the spring of 2015, I wrote about a barbecue restaurant that was planning to open at 2001 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in Fairfax. As is often the case, these things take longer than planned. For Brian Back, it took three years longer than he had anticipated—but in March, he finally opened the doors to Way Station in what was previously a gas station.
With the long process of permitting and health department regulations behind him, Back has created an open, spacious (seating for 107) indoor/outdoor eatery. The stripped-down space features plenty of concrete, glass, sliding metal doors and an outdoor gravel-covered beer garden with picnic tables.
More than a year ago, Back discovered Max Hill, who was selling his St. Louis-style ribs out of his food truck (Max’s Pig ’N’ Pie BBQ), and asked him to come onboard at Way Station; from the looks of it, Hill drove straight into the restaurant and set up shop. His truck, embedded in the back wall, has a fully equipped kitchen.
The restaurant’s signature ribs are smoked for five hours, covered with a special house-made rub and glazed with Hill’s BBQ sauce. Made in the Memphis style with a vinegar base, the Southern favorite strikes a balance between smoky, spicy and sweet.
Expect all of the fare to be heavy here—even the coleslaw is made with a hearty creamy mustard base. A Fairfax Crunch Salad of spinach, carrots and a sesame citrus dressing is the lone meat-free main dish offered. Alcoholic beverages are predominately from California, and include a Fort Point Black Lager and an Inizi Rosé from Guerneville.