Review: Big Space, Big Menu and Big Plates Abound at Boundary Kitchen

The Pawtucket eatery offers a rowdy collection of beer and barbecue.

Burgers and beers at Boundary. 

Boundary might be a backyard barbecue but the invitation went out to the whole neighborhood. Housed in a former roller skating rink, this is an expansive get together that includes patio dining, high top tables, assorted loveseats, a massive screen that often projects a log-burning fire, and — oh — cornhole. It’s the Lynyrd Skynyrd South, a rowdy collection of beer and barbecued meat that plays out in a sprawling dining room with pallet boards straight up the wall.

The menu at Boundary is as big as the space, specializing in everything fried and things that can be stacked into Dagwood-sized piles. Bacon samplers are served in thick singed slabs and fries come out drowned in everything from cheese to pulled pork to buttermilk ranch dressing and chili. The menu has a machismo feel to it, one that dares you to drop from food instead of liquor. The prevailing theory is that everything tastes better with cheese and the kitchen is on a quest to prove themselves right: brisket, burgers, hot dogs, pretzels are all dripping in cheese sauce and stringy mac and cheese comes to the table riddled with everything from roasted poblanos to candied jalapeños and cola ketchup. Boundary is a place of American abandon, served up in plaid shirts, ZZ Top beards and the willingness to engage in combinations that embrace the country’s culinary kitsch. You can get a burger with peanut butter sauce and vodka berry jam or a pizza covered in burgers, lettuce, pickles and special sauce (“Let it be 2 a.m. and let this be in my fridge,” says a man proudly puffing up his chest in his own plaid and flannel attire).

But the heart of the place lies in the dishes closest to Southern comfort. Pork, brisket and ribs are cooked low and slow in-house and, no matter what you’re eating, the smell of smoke will punctuate your meal in dark, fragrant bursts. It’s easy to deem this place an Alabama frat house of food but it’s undeniably good and, if the meat comes off as charred and aggressive, the honey-laced fried chicken and tender biscuits show the softer side of a raucous party. There’s a lot to look at in this space, from the draft-heavy bar to the funny little David Lynch corners lit with red light bulbs, but it’s even harder to pull yourself away from the food. Pint glasses, greased up napkins and rib bones stack like dirty laundry (“Take this pile of shrapnel from me so I can nurse my whiskey sour,” begs a sated diner), swiftly carried away as another round of drinks is called. There’s often a single dessert to end the night but now’s not the time to take it easy. Fried funnel cake fingers come out piping hot with a side of warm bacon caramel because you are being tested and the only way to win is by giving in entirely.

67 Garrity St., Pawtucket, 725-4260,
Open Wed.–Mon. for dinner, Sun. lunch. Wheelchair accessible. Lot parking.
Cuisine Tailgate.
Capacity Probably the whole state.
Must Get Smoked meat, fried chicken, smash burgers, mac and cheese.