Phil’s (Santee)

Happy Holidays everyone!!!  It’s almost Christmas so I hope everyone travels safe, has fun, and you got all your shopping done!

For those of you who don’t know or follow Phil’s BBQ (the best fake bbq west of Yuma), Phil’s opened a new restaurant in Santee not too long ago in October.  I still remember the first Phil’s in Mission Hills and was looking to replicate those experiences.  So Anh and I came upon the Phil’s in Santee and the first thing we noticed and what you can find at the other one on Sports Arena Blvd…a long ass line.  Okay, it wasn’t that long, I just wanted to say long ass.  It was just long enough to allow you to inhale the bbq smell and make you hungrier than you were when you started.


I didn’t notice a camera but I’d image they are going to put one up like they do for the other restaurant so you can see how long the line is.  This particular line actually went really fast and we were in within 15 minutes.


Phil’s is high tech now!  They have people outside taking your orders wirelessly!  I was very impressed.


Yet another improvement is the two lines they separate so people can walk in the middle.  It’s still a crowded place, but controlled chaos is better than just regular plain chaos.



We got the full baby back rib dinner with mac salad and fries.  The food came out very fast after we ordered, ~10 minutes.  And they tasted the same they did at the other locations.  The meat fell off the bone, the sauce was as light in color and tangy as ever, and there was a little char on the meat as well.  We’ve been spoiled with other good bbq joints in Chicago, Texas, and out at Coop’s in Lemon Grove so while I know bbq purists don’t condone Phil’s because it’s not “real bbq,” most people don’t care as long as it tastes good when they put it in their mouth.  But if you do want to try “real bbq” go to Coop’s, it’s one of the only local places that we’ve found that knows what they’re doing.


The restaurant itself was well put together and we sat out by the garage doors.  Overall, the total time we were there was under an hour from time we got in line to when we finished.  So even though they have a lot of volume they seem to have the process to pump out food quickly.  Because of the relatively short wait time, I’d recommend this Phil’slocation if you are closer to it than the other one.

Phil’s BBQ
9816 Mission Gorge Rd.
Santee, CA 92071
(619) 449-7700


Phil's BBQ on Urbanspoon

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About Darren

Fooood! I love it if you can't tell already. I love everything about it. The taste, the smell, the look, the feel, the satisfaction, the gratification, and ultimately: the fun! I've been in San Diego for about 10 years now and it amazes me that there are still places to uncover. Traveling, eating, and taking pictures of food has always been a hobby of mine. So naturally Michael and I thought it made sense to share what we found with all of you. I tend to side with the savory but never shy away from a knock out dessert. If you have a place you think we haven't tried let us know! We're always on the lookout...

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4 Comments on “Phil’s (Santee)”

  1. Hey Darren! Coop’s is awesome. I have to agree with your other comment as well –meat grilled then slathered in a sweet tangy sauce can’t taste “bad.” haha. I just never understood the crazy long lines at the sports arena location.

    1. Hey Dennis, yeah I don’t know about the lines. People love what’s popular and like you said, it’s not bad and there’s not much competition so people come. It is a fun place and they do a great job selling the brand. I’d like to see what happens if you try to start a Phil’s in Texas or somewhere known for bbq. That’d be a fun experiment!

  2. I’ve only been to the Phil’s Sports Arena location once. I hated the LONG ASS lines (there, i said it too! :D). their bbq wasn’t all that. I wasn’t fond of their sauce.

    Loved Coops though! My mouth is just watering just thinking of the smoke rings on their brisket!

  3. The best way to avoid the lines is either call ahead and order food to go, or else arrive after 1:30pm (especially weekdays) and sail right in to a table.

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