Wildhorse Saloon – Nashville, TN

6 10 2009
  • 120 2nd Avenue
  • Nashville, TN 37201
  • (615) 256-9453
  • Website
  • Menu
The Wildhorse Saloon on 2nd Street in Nashville, TN

The Wildhorse Saloon on 2nd Street in Nashville, TN

While BBQ may have been the thing I was most looking forward to on our trip, line dancing at the world famous Wild Horse Saloon may have been J’s. 

We weren’t planning on being in Nashville long.  We did our trip to the Opry, checked into the hotel, relaxed a little bit,  then headed downtown for dinner and dancing.

The Wildhorse Saloon is on 2nd Street in downtown Nashville.  It’s an old warehouse that has been converted into a three story bar.  The tree lined street that runs in front of it is sort of narrow, but there is street parking on either side.  The first time we drove by, we missed it.  The trees must have been covering the sign.  As we were driving around the block, we found the back service entrance, made a note of which businesses were around it, then drove back around to 2nd Street to try again. 

Once we spotted the building, we started looking for parking.  I didn’t see any garages, but I got lucky and found street parking right across the street.  The meters were off, so we didn’t have to pay to park in downtown Nashville. 

The Wildhorse doubles as a bar/restaurant and an entertainment venue.  There’s a gift shop with a separate entrance then the restaurant entrance.  There’s a ticket window inside the first set of double doors.  There was a cover the night we were there, but it was only $2, so I didn’t balk.  I was expecting it to be more. Read the rest of this entry »





Neely’s Bar-B-Que – Nashville, TN

4 10 2009
  • 2292 Rosa L. Parks Boulevard
  • Nashville, TN 37228
  • (615) 251-8895
  • Website
  • Menu
Neelys Bar-B-Q in Nashville.

Neely's Bar-B-Q in Nashville.

When J and I were planning our honeymoon, we decided we were doing a BBQ tour.  Originally, the plan included a stop in Memphis, but once we realized how far Memphis was from not only Nashville, but Lansing, we scrapped that part and will hit it later.  I was a little bummed.  I could spend a few days in Memphis just eating.  Screw the sights, bring me some good Q! 

Since we were going to Nashville, I knew there was still a way to get that good BBQ.  There’s one Memphis family who has a Nashville location as well and once we left Pigeon Forge, we went straight there.

Neely’s BBQ is on Nashville’s northwest side.  It’s located inside the Waterfront Plaza on Rosa L. Parks Boulevard which also goes at Metrocenter Blvd…at least according to our GPS.  When coming from I-65, it’s really hard to see.  In fact, we missed it and almost missed on the return trip.  It sits a little ways off the road and there are so many trees in front that you can’t see the sign.  There’s no signage out by the street either.  I could smell bbq, but I couldn’t find it.  Read the rest of this entry »





Tony Gore’s Smoky Mountain BBQ & Grill – Sevierville, TN

1 10 2009
  • 1818 Winfield Dunn Parkway
  • Sevierville, TN 37876
  • (865) 429-7771
  • Website
  • Menu
Tony Gores Smoky Mountain BBQ & Grill just outside of Sevierville, TN

Tony Gore's Smoky Mountain BBQ & Grill just outside of Sevierville, TN

Finally. We made it to the relaxing cabin high up on one of the Smoky mountains. We had a little trouble finding the place at first, but once we made it up, we changed into bathing suits to hit the top outside overlooking the wilderness. Great idea….until I got stung by a bee on my head. That hurt….a lot and it scared J from getting back in. I found some wasp & hornet spray, but it didn’t kill them off right away. I then dragged out a hose and tried to drown them out. No luck, so J called the leasing office and they sent someone up with more spray. He tried and thought he got rid of them, but they came back. So, we decided to go to dinner and give them time to die off. 

The Sevierville/Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area of Tennessee is really touristy and I’m not a touristy person. I don’t like fun I guess. I’m sure we’ll hit up some of the tourist spots while we’re here, but I really like the out of the way places too. 

On our way in to Sevierville, we passed a BBQ joint alongside the road. It looked like an old joint and there weren’t a lot of cars, but it was a Monday night. 

We drove back down the mountain and headed back the way we came. It was a few miles and I damn near missed it because the sign was knocked down, but I caught it out of the corner of my eye.  Read the rest of this entry »





Smokey Bones Barbeque & Grill

10 08 2009
  • 2401 Lake Lansing Road
  • Lansing, MI 48912
  • (517) 316-9973
  • Website
  • Menu
Smokey Bones Barbeque and Grill on Lake Lansing Road in Lansing.

Smokey Bones Barbeque and Grill on Lake Lansing Road in Lansing.

