Okay, yesterday I put up a contest because I had to delay this sandwich of the week post until today. Part of the contest was guessing where I ate this week’s sandwich and only one person got it correct. And that person is none other than my friend and MBIP Contributing Writer, Chip Joyce! However, there was a second part and that was to guess what year I got tattooed on my right forearm. Chip guessed, the restaurant correctly, which is Pioneer Smokehouse, but he guessed the wrong year!
So i’m going to change the contest a little bit and if you can correctly guess the year (and there’s a hint about that on yesterday’s post), you can have lunch with Chip and I, you’ll get the fire truck book and you can split the 50 bucks with Chip. So feel free to guess here or on facecrack! If anyone guesses it right, I'll reveal that on tomorrow's tattoo post. Now let’s carry on with the latest sandwich in our “Year In The Life Of A Sandwich” series without any further hesitation!
Here we are at Pioneer Smokehouse in Pioneer Park. This place opened up a couple of months ago and I’ve been meaning to try it. I saw some pictures of sandwiches they serve here on their facecrack page and decided to stop in and try them out. And as you can see by the sign on the door, they are open, so let’s go inside and start our 28th week of sandwiches!
The sign says that a hostess will seat you, but there’s no hostess there at the station. I was about three seconds away from grabbing my ankles and bursting into tears when all of a sudden...
A hostess appears and all is well in my world again! This is Bri, who’s not only the hostess, she’s also a waitress and she’s got a great smile and is really nice! She said she’d give us a little tour and we could decide where to sit. I love her!
There’s lots of places to sit in here, there’s tables lined up against the wall when you first walk in and then there’s a block of wooden booths directly behind that. Off to the right of that block is another dining area and on the far left of the building is tables and more booths lining that wall. It was there that I picked a booth and finally plopped down and settled in for the afternoon.
One complaint I did hear after this place opened was that they didn’t have any beer here, but as you can see, that problem has been solved! In addition to the ice-cold bottle of Corona that Bri is clutching, there’s eight other varieties to choose from and there will be more added along with wine and a full spirits menu soon. Sip ahoy! As I looked at the menu I saw that there’s eight different sandwiches to choose from, so I went for some help with my decision for this week’s sandwich from...
J.B. who’s the General Manager here at Pioneer Smokehouse. J.B. had some suggestions for me and even showed me some photos of the different sandwiches on his phone! We decided on a sandwich and then J.B. took me in the back to show me a Pioneer Smokehouse project that’s currently in progress...
It’s a bar here in their back room! As you can see, it’s still being built, but this will give us an excuse to come back later for a Saturday night dinner when this bar area is completed. J.B. said they plan on having live music back here once it’s all set up, so I’m looking forward to that! But now...
It’s sandwich time! Here’s Bri with this week’s sandwich!
J.B. and I decided on a sandwich they serve called, The Hogzilla. This is a monster of a sandwich with a slice of smoked Brisket, pulled pork as a base and that’s topped off with full slices of bacon, onion rings, lettuce and tomato. And it’s housed in a buttered and toasted bun! It looks so good!
It’s served with three homemade sauces and I decided to put all three on the sandwich! Hey, let’s just live like there’s no tomorrow, okay?
Here’s the sandwich all sauced and ready to go. I put the lid on it and it’s ready for the first bite...but first...
Let me just say something about the potato chips they serve here, they are fantastic! They’re homemade chips, salted and dusted with Parmesan cheese and they are so good! Even if you don’t like barbecue, you need to come out here and try these, they are so light and tasty! They should sell bags of these to go!
And now, ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to bite into the Hogzilla, the 28th sandwich in this year of sandwiches tour!
Wow, this is such a wonderful sandwich! So many flavors and textures are packed between the top and the bottom of the bun, it’s hard to describe, but here goes! The brisket is smoky and has a nice charred edge to it. The pulled pork is tender and really juicy. Then the onion ring and bacon kick in and this sandwich is like a buffet on a bun! A buttery and toasted bun, it is so good!
After the sandwich I said goodbye to Bri and J.B. and made my way towards the front door and as I did, a memory kicked in when I saw the doors leading to the beer garden outside. This place used to be Cassano’s Bar back in the ‘80’s and this is where I saw Richie Havens in this beer garden decades ago with my friend, Tim. I’ve written about this before, but this story is included as a bonus below, if you've never read it or would like to read it again! Thanks to Bri, J.B. and the fabulous cooks in the kitchen at Pioneer Smokehouse for a wonderful sandwich!
Four Dagwood Bumsteads—This sandwich has everything on it, pulled pork, brisket, onion rings and bacon and it is a delicious combination! And don’t forget to try the potato chips!
