<![CDATA[BBQCRITIC - BBQ Joints]]>Tue, 08 Mar 2016 20:55:11 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Sharks Roadhouse - Elizabeth, IL]]>Sun, 14 Sep 2014 23:14:13 GMThttp://www.bbqcritic.com/bbq-joints/sharks-roadhouse-elizabeth-il

Shark's Roadhouse in Elizabeth, IL

ELIZABETH, IL (BBQCRITIC.COM): If you are out fishing around for a good BBQ joint, drive down to 1336 Hwy 20 in Elizabeth, Illinois and look for a huge shark on display outside by the road. You'll see a nearby sign that displays: Sharks Roadhouse BAR-B-Q. Like the BBQ shark I am, I went in for the bite.

It provides plenty of room for motorcycles to park out front in one big line (which is great for Bike Nights). Sharks Roadhouse is one big ocean of fun. Krista Kelley Lapiana (General Manager) said, "We do a lot of parties. Our party room seats up to 100 and we have a dining area that seats up to 100 and our pavilion seats up to about 100."

Walk in the front door and straight ahead you see a shark's head mounted above the full bar between big screen TV's. Watch your favorite sports games or go play pool/darts in the billiard room (watch out for pool sharks!). Weekends feature Live Entertainment inside and outside with plenty of outdoor seating surrounded by a laid-back country feel. The inside has a lodge-like appearance. Old relics and shark images are throughout. The wood walls & brick accent provides a calm and relaxing atmosphere for family dining.  Fun and excitement comes in waves at Sharks Roadhouse, but it's the barbeque that anchored me here.

Open since 2009, the restaurant converted to a smokehouse about a year ago. The kitchen uses a Southern Pride Dh-65 smoker. Krista said, "We only smoke with hickory. We smoke our brisket and our pork for fourteen hours. We do our ribs for three hours and our chicken for three hours."

I ordered the Texas Brisket Sandwich. Stuffed inside a toasted bun (love it!), the brisket was smokey, flavorful and moist. It came with fries and coleslaw. The slaw was packed in a tiny plastic ramicon and it was a bit messy trying to eat it. The slaw itself was absolutely delicious. Considering the price of brisket these days, $10.95 is a reasonable price especially with two sides.

Krista served me extra samples of meat including pork and chicken. The pork tasted great, but the chicken? Wow! The breast given to me was extremely moist, hot and packed with flavor. I tried all three of the BBQ sauces and used the mustard-based sauce for my fries. Tasty! The other two sauces (mild and hot) I sampled on my brisket sandwich and tasted great in both forms. On a previous visit to Sharks, I did order a Combo Platter with baby-back ribs as one of the meats. I remember the meat was smokey, tender and pulled gently off the bone.

The menu is not too big and not too small - just the way I like it. Other items appealed to me such as the Smokehouse Nachos - and burgers that come in 1/2 or 1/3 lb sizes. My favorite meal would be the Combo Platter and you have a choice of two or three meat combinations. Options include pulled pork, half chicken, Texas brisket. Smokin' Wings or 1/3 slab of baby back or St Louis style ribs. I love a variety of meats and I think I developed this preference by judging four categories of meat at several KCBS BBQ competitions: Chicken, Ribs, Pork & Brisket. Check out the website at sharksroadhouse.com to view the full menu, and lots of exciting photos from all the events and parties throughout the year.

If you happen to be driving through Elizabeth, IL on Hwy 20 and spot a shark near the roadside, reel yourself into Sharks Roadhouse BAR-B-Q and go for the bite.

Sharks Roadhouse is BBQCRITIC.COM Approved!

Herb Kane
BBQ Critic

1336 HWY 20
Elizabeth, IL 61028
815 858-9898
Website: http://www.sharksroadhouse.com


<![CDATA[FAMOUS DAVE'S - Hayward, WI]]>Sat, 26 Jul 2014 16:08:53 GMThttp://www.bbqcritic.com/bbq-joints/famous-daves-hayward-wi

The original Famous Dave's in Hayward, WI. Celebrating 20 years! (photo by BBQCRITIC.COM)
HAYWARD, WI (BBQCRITIC.COM) - JULY 19, 2014: While vacationing in the northwoods of Wisconsin, we hit the road to visit the original Famous Dave's in Hayward, Wisconsin. We arrived and I got a sense this Famous Dave's was going to be something special. I was right.