My curiosity finally won out.  Is it possible for a large chain restaurant to make good BBQ?  I’ve tried in the past.  I’ve eaten at a Corky’s franchise hoping for the best, but leaving feeling disappointed.  In my experience, the best BBQ joints are always locally owned, they smoke on site, and they serve Memphis style BBQ. 

Saturday was a pretty crappy day.  J and I both overslept due to the rain.  Our bedroom looked dark all morning and neither of us were motivated enough to actually look at a clock to see what time it was.  When we did finally roll out of bed, we started our Saturday ritual of debating eateries and activities to fill our afternoon before I had to go to work.  I had the BBQ craving and J had a GAP Rewards card, so Eastwood Towne Center seemed like the best option.

Smokey Bones Barbeque & Grill is just off of Lake Lansing Road in front of the Eastwood Towne Centre near the other chain restaurants that dominate the area.  It was a miserable rainy day when we pulled into the parking lot and fortunately, we found a parking spot near the door.  The main entrance does not face Lake Lansing Road like you’d expect it to.  It actually faces the access road for the mall.  Read the rest of this entry »





Michael’s Southern Style Jack Daniel BBQ

28 06 2009
  • Corner of Mt. Hope Avenue & Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd
  • Lansing, MI 48910
  • (517) 881-8720
  • No Known Website
  • Menu
Michaels Southern Style Jack Daniel BBQ on the corner on Mt. Hope and MLK in Lansing.

Michael's Southern Style Jack Daniel BBQ on the corner on Mt. Hope and MLK in Lansing.

I was all set to make tacos tonight when I got home from the baseball game.  For some reason, I took the long way home and headed down MLK from downtown.  I sort of did it for a reason, but I didn’t think of the reason until I actually started doing it.  Must have been one of those subconscious things.

A few days ago, I saw a tweet from @lansingonline about southern style BBQ on the corner of MLK and Mt. Hope.   There weren’t a whole lot of details, but the note said it was good.  Still, it brought up a lot of questions.  New place?  Guy with a grill?  What kind of BBQ? 

So, after I realized I was driving down MLK, I stayed on until I got to Mt. Hope so I could check it out.  When I got to the corner, I found a big red, white, and blue trailer in the parking lot of a party store.  I didn’t stop just then.  I went home where I casually mentioned it to J.  She was on board and we jumped back into my truck to get some BBQ.

We pulled into the party store parking lot and found a parking spot.  As we walked back towards the trailer, I could see a woman sitting in the front seat.  When we got to the side, we noticed a menu taped on the window.  They had everything I love about BBQ listed.  Pulled pork, ribs, Mac ‘n cheese, etc.  A minute or so later, a man walked around to the front of the truck and went inside.  Read the rest of this entry »





Honky Tonk BBQ – Chicago

16 06 2009
  • 1213 W. 18th Street
  • Chicago, IL 60608
  • (312) 226-7427
  • Website
  • Menu
Honky Tonk BBQ in Chicagos Pilsen neighborhood.

Honky Tonk BBQ in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood.

Since we were in the wedding planning mood, J and I decided to practice for our honeymoon by going out for BBQ….guess where we’re going for the honeymoon 😉 )  Last week, I put a post on Chow.com asking for a good place to eat before a White Sox game.  One of the places suggested was a BBQ place a few miles north of The Cell.  Unfortunately, the game is at 3:00 but the restaurant doesn’t open until four.  I showed the website to J and she suggested we go for dinner one night.

Honky Tonk BBQ is on 18th Street near Racine Avenue in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood.  We happened to luck out and the one parking meter directly in front of the restaurant was open, so we pulled in and fed the meter.  The restaurant is in a very unassuming building that looks like it’s the back side of the grocery store on the corner.  The door looks more like a service door than the main entrance, but the address was right and there was an “open” sign lighted in a window, so we assumed the door was right.  The steps up are pretty steep and the last step is a doozy if you’re not paying attention.

The restaurant is divided into two rooms.  There’s a few tables and a take out window when you walk in.  To the left right is another dining room that is a little bit larger with more tables.  We weren’t quite sure of procedure.  I went to the window and picked up a paper menu, but J noticed the menus on the table.  Someone in the kitchen told us to take a seat and a waitress would be right with us. Read the rest of this entry »





Backyard Bar-B-Q – Okemos

29 05 2009
  • 2329 Jolly Road
  • Okemos, MI 48864
  • (517) 381-8290
  • No Known Website
  • Menu
Backyard Bar-B-Q on Jolly Road in Okemos

Backyard Bar-B-Q on Jolly Road in Okemos

I’ve been pretty vocal on this blog about the lack of real BBQ joints in Lansing.  Sure, there’s a chain out near Eastwood and a guy who sells BBQ out of the back of his van, but there’s no real place that I can turn to when the BBQ craving hits. 

A few months ago, it was suggested that I try Backyard Bar-B-Q which has three stores in the Lansing Metro.  J and I tried to go for dinner one night, but they close at 7:00, so we missed it. 

