Quick: name states renowned for their barbecue. Missouri. North and South Carolina. Georgia. Florida. Oregon. Wait. Oregon? Yes! The Beaver State is an up-and-coming BBQ dynamo. Just visit Cindy Lou’s, and you’ll see (and, better yet, taste) why.
This Salem gem is quickly gaining traction as a local hotspot for amazing barbecue. Think pulled pork, brisket, hand chopped slaw….paired with a delicious Rainstorm pinot noir, this is a meal you’ll be thinking about for days afterward.
The story behind Cindy Lou’s is as juicy as its baby back ribs. Named after owner Christopher Sarff’s mother, Sarff got his start not as a chef, but as a construction worker. After a few years building houses, Sarff decided to make a career change and began delivering bread overnight in the Portland area. He also launched a food truck, selling hamburgers and other lunchtime favorites. He quickly became a hit with the locals.
But Sarff had his sights set on BBQ. Destiny intervened when Sarff entered a contest to win a brand new food truck. After being drawn as a finalist, he put his skills to the test in a cook-off against four other worthy contestants, winning the top prize and taking home the truck.
Cindy Lou’s was born. The truck was parked in Happy Valley, where lines of customers formed every day to get a taste of Sarff’s homemade barbecue favorites. Many of his top treats are based on his mother’s recipes. Everything in Sarff’s mobile kitchen is made from scratch, and he loads his specials up with local ingredients. All the rubs, sauces, and side dishes are created daily with care.
Last spring, Sarff decided it was a time for a change, though. Not to his incredible recipes, thankfully, but to his location. Sarff wanted to be back in his hometown of Salem. And he wanted Cindy Lou’s to become Salem’s premier BBQ joint.
With his barbecue selling out every day, it’s safe to say he’s done just that.
If you want to get a taste of Cindy Lou’s BBQ, you can find it Monday through Saturday, 11:00 am to 7:00 pm, at Beehive Station in Salem. Our advice? Get your order to go so you can take it home and enjoy with your choice of Rainstorm wines – a truly winning combination!