The Evolution of Red Hot & Blue: Serving Authentic Southern B.B.Q. with a Side of History

Oct 23, 2023 | Annapolis, BBQ, Red Hot & Blue

Since its humble beginnings in 1988, Red Hot & Blue has been more than just a restaurant; it has been a journey through the heart of authentic southern B.B.Q. With its unique blend of culinary craftsmanship and Southern hospitality, Red Hot & Blue offers an experience unlike any other. In this blog post, let’s delve into the rich history, unique offerings, and unforgettable experiences that await you at Red Hot & Blue.

A Journey through Time: The Red Hot & Blue Story

The first Red Hot & Blue restaurant was founded in Arlington, VA, by an extraordinary group of B.B.Q. Enthusiasts, including Tennessee Congressman Don Sundquist, Wendell Moore, Joel Wood, and PBS White House Correspondent Bob Friedman. They were soon joined by Lee Atwater, a Blues fan and campaign manager for George H.W. Bush. The founders shared a deep-rooted love for Memphis-style B.B.Q. and blues music. When they found a void in the D.C. area, they filled it, giving birth to Red Hot & Blue.

The Genesis of the Name: A Tribute to DJ Dewey Phillips

Red Hot & Blue owes its name to the legendary radio show hosted by DJ Dewey Phillips in the 1950s. The show introduced the world to iconic artists like Elvis Presley and B.B. King and broadened the blues genre. Red Hot & Blue continues to honor this heritage through its blues-themed décor and ambiance.

Meeting Sonny, The First Pitmaster

The spirit of ingenuity is captured perfectly in the story of Sonny McKnight, Red Hot & Blue’s first pitmaster. Faced with local regulations against outdoor smoking, Sonny would load the portable smoker onto his truck and drive for hours to cook the meat. His dedication ensured the restaurant could keep up with the high demand while maintaining its signature low-and-slow cooking method.

What’s On The Menu?

Red Hot & Blue’s menu is a testament to its commitment to quality. From hickory-smoked ribs to southern fried catfish, each dish is prepared with the finest U.S.A.-produced meat and freshest produce. Their barbeque is simmered over hickory logs, and side dishes like ‘Grandma’s Potato Salad’ are made fresh every four hours.

A Bipartisan B.B.Q. Joint

The Arlington Red Hot & Blue restaurant became a meeting place where opposing political figures could set aside their differences over a rack of ribs and cold brew. This spirit of unity and inclusiveness has made Red Hot & Blue a truly American establishment.

The Unique B.B.Q. Theater Experience

Red Hot & Blue has recently elevated customer experience by introducing a B.B.Q. Theater concept. Their C.E.O. walks guests through a culinary journey via video, showcasing the delicious new process and instilling the love for B.B.Q. History among its patrons.

Why Choose Red Hot & Blue?

Authenticity and Tradition

For over 30 years, Red Hot & Blue has served authentic southern B.B.Q. with an unwavering commitment to quality. If you’re curious about the history of B.B.Q., this is the place to be.

Diverse Culinary Offerings

With a menu that allows you to sample B.B.Q. Styles from Memphis, Texas, and North Carolina, Red Hot & Blue epitomize culinary diversity.

Southern Hospitality

Red Hot & Blue isn’t just about great food; it’s about creating an atmosphere where everyone feels welcomed.

A Haven for B.B.Q. Lovers

Red Hot & Blue started as a dream among friends who missed their beloved southern B.B.Q. and turned into a gastronomic adventure that has stood the test of time whether you are a B.B.Q. Aficionado or someone who appreciates good food and history, Red Hot & Blue offers a multi-faceted experience beyond the plate. Visit and become a part of this continually unfolding story of American B.B.Q. and blues culture. We can’t wait to welcome you!