Whichever barbecued meat you get in your sandwich at Kennedy’s, you must get it topped with cabbage relish. Vaguely similar to the sort of slaw that goes into a pig sandwich in the South, but more pickly than sweet, it is bright and refreshing, an especially good partner for pork. And oh, what lovely pork this is: butter-tender with occasional chewy shreds, it is piled so high and huge in a bun that well over half the sandwich must be eaten with a fork or fingers. That much tumbles out if you try to lift it by hand. While barbecue sauce is available, the meats are served without it. Relish is the only essential condiment.
Other pit-cooked meat choices are ham (fabulous) and beef and turkey (more bland than fabulous). The rest of the menu is chili and bean soup. Plus cornbread and Amish pies. The connoisseur’s choice, other than a sandwich, is a bowl of bean soup loaded with chunks of pit ham and crowned with crumbled corn bread.
A Canton landmark since 1922 when it opened as Spiker’s, the minuscule eatery was bought and renamed in 1960 by Jack Kennedy, who ran it 49 years. After Mr. Kennedy died in 2009, it was taken over by Ernie Schott, proprietor of Taggart’s Ice Cream Parlor, another Canton landmark. Mr. Schott extended the lunch hour to 6pm but otherwise made no changes in the time-honored formula.