Here at Russell St BBQ, we believe that good food starts with the freshest ingredients and naturally raised meats. Inspiration for our menu is drawn from southern home-cooking, Texas Bar-B-Que, and culinary traditions from the southern eastern seaboard. We cook the old fashioned way with fire and time.
We opened our original location on Russell St in 2004. Our Southern Kitchen offers a relaxed atmosphere coupled with attentive, old-school service, making Russell Street your home away from home. It’s a place to join friends and family and enjoy delicious food, house-made sauces, locally brewed beers, and hand-crafted cocktails.
May 2017 we opened our 2nd location on Belmont St. This classic bbq counter offers the ease of family style service with the flexibility of our BBQ meats priced by the pound. We hope you enjoy the speed and simplicity of service at our Southern Counter.
Diane Santucci Chef/Owner
Diane started her culinary journey early in life. She was blessed with a mom who was a food adventurer. They would watch Julia Child on TV and follow recipes from "The Art of French Cooking"...
The meals they cooked could have the simplicity of steamed artichokes or the complexity of “Supremes De Volalle a Blanc” with wild rice (unusually rare fare for 1960s-70s Maryland). They also regularly hit pit BBQs in Virginia for pulled pork sandwiches with slaw. These foods were the foundation for Diane’s “simple complexity/complex simplicity” credo.
Later, Diane would translate her early culinary passions into a professional career. Diane worked for a high end Deli, a Maryland seafood restaurant that introduced her to the diversity of a commercial kitchen, a new age burger joint, as well as traditional “white tablecloth” dining. All along Diane gleaned new skills, tastes, and techniques.
Diane has carefully crafted every menu item that Russell Street offers. And she still loves to works hands-on in the kitchen, either on the line or creating fun and satisfying specials. After 37 years of food experience, Diane still revels in making the perfect pulled pork sandwich her mother would approve of and heartily enjoy!
Sharon Senter Santucci Owner
Sharon grew up in East Texas on land that was granted to her family for an ancestor's service in the revolutionary war. On this land she was taught by her Grandfather to grow a wide variety of food...
Her Grandmother exposed her to food preservation. Idle hands were never an issue because they was always shelling, picking, peeling, and packing to be done. They lived off the land, hunting, gathering nuts, pomegranates, and persimmons. They feasted on Fried Fruit Pies, Pimiento Cheese, Chow-Chow, and Tomato Gravy–all childhood favorites that have made it onto the Russell Street menu.
Sharon honed her management skills and expanded her culinary exposure in Seattle, working for Schwartz Brothers Company, and patronizing the many amazing restaurants in the area.
While Sharon’s main strengths lie in her well-honed “front of the house” management skills, she can also readily hold her own on a cook’s line.
Creating an upbeat, positive, growth-focused work environment for the Russell Street staff is Sharon’s primary goal. Personal development, hard work, and professionalism are all skills Sharon imparts to her employees. She believes in investing in people, because nothing gets done without them.
Tamara Burgess General Manager
Tamara Burgess has worked in the restaurant industry for 22 years, and she's worked in restaurant management for 10 of those years...
She’s played the role of server, bartender, bar manager, assistant manager, and general manager. She has an extensive knowledge of wine, beer, and spirits. She’s worked in restaurants that serve east coast seafood cuisine, Northern Italian, American, and now Southern BBQ. Tamara moved to Portland from Virginia. Incidentally, her first restaurant job was at a BBQ restaurant in Virginia Beach. Working at Russell St BBQ has brought her right back to her roots.