As much as I love the taste of a good BBQ meal, I normally steer clear of those types of restaurants since I’m rarely satisfied and often disappointed as the meat is usually too dry, too tough and over-sauced. This was not the case at Tootie’s BBQ in Cathedral City. Owner Eileen Smith, who bought the restaurant in June 2011, explained why I would be ok ordering the brisket instead of tri-tip and the spare ribs versus the baby backs. “Tootie’s is a Texas BBQ,” she said. “It’s all about the rub of the meats, the sauces and the way it’s prepared. Texas BBQ is cooked slowly over a long period of time at a low temperature in a smoker and not on a grill.”
I took her advice and I ordered the Tootie’s Sampler for $15.95, which was 14 oz. of meat, including sliced brisket, pulled pork, spare ribs and chopped chicken. Smith had the good sense to split the meal for my guest and I, as I dare one person to tackle the whole thing on their own. It came with 2 sides and we chose the cole slaw and loaded mashed potatoes with an additional order of baked beans and macaroni & cheese. My guest also ordered the Ricky’s rockin’ wings for only $5.75, which he was quite pleased with, which was a good sign as he’s somewhat of a wing connoisseur. I was pleasantly surprised that the brisket was tender and moist and the pulled pork was absolutely delicious. By the time I tasted the creamy chopped chicken and the succulent spare ribs I was almost too full to care but knew I had to forge ahead. My dining companion raved through the whole meal about the mac & cheese as I did about the loaded mashed potatoes and slaw. The owner placed 3 sauces on the table, which included regular, kick-ass and XXX, which was a blend of sweet, smoky and spicy and enhanced the meat instead of overwhelming it like at some BBQ places. Tootie’s also has combo plates, sandwiches, salads and an ample list of sides on the menu.
You can also enjoy a glass of wine or bottle of beer out on their smoking patio, which is animal friendly. Smith also owned the place next door, Leenie’s Weenies and when she took over Tootie’s she knocked out the wall and put in two pool tables. They currently host APA pool leagues there on Monday nights and are accepting new teams. If you’re looking for good food, friendly hospitality and a fun place to eat and chill, then Tootie’s is the place to go. 68-703 Perez Rd. Ste A-1, Cathedral City 760-202-6963.