Longhorn Barbecue Outpost
103 First Ave, 341-9696

Mon-Thurs 10:30 am-9 pm; Fri-Sat 10:30 am-11 pm.

So there I was, minding my own business at the new Longhorn Barbecue Outpost in Pioneer Square, making my way up the stairs to the loft-like seating area over the counter, when I glanced up. And what did I see? Along with some photos and other memorabilia displayed on the wall was a letter signed by Norm Stamper, Seattle's chief of police during the WTO riots, a squishy goo-goo if ever there was one. On the orders of his fellow squishy goo-goo, then-mayor Paul Schell, Stamper declared Seattle a free-speech-free zone, illegally arrested hundreds of people, and oversaw a police riot on Capitol Hill.

It had to be done, of course, what with all those violent protesters smashing up a Starbucks and breaking the windows at Niketown. In some priceless moments recorded forever on video, a cop kicks a pedestrian in the nuts; another knocks on the window of a parked car, signals for the two women inside to roll down the window and, when they do, promptly pepper sprays them.

All these memories came rushing back as I stood at the top of the stairs at Longhorn Barbecue Outpost reading a letter from Norm Stamper thanking them for providing the chow during the WTO riots. So the cops weren't going hungry; they had plenty of the kind of energizing chow a cop needs, particularly if he's going to be swinging batons.

Longhorn is a three-joint chain, but it isn't some huge corporation, some cog in the wheels of the evil multinational klepto-state. It's a mom-and-pop shop with absolutely awesome chow. I would run through pepper spray and baton-swinging cops to get one of Longhorn's pulled-pork sandwiches ($7.75), and the sides--the baked beans, the slaw--are worth risking arrest for too. There are two kinds of barbecue sauce (spicy, sweet), and the cornbread comes with whipped real butter.

A meal at Longhorn can also help heal old wounds. On one visit, I was sitting next to a couple of cops. I pointed out Stamper's letter and they laughed. Neither remembered eating barbecue that day--but one did say he remembered tenderizing some meatheads personally.