Lucille’s is a mini-chain that knows its meat

(Photo by Brett Callwood)

Part of the expansive Westfield Mall, it’s easy to write Lucille’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que off as another soulless chain restaurant in the Applebees vein. That, as it turns out, is a mistake. 

Their Wikipedia entry reads, “Lucille’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que is a chain of restaurants founded in Signal Hill, California specializing in barbecue cuisine as well as southern and Cajun style meals. The restaurants feature a southern American and Blues theme. The chain has locations in California, Arizona, and Nevada, and is owned by Hofman Hospitality Group.”

So it’s a mini-chain, with most of its locations sitting in Southern California and just a handful outside of this region. The blues theme mentioned is subtle but very cool – t-shirts for sale at the entrance are adorned with musical slogans, pushing the authentic, culturally significant vibe.

Let’s be honest – the location is convenient. Parking is easy, and there’s plenty of shopping to be done before or after dining. But with all of that said, the food is really the only selling point, or attraction, that Lucille’s needs.

As with any barbecue joint, the place is only as good as its meat and we had no complaints after eating a ton of Lucille’s juicy animal protein. 

While the appetizers all looked amazing, we knew that our stomach had limits and on that particular day, we had nobody to share with. Still, we were incredibly tempted by the Southern Fried Dill Pickles, the Hot Honey Cauliflower Bites, and the Cracked Out Deviled Eggs. We resisted, but it was a tight race.

What we did get was the Two Meat Combo, picking Baby Back Ribs and Brisket Burnt Ends for our meats. Both were exquisite; the meat on the six ribs simply fell off of the bone making chewing more of a choice than a necessity. 

The brisket was a little fatty, but that only added to the flavor and moist texture. Both were delicious – smoky and not overly seasoned. The house bbq sauce, on the side to be added to taste, was fruity and tangy, and worked wonderfully with the meat.

We could choose two sides, and we avoided the carby mac & cheese, fries, and potato salad in favor of the Southern Braised Greens and Sauteéd Seasonal Vegetables. The latter featured green beans, cauliflower and carrots, lightly seasoned and sauteéd to perfection. But the greens were awesome – not bitter, the tang worked beautifully with the meat.

A chain it may be, but Lucille’s knows its barbecue.

Lucille’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que is located at 6000 Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City 90230. Call 310-390-1227 or visit