This afternoon, J and I had to run some errands in Meridian Township including picking up our “passports” for the Be A Tourist In Your Own Town from a very rude Customer Service person at the Meridian Mall.  After that mess, we headed to Kohls to do some things then it was time for lunch.  J was running short on time and suggested we find a deli.  We were just talking about BBQ and it triggered Backyard Bar-B-Q.   Since we had to go back that way, it sounded good to both of us.

The Backyard Bar-B-Q in Okemos is in a strip mall on Jolly Road near the Okemos Road intersection.  We popped in jut before 1:00 on a Friday afternoon and the place was packed.  There were a few tables set up outside that were all full and most of the tables inside were occupied as well.  The store is not very big, but they do make good use of the public space.  The order counter is in the back near the kitchen.  There is a menu board nailed to the wall above the counter.  Read the rest of this entry »





Smoke & Spice Southern Barbeque – Windsor, ON

24 05 2009
  • 1515 Ottawa Street
  • Windsor, ON N8X 2G3
  • (519) 252-4999
  • Website
  • Menu
Smoke & Spice Southern Barbeque on Ottawa Street in Windsor.

Smoke & Spice Southern Barbeque on Ottawa Street in Windsor.

When I think of BBQ, I think of Memphis, North Carolina, Texas, and Kansas City, not Canada.  Still, if I find a good BBQ place, no matter where it is, I’m gonna stop in. 

My parents came to town for the Memorial Day weekend and wanted to go to Canada to gamble….just to say they gambled in Canada.  We had to go before the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative goes into effect because they don’t have passports.  I wasn’t going to argue.  Windsor is smoke free. 

Before hitting up the casino, we needed food.  Sure, we could have stopped in Detroit, but what would be the fun in that.  I thought I’d give my parents the full “Canada experience.”  Hell, J still compares my first trip to Canada to an airport layover.  I never actually set foot on Canadian soil.  This time, I was determined to get my feet on an actual Canadian street. 

After breezing through the tunnel and Canadian customs (I’m still amazed at the difference between entering Canada and the US), we headed through a couple neighborhoods to the corner of Ottawa Street and Gladstone Avenue to find Smoke & Spice Southern BBQ. 

Smoke & Spice is on a fairly commercial street.  That portion of Ottawa Street is a walkable business district although foot traffic was fairly light at 4:00 on a Saturday.  We found meter parking just down the street from the restaurant and started to feed the meter until we were stopped by a passerby who said that wasn’t necessary on weekends.  Read the rest of this entry »





Conor O’Neill’s Traditional Irish Pub & Restaurant

5 04 2009
  • 318 S. Main Street
  • Ann Arbor, MI 48104
  • (734) 665-2968
  • Website
  • Menu
Conor ONeills Traditional Irish Pub & Restaurant in downtown Ann Arbor

Conor O'Neill's Traditional Irish Pub & Restaurant in downtown Ann Arbor

One more day in Ann Arbor.  I was actually supposed to work another day, but the softball game I was supposed to work was moved to Saturday because of the threat of nasty weather.  J and I got a hotel to stay in Ann Arbor Saturday night.  Our plan was to go shopping on Sunday but before we could do that, we needed to find lunch.

We headed downtown to find the Prickly Pear after Amy suggested it to us.  When we got there, we found a menu outside and realized we weren’t really in the mood for Southwestern so we walked down Main Street until we found someplace to get sandwiches.

Conor O’Neill’s is on South Main Street in downtown Ann Arbor.  There are a lot of restaurants in the area and a lot of fancy restaurant in the area.  Conor O’Neill’s offers a more price friendly alternative. 

The outside of the building is painted in bright colors and really, it looks like a lot of other Irish pubs.  Inside, they have the typical decor.  There’s a lot of dark woods, old furniture, and Guinness signs.  The walls and ceilings are hand painted with words of wisdom.  We were shown to a table where one side was a padded bench an the other side had chairs that I thought I was going to break when I sat down.  It creaked pretty loud when I sat down, but the furniture really added to the overall look and feel of the bar.

The ambiance includes a lot of TV’s playing soccer games.  If watching soccer isn’t enough, the volume was up loud that it could have been heard over a live band.  It was obnoxiously loud for the one guy who was drinking at 11:30 on a Sunday morning and watching a Manchester United game because he probably doesn’t get the channel in his dorm room.  Read the rest of this entry »





Li’l Porgy’s Bar-B-Q – Champaign, IL

30 03 2009
  • 1917 W. Springfield Avenue
  • Champaign, IL 61821
  • (217) 398-6811
  • Website
  • Menu
Lil Porgys Barbecue on Springfield Avenue in Champaign, IL

Li'l Porgy's Barbecue on Springfield Avenue in Champaign, IL

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. Read the rest of this entry »