It was a finger-licking good time at City Hall Plaza yesterday as thousands flocked there for the Phantom Gourmet's BBQ Beach Party.
"Barbecue is a very personal thing," said Phantom Gourmet star Dan Andelman. "We have great barbecue restaurants in New England, but it's so regional. It's like what jazz is to music, barbecue is to food. It's a true American art form."
That's why the Phantom Gourmet decided to bring together the best barbecue teams from around the nation -- and even one from Australia.
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But the food wasn't the only thing on the menu.
"We had to add a little somethin'-somethin' so we're having a party. We built a beach, we have a Ferris wheel, we've got beer flowing," said Andelman.
The plaza is usually home to the entirely different "Fitness on the Plaza," a summer program that offers free workouts. The plaza will also be the site for the upcoming Harborfest.
Using the space is good news for visitors, and for the city, Andelman said.
"As far as I'm concerned, anytime anybody is spending their own money to try and put on an event in the city of Boston, it creates a huge amount of economic activity. If I were this city, I'd be trying to do something every week, every day."
As far as Boston barbecue fan Anthony Cellucci was concerned, his hometown slung the best ribs.
"Firefly's ribs were my favorite. They were absolutely delicious," Cellucci said.
Organizers spread sand over an area of the plaza to create a makeshift beach for guests 21 and older to drink beer and jam out to live music. The beach was roughly the size of a basketball court.
"It has 10 tons of sand. Putting it in is easy, but getting it ... out of here; that takes a while," said Phantom Gourmet's Dan Andelman.