The restaurant's big, beautiful rustic structure was built in 1994 with the look of a spectacular Adirondack Lodge. A large banner across the side of the building reads, "Celebrating 20 Years of Award-Winning Barbeque!" I had my photo taken by it and posted it on Facebook. Six minutes later, my Facebook friend Famous Dave Anderson commented on my post, "Hey I'm just driving up!"

Oh, wow - what a pleasant surprise. I did not expect I would meet the man himself at the first restaurant he built. After a few texts back and forth, we agreed to meet around 11am the next day. I was not only excited to meet Dave, but now I get to eat at Famous Dave's again.

Burnt Ends-N-Rib
Dave's Sassy Barbeque Salad with Crispy Chicken
Dave's Famous Bread Pudding

The first day I ordered Burnt Ends-N-Rib with a side of Wilbur Beans and potato salad. The hickory smoked ribs were tasty and I love dipping my burnt ends in BBQ beans and that's exactly what I did. Absolutely delicious! My friend chose Dave's Sassy Barbeque Salad with Crispy Chicken (served on crisp greens, bacon, house-smoked cheddar cheese, tomatoes and shoestring potatoes. Tossed with honey BBQ dressing and served with a corn bread muffin). This dish put a nice smile on her face.

We ended our meal with Dave's Famous Bread Pudding. The menu describes it best: Melt-in-your-mouth, scratch-made bread pudding and pecan praline sauce served warm with vanilla bean ice cream and whipped cream. OMG this is so good. Definitely a BBQCRITIC.COM favorite.

The Back Patio
Famous Duck!
Welcome to Dave's
Overlooking Round Lake

Love the atmosphere inside
Now this is the place to dock your boat.

Our waitress was very hospitable and her enthusiasm for the original Famous Dave's was appreciated. The northwoods decor, huge bar area and various dining rooms are nice. The atmosphere of this BBQ joint is what separates this from other joints including other Famous Dave's locations.

We sat in the back by a window that overlooked Round Lake. Outdoor seating stretched across the back patio. Steps lead you to a dock where customers boat right up to the shore of Famous Dave's. Nice! The surrounding  green trees and lake brought on a calm, peaceful dining experience. A place you can truly relax with nature and enjoy a meal. We watched a duck waddle around the seating area searching for food while other ducks bathed down by the dock. Customers were amused by this duck's presence and persistence to eat Q. This Famous Duck entertained the guests.

The next morning arrived. We walked into Famous Dave's and there was Dave seated in the back corner. We sat at our table and then I walked over to Dave to introduce myself. A handshake led us into a discussion about how BBQ has changed over the years and we talked a bit about the BBQ competition circuit. Dave judges and cooks and he talked about the different kinds of contests that span the country. Dave has a lot of interesting perspectives on business and life and I could have talked to him all day, but he was there for a publicity photo shoot and he had to work. Dave did walk out on the back patio and customers eagerly gathered their family together to take some snapshots with Dave. Soon after, Dave happily agreed to do an impromtu video interview for BBQCRITIC.COM.

Famous Dave's Sign
Herb & Dave
Dave's photo shoot

Dave managed to overcome the negativity of building a BBQ joint in a remote location, "I held on to my dreams here in a little northwoods town of Hayward, Wisconsin. Only 1800 people in town, we built Famous Dave's from scratch featuring the world's best barbeque ribs slowly smoked over smouldering hardwood embers and the best country roasted chicken, honey-buttered cornbread, creamy coleslaw and barbeque baked beans - all the good stuff."

Famous Dave Anderson was quite excited about his restaurant's 20th Anniversary, "Today we're celebrating our 20th year being in business this past June 2014. Got started 20 years ago and we just work every day to slow smoke the best barbeque and we live to make people happy with our made from scratch cooking."

Visit any Famous Dave's for delicious barbeque and you will experience a glimpse of the northwoods and hospitality, but the original Famous Dave's in Hayward, Wisconsin is the real deal. When we left to drive back home, a Black Bear crossed our path on the highway and rushed back into the deep woods.Yep! It's the real deal alright.

Out of 200 Famous Dave's restaurant locations, we just happened to pick the right one today. We got to meet Famous Dave Anderson himself.

Happy 20th Anniversary Famous Dave's!

Herb Kane
BBQ Critic

9971 N Grand Pines Lane
Hayward, WI 54843
Website: http://www.famousdaves.com/dinein/hayward
Famous Dave's Hayward, WI Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheOriginalFamousDaves
Dave Anderson's Fascinating Website: http://www.davidwanderson.com/index.html
America's Rib King Famous Dave Anderson: http://www.famousdaveanderson.com/