Stealth Barbecue at Legal Beans Coffee Bar in Jersey City


The pulled pork sandwich may be Legal Beans’ only actual barbecue offering — but it depends on how you define BBQ.

The New York area is filled with barbecue fanatics who will travel almost any distance to check out a new ‘cue emporium, and it’s a rare place that escapes the notice of smoked-meat pundits.

Located halfway between the Grove Street and Journal Square stops on the Jersey City PATH train, Legal Beans is a coffee shop that apparently has a second branch in Jersey City and a third in Hoboken. Located just off Newark Avenue, before it goes under the Jersey Turnpike and up a steep hill, the Jersey City branch I visited occupies a smallish, free-standing, small-house-sized building that has been several other food-related incarnations in the past, including, most recently, a Guyanese roti joint.

The non-coffee offerings include the pulled pork sandwich, pork brochettes, rotisserie chickens and a few sides. One — “spicy sweet mashed potatoes” — clues you to the fact that this place is nominally Philippine. Indeed, the sauce on the sandwich has a slight Southeast Asian savor to it, as if American barbecue sauce had been adapted for Filipino tastes.

The sandwich is quite good, though not as smoky as the Texas barbecue at Hill Country, say. It’s served on a big brioche roll, and, at $8, it’s quite a bargain. A friend and I shared it.

Legal Beans
2 Division Street
Jersey City, New Jersey

The hopefully legal food-vending premises of Legal Beans in Jersey City

The bill of fare is relatively brief. Coleslaw also good.

Most Popular