So the building was turned into a restaurant. A barbecue joint. It opened this Saturday; we went last night for Easter dinner.
It's called "Holy Smokes."
The dining room is the old church sanctuary, though they took out the altar to comply with ADA regulations. The original pulpit is now the maitre'd station (if they had a maitre'd, which they don't, but you know what I mean.) The pews were kept for seating and the stained-glass windows were also kept. They painted the interior a nice peach color with a sky blue ceiling, now adorned with several flying pigs. Pigs is the motif, for Holy Smokes' specialty is pork ribs.
And oh them ribs was good. One of the owners took us downstairs after dinner to show us the church basement, now entirely converted into a kitchen with an indoor whole hog roaster ("probably the only whole hog roaster in use indoors," he said. "Every other place that has one, I think they keep 'em outside") and a brick oven that stays around 800-1000 degrees, and, off to one side, a giant Southern Pride slow smoker.
Holy Smokes' philosophy is to smoke the meat "slow and low", which means several hours at 210 degrees. Upon ordering your ribs, they're coated with the sauce of your choice and flashed briefly in the 800-1000 degree oven to get the sauce to caramelize a bit, then served up nice and hot. The result was really really really really really good ribs. The meat came right off the bone but didn't just disintegrate with the slightest touch, and it was all so damn juicy and tender. The mild sauce was sweet and good, and their hot sauce, though slightly unorthodox in its use of chipolte peppers, started sweet and had a great slow burn to it. If the only ribs you've known have come from Redbones, I feel sorry for you. (Redbones' specialty is chicken and maybe the brisket, but their ribs are always overcooked.)
I hope this restaurant does well enough to stay in business until at least the next time I visit Hatfield. It's unique enough that it deserves all the goodwill that comes its way. Oh, and while they don't actually have soda, which is really weird, there's free refills on the unsweetened iced tea. In fact, the waitress just left us the pitcher. Beverage Boy approves.
I have 1/5 of a rack left. In this little bag here. With some cornbread and mac 'n cheese. Pardon me while I have the best lunch I've had in a long time.