First off, I must inform you that I've found someone to do some guest posts here at the PBR but I'll elaborate on that in a later post. I think I've found a way to keep things moving here and step out of the "bar box" I've been in since the start of this blog. During the semester I can't drink as much as I'd like. What this means is that when I do drink I tend to stay close to home, in other words I can't get out to new and different places. Even when the weekend comes around, I'm usually so burnt out I just hit up one of my locals like Last Chance or Recovery Room or the occasional trip to Katie McButt's.
However there is one thing I do a lot of during the school months, eat! So, I've decided to leave the bar reviews to the newest member of the PBR staff and I'll handle the restaurant reviews, starting right now. Here we go!
Hick'ry Stick Catering has been serving the Peoria area for 15 years. It was only recently though, that they opened their doors to carry-out and dine in customers. The business, located at 1122 E. McClure just a block off of Prospect. Mary Foster and her children run the business and provide a bright spot of entreprenuership in an otherwise dim neighborhood. Not only do they provide a badly needed business investment in the East Bluff but they themselves are invested in the neighborhood's progress. On opening day for the cafe, the Foster family donated 80% of its profits to charities and neighborhood associations. This is the kind of community involvement that is truly appreciated here at the PBR. If you want to know how the cafe came to be, check out this article by John Sharp of the Journal Star.
I stopped in yesterday for lunch. I was going to go to McDonald's (I know baaaaaad Chief!) but they were packed when it dawned on me...Hick'ry Stick! I couldn't remember exactly where it was so I figured I'd just drive around on the East Bluf for a bit. I took a right off Prospect and there it was, staring me right in the face. The parking lot is small, so it would probably be best to find a spot on the street.
From what it sounds like, the building that houses the new cafe was more or less abandoned when the Foster family purchased it in a foreclosure sale. Now, the building has been given a new life and quite a facelift. The decor is clean and tasteful, complete with a small electronic fireplace and a flame influenced, painted wall.
The Fosters did a nice job of providing some fresh landscaping and a new concrete ramp for handicapped customers. The dining area is small, with only three tables, so carry out is probably your best bet. I opted to sit down. No matter what decision you make, your food will be served in carry-out boxes but with food this good, I don't think you'll mind.
I had a pulled pork sandwich which was small but filling, with an order of fries. With tax, the meal was $9.34, a tad expensive but I'm willing to pay a little more to support a local business. The fries were fresh cut and fried to perfection with no grease. The sandwich was amazing! It was on good bread, you know, the kind that doesn't turn to mush by the time your done eating! The pork was perfect, not too greasy and not too dry. What really hit the spot was the sauce. At first, I thought it tasted a lot like Big John's; a not too thick, vinegar based barbecue sauce. While there are similarities there is one thing that sets Hick'ry River's sauce apart from any I've ever had. I noticed that the sauce had a purplish hue to it and by the end of my finger licking session I'm pretty sure I found the culprit. I'm almost positive that the barbecue sauce has a hint of cinnamon! Maybe this is something that is quite popular but I've never heard of it before and it was delicious.
There are a lot of other things on the menu at Hick'ry Stick, two that I'm interested in are the Porky Fries and the Beefy Fries, two appetizers that intrigue me. They also have beef brisket which grabbed third place for best entree at this year's Taste of Peoria, an avocado vegetarian sandwich, desserts, and even some homemade pinapple lemonade.
If you are interested in having Hick'ry Stick cater your event stop by their website, hickrystick.com. For coupons and event information go to their facebook page. To place orders or call in for carry out call Hick'ry River at 309-685-7600.
Cheers to local businesses and cheers to Hick'ry Stick Catering and Cafe!