There are at least four new businesses hosting ribbon-cuttings in downtown Elmwood Thursday night.
The new tenants are helping kick off the annual Strawberry Festival one-year after that devastating tornado ripped through the downtown area.
Eric Shangraw is checking out the food at one of those new businesses in this week's You Gotta Eat.
The Hickry Stick is moving into the old Elmwood Brewery building later this summer. But in a stroke of marketing genius, the Stick parked it's mobile kitchen unit on the downtown square last month and started serving barbecue.
"The french fries here are really good. And they have a barby sauce with their pulled pork. That's amazing," said customer Tyler Tannock. "I just can't get enough of it," he said.
The Peoria-based family catering company came to town to get into the restaurant business after an invitation by a local banker.
"He asked us to consider Elmwood after the tornado they had last season, on June 5th," said Executive Chef Ryan Foster. "And we came, we looked at the building, we fell in love with the building. Then we started meeting people in the community," he said.
We ordered from the mobile kitchen unit. The french fries are made with fresh potatoes to order.
Photographer Larry Faulk had the fries covered in pulled pork, cheddar cheese and a squirt of barbecue sauce. I had the beef with the previously mentioned cholesterol increasing agents. Hey, everyone is going die of something.
Customers have been eating outside on the square. But they let us in the future restaurant to hide from the rain as we indulged in lunch. Larry's pork was smoked for 12 hours before it saw the light of day and the inside of his mouth. My beef was smoked for 14 hours.
I thought the sloppy pile of goodness would require ketchup. I was wrong. The cheese and sauce seep all the way down to the last fry.
For dessert; peach cobbler. The mini-pie dish awakens youthful taste buds and harks grandmothers Sunday brunch.
Our bill with drinks; $18.00. When it opens, the restaurant will offer more than just gut busting barbecue.
"Our menu over there will have vegetarian options and salads," said Foster. "But here, this is what people want."
The Hickory Stick serves lunch on the square on weekdays and Friday night dinner. The carry out business in Peoria is on East McClure one block west of Glen Oak Park.
Catering and Carry-Out
1122 E. McClure