808 Fair Oaks Ave, South Pasadena, CA | Directions 9103034.116402 -118.150162
Neighborhoods: San Marino
Owned by brothers Chris and John Bicos, Gus’s is the oldest barbecue joint on the west coast. Their slow-cooked barbecue is made in a smoke house in the back of the restaurant, which churns out 500 pounds of meat daily - enough to feed 2,000 people. Must: pull-pork nachos.
Still the worst BBQ in LA – First time ever leaving a comment here but was compelled to after experiencing the worst BBQ I've ever had at Gus's. I ordered the Combo Brick Chicken & Ribs for $22.95. I got a dry piece of charred and burn't flat chicken and 3 bones of baby back ribs. That's it on the meat for $23.00 bucks. Two side dishes were beans and cole slaw. The beans were a mushy mess of who knows what and the slaw was almost dry and flavorless. The plate was served without any type of bread. If you want cornbread it's an extra $6.95. What the f__k?
I then find out that they bake the ribs with liquid smoke and that they don't have a smoker. This isn't BBQ. Many people knock Barnburner a mile north on Fair Oaks but at least they have a real smoker. At Robin's BBQ on Rosemead Blvd in Pasadena they include an excellent blueberry cornbread with every meal and they also have a real smoker. In fact they have a separate smokehouse behind the restaurant. I'm ranting because to charge $23.00 for a minescule portion of meat falsely labeled BBQ is a joke. These guys should stick to running their burger joints.
This 1st timer diner will be going back for sure............. – I had passed Gus's many times before, but never thought to stop in. I guess the giant glowing sign out front just reminded me of checkered table clothes, sawdust on the floor, the kinda place you wear a Garfield t-shirt and a fanny pack to. I was pleasantly surprised though by the clean, warm decor and large colorful paintings and photos decorating the walls. We started with the cornbread as an appetizer: it might be the best cornbread I've had. Served in a small cast iron pan with butter and jalapeno jelly, a very nice beginning. Next my girlfriend ordered a burger with arugula, grilled onions and potato salad. I got the Baby Back Rib and Pulled Pork Combo with Creamed Corn and Red Beans 'n Rice. Ribs and Pork were both very tender, flavorful, and tasty. Read Beans 'n Rice, I could have eaten just a bowlful of those they were that good. Creamed Corn was also very nice,as was my girl's burger. The only dish to fall flat was the Potato Salad, which seemed to need a bit more salt and lacked the complexity the rest of the food had. As we are both Chefs in the L.A. area, we kept commenting about how all the food seemed to have a depth to it's flavors, the built up layers of taste that can only come from cooking with love, patience and confidence. The portions were also very generous and we had to take half of it home! We will certainly be coming back for more, and making sure we have empty stomachs beforehand!
And a quick note to the previous reviewer (wdlarson): THEY HAVE A GIANT GLOWING PIG ON THE SIGN OUTSIDE, THAT MIGHT BE A SIGN IT'S NOT A GOOD PLACE FOR VEG LOVERS TO EAT. And it's also highly disrespectful to be bringing in outside food to a restaurant. As a Chef myself, I would have done the same as they did to you, so try not to be so surprised. I respect people's right to choose what they will eat, but if an establishment doesn't serve what you can have, then don't eat there. (or take people there who can't eat their food just because YOU can.)
Terrible place – On 12/12/08 I ordered their specialty BBQ Smoked Brick Chicken to go.
Unfortunately when I opened the box with BBQ Smoked Brick Chicken at home, I found it too burnt to eat and had to throw it away. I called the restaurant and spoke with the owner. He offered to send me a gift certificate. He never did.
A star is reborn: This 1940s South Pasadena landmark reels in the crowds with its cross-country 'cue. – This South Pasadena landmark, which has beckoned diners with its glorious neon sign since 1946, has a newly revamped interior, plus an updated menu that attracts old-timers, snooty foodies and barbecue freaks alike. The retro feel is carried out with dozens of vintage black and white photos, corrugated tin and a painting of music legend Robert Johnson. Chowing down to a bluesy beat, the eclectic crowd of families, Cal Tech students, hipsters and yuppies all agree on one thing: Barbecue rules. American regional specialties range from Carolina pulled pork and St. Louis spare ribs to beer-braised Texas brisket and Memphis-style baby back ribs. Seasonal cobblers and red velvet cake are a closing sweet note.
Food dry, rude server – Don't waste your time, especially if you have children. We had to leave the restaurant before we could take our 1st bite due to an EXTREMELY rude server. When we finally ate our dinner AT HOME, the ribs were dry and the chicken was full of fat. We frequent restaurants w/ our children all of the time and never have received such poor service.
Grand Reopening Planned – Gus's has been around since 1946, according to the Web site. I've generally enjoyed the chicken rather than ribs and like the creamy salad dressing (albeit with boring iceberg lettuce). The longtime owners have sold it, and a grand reopening is planned. Web site says February (2008), but now it's March, and a quick peek inside the front window assured me that nothing has been done. I'm more than willing to give the new owners a chance to prove that they know how to barbecue.
The decor that some reviewers liked and others didn't is out; the look will be updated for the 21st century. The planned menu (see the Web site) has interesting planned additions. New owners also run Tops in Pasadena. Stay tuned.
Try home made soups or pepper chicken & steak – Yeah,
I agree with the BBQ comments. But what really sets this place apart is the cool 1950's ambience. And there's a decent food value here. Oh yeah, try the potato skins with the ranch and dill dressing, very good.
Sinewy ribs – I've lived in South Pasadena for 20+ years and just the other day decided to go to Gus's for the 1st time. The ambience is quiet and comfortable. But the food. The baby back and beef ribs were TOUGH and did not have much meat. The sauce was good. I'm not sure how this place has survived so long. It's been there so long it may be a historical site or something like that.
not very good baby back ribs – my husband and i went, and ordered a slab of baby back ribs and some sides to share, we had heard of this place and wanted to try it, we were seated right away and (after what seemed like an hour wait) when we finally got our order the ribs were tough and cold and had very little flavor. we didn't even bother to continue eating it we were so disgusted with the food and the wait that we just ended up paying and leaving, we will never go there again. on a plus side because we were still hungry and around the area, we walked over and found a very nice mediteranian place with really yummy food!
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