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Barbecue: Nothing about Payne's - from the gritty neighborhood location to the cinder-block exterior to the dark interior - endears one – but as my mamma used tosay, appearances can be deceiving. Once inside the old gas station, you meet Mrs. Payne and her son - who both man the counter, the old stove (where a pot of the best beans around simmers) and the pit - you won't care about the no-frills atmosphere. They serve up what is our favorite pork sandwich in the entire city - the perfect combination of a bit of crisp on the outer layer, a tender inner layer, and a sweet tang tang that comes from either the sauce or the slaw - we're not sure. Piled high on a bun, this sandwich is big enough to split and about as close to pig perfection as it gets. Do ask for a serving of beans - so good that even those who aren't bean fans - like yours truly - will sing Mama Payne's praises.

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Local Expert Sally Walker Davies Says:

Barbecue: "This is a cash-only spot, and your meal is best eaten in the sunshine, using the hood of your car as your dining table."

Best for Barbecue Because: Payne's simply has the city's best pulled pork sandwich in town, hands-down.

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