My last day in Champaign and I needed something good for lunch. As I was driving away from Eichelberger Field on my lunch break, I remembered a BBQ place I ate at a couple years ago. I was pretty sure I remembered how to get there once I found Springfield Avenue off of Neil Street.
Li’l Porgy’s has two locations in the Champaign/Urbana area. I chose the Champaign location which is on West Springfield Avenue near Mattis Avenue. There are a number of other restaurants in the area including a Famous Dave’s.
The building is nothing more than a run down old fast food joint. It’s not much to look at and I wondered if it was even open on a Sunday morning when I pulled in. As I was nearing Mattis Avenue, I knew I was close, but it wasn’t until I got right up on the sign that I noticed it. As I turned in the parking lot, I noticed a couple other cars, so I figured I was go for Q.
Inside gets a little wierd and I remember I didn’t quite get it my first trip. There obviously used to be a huge order counter like you’re familiar with at the fast food joints, but they put an oven or food warmer or something right in the middle and divided it up into two windows. The openings are very small. There’s not really room for anything but the cash register at the order window.
The menu is simple and what you’d expect. The special was a quarter chicken, but I didn’t need that while I was working. I ordered a pork sandwich and fries. Notice I didn’t say pulled pork. I passed on the drinking thinking I would stop at a Circle K on my way back. The total was barely over five bucks.
After placing the order, I walked down to the pick up window. There was a guy standing there who I thought said something to me, but he walked away before I could ask him to repeat it. I sort of turned my back too and when I turned around, there was a bag on the counter. I looked at the order slip on top and it was what I ordered so I grabbed it an left.
I chose take out, but if you were dining in, there are a couple dining room options, but again, think old fast food joint.
The fries and sandwich were wrapped together in a piece of aluminum foil. This is a pretty common serving option in the south. I’ve heard of places in Texas that wrap everything you order in on giant piece of butcher paper then hand it to you. That’s fine and it’s an interesting twist, but it makes eating the fries while driving a little tougher.
The fries are steak fries that were actually done pretty crispy. They weren’t too raw in the middle which is what I usually end up with. The nice thing about wrapping them with the sandwich is that you end up with a little sauce on the fries.
Once I made it back to the job site, I tore into the sandwich. Remember early I mentioned that it was a pork sandwich, not a pulled pork sandwich. It looked like there were some loin cuts and maybe some rib tips. It was definitely not a butt. The pork was served on a hot dog bun which is just cheap and not a good option. I asked for the hot BBQ sauce which was a mistake on my part. It was really good, but also really hot. I felt like I was eating sweet chicken wings. The sandwich was good, but the choice of bread really turned me off. Next time, I’d go for the mild sauce as well.
Li’l Porgy’s is a good option for BBQ and a better option than Famous Dave’s, but it’s not a great option. It’s not the kind of BBQ place that I would go out of my way for…and I do that a lot for good BBQ.