A trip to Memphis, Tennessee can awaken any one of several passions from within. Home of sumptuous southern cuisine, soul-scraping Rhythm and Blues and Plantation style architecture, a journey to Memphis may well lead to a new journey in life. For Chef Eric Rifkin, the trip was an inspiration for authentic southern barbecue.
After visiting the "Home of the Blues and the Birthplace of Rock 'n Roll", Eric devised a plan for a new restaurant that he calls an "authentic pit barbecue" with a "menu that doesn't stray into quesadillas and nachos." Named for his daughter Bobbi, BOBBiQUE touts a fine sampling of Beer, Bourbon, and Blues. With a menu that includes such staples as St. Louis-style ribs, brisket and pulled pork, as well as barbecued salmon and shrimp, BOBBiQUE'S slow cooking technique utilizes an authentic "pit" barbecue. The "Fast/Casual" service has diners order at the counter and then food is delivered to their table, at which time orders for drinks and desserts are taken. BOBBiQUE also features 70 different beers -- 12 of them drafts and two varieties of "live" cask ales. With a stage in the main bar and private dining room to the rear, BOBBiQUE will soon offer performances that reverbarate back to the southern city from which BOBBiQUE was inspired.
Award Winning Chef Eric Rifkin.
Eric Rifkin, Executive Chef and Owner of BOBBiQUE, has always had an interest in food as he grew up in a household that appreciated a good meal. During his summer vacations in the Hamptons and the Catskills, Rifkin worked for various restaurants and hotels. He graduated from Johnson & Wales University and was one of fifteen recipients of the Johnson & Wales Fellowship Award. As a fellow, Rifkin worked with the faculty at Johnson & Wales as a teacher and received a Bachelor of Science in Food Service Management. At the end of his college training, he was fortunate to be able to work for two years under Larry Forgione at An American Place in New York City. Working with Forgione afforded him the opportunity to work at "special" functions along with many other acclaimed chefs such as Wolfgang Puck, Jimmy Schmidt, Paul Prudhomme, and others.
When he moved on from An American Place, he became the sous chef at Halcyon, the flagship restaurant at the luxury Japanese Hotel Rihga Royal in New York. It was there that Rifkin worked under Chef John Malligan, the three-time gold medal winner at the Culinary Olympics in Frankfurt, Germany. After Halcyon, Rifkin opened and was chef at City Crab and Seafood Company on Manhattan's Park Avenue. City Crab is a 200+ seat restaurant that serves high quality, fresh seafood of all types and origins. After leaving City Crab and Seafood Company, Rifkin worked with the famed Anne Rosensweig at her uptown restaurant called The Lobster Club.
In 1996, Rifkin opened his first restaurant in Westhampton Beach, The Crazy Dog. Serving an eclectic mix of modern and comfort foods, Crazy Dog earned a "Very Good" rating from The New York Times and two stars from Newsday. After a successful eight-year run, a second location was born, this time in Sayville. Once again, earning accolades from both The New York Times and Newsday, as well as Great Restaurants of Long Island.
During Rifkin's culinary career, barbecue was always a sleeping passion. In June of 2006, he opened BOBBiQUE, named after his daughter Bobbi, in Patchogue, NY. An authentic "pit" barbecue restaurant, BOBBiQUE is now where Eric Rifkin practices his culinary talents to great acclaim. In 2007, Chef Rifkin was honored as Restaurateur of the year by the Long Island Chapter of the New York State Restaurant Association.
New York Times, Joanne Starkey, January 14, 2007
Newsday, Joan Reminick, January 12, 2007
Newsday, Joan Reminick, July 26, 2006