1112 W Pioneer Pkwy
Related Posts: A Year In The Life Of A Sandwich @ Childers Eatery In Junction City, Arby’s, The Chef And The Baker, 4th & Goal Grill, No Wake Zone, Agatucci’s, The Downtown Diner in Morton, The Exchange in Delavan, Big Behm’s Sports Bar & Grill, Chick-Fil-A, Jimbo’s Jumbo, Grandpa John’s Rib Shack, Khaki Jack’s, Blue Duck Barbecue Tavern, Green Gables Bar And Grill, Kenny’s Westside Pub, No Wake Zone, Picco’s Pit Bar-B-Que And Steakhouse, The Fox Pub, Leonardo’s/La Gondola, Castle’s Patio Inn, Kuchie’s On The Water, The 50’s Diner, Donnelly’s Pub, The Mix Sandwich Works, Nacho Mama’s and Jim's Steakhouse.
One of folk singer’s Richie Havens’ biggest claims to fame is that he was the opening act at the legendary Woodstock music festival that happened in the summer of 1969. That was probably one of the greatest times of his life. I can’t officially say this, but I think after you read this story you might just agree with me that I was probably responsible for one of the worst times in his life.
Sometime in the early ‘80’s, I was driving home from work and heard an ad from an FM station for a local bar announcing that Richie Havens would be playing in their beer garden on the following Thursday night. I was intrigued. The bar was called Cassano’s and it was located just a few blocks from the apartment complex where I lived at the time and it was kind of a dump.
The bar itself was dark, had a couple of pool tables and a vintage jukebox in the corner. Off to the side of the building was a beer garden with a couple of picnic tables. It would be lucky if fifty people cold fit in there. And Richie Havens was going to be playing there? Talk about your Spinal Tap moments! “Hello Cleveland!” Well, I guess that should be, “Hello Peoria!” Or maybe just, “Hello Beer Garden.” Anyway playing in Cassano’s beer garden was a gig I would’ve expected a local band to turn down. But Richie Havens? This guy had sold a lot of records through the years, was the opening act at Woodstock and was a famous musician. Sure, Peoria was probably a pit stop on the way to a bigger gig in Chicago, but still...Cassano’s beer garden? I knew one thing though, I was going to go.
Thursday night came and I picked up my friend Tim. Tim and I have been friends since we were freshmen in high school and both of us love music and absurdist humor and this was going to be both of those rolled into one. Tim got in and as I made my way to the bar I pulled out a big slab of hash wrapped up in tin foil from underneath my car seat. And I’m not talking roast beef hash either, I’m talking hashish. I had bought this off of a drug dealer friend of mine and he assured me it was top grade shit. And it was a big slab, like five inches by five inches. Tim was impressed with it and asked if I had a hash pipe in the car and since I didn’t we decided to eat it. Tim broke the slab in two and then broke those two in two and we each ate a quarter of the slab. I was sure that was enough to really get us fucked up. And it still left half the slab for later if we were so inclined.
It was like eating sandy dirt, but luckily Tim had brought a can of beer for each of us for the ride, so we quickly ate the hash and washed it down with the beer. Soon we pulled into the back of the gravel parking lot and made our way into the inner sanctum of Cassono’s Bar. We sat at a table off in a corner of the dark and smoky bar and ordered bottles of Budweiser. Two bikers were playing pool and there were assorted older hippie type people hanging out at the bar and sitting at a couple of the tiny beat up, wooden, cigarette burned rectangle tables.
After about a half an hour I asked Tim if he felt anything from the hash and he said he didn’t. I was certain my drug dealer friend had burned me, so we each ate another quarter of the slab. About five minutes later I started to feel really stoned. So did Tim.
“I’m starting to feel really fucked up,” I told Tim.
“Me too,” he shot back. “Wait’ll the second quarter kicks in.”
“Oh, shit,” I mumbled and then we both started laughing uncontrollably. The bartender was staring at us and so was everybody else in the bar because we couldn’t stop laughing.
Right around this time the door to the beer garden opened up and a guy announced, “Anybody with tickets to see Richie Havens, can come into the beer garden.”
Still giggling we made our way to the door, we dutifully handed the guy our tickets walked into the beer garden. The beer garden was basically just part of the parking lot that the owner had put a fence around. Inside the fenced in area were two small picnic tables, some folding chairs and a steel garbage can to throw your empties into. Pretty exotic, huh? For this night they had pulled the tables back and a little a little make-shift wooden stage was built with a microphone stand on it. A round metal stool was placed directly behind the microphone.
Tim and I sat in a couple of the beat up white folding chairs and scoped out the rest of the “audience.” They were all older hippie types, with ponytails, faded denim and they all looked thrilled to be having this intimate show with the guy who opened Woodstock. All in all, the total audience count including Tim and I was probably around fifteen. A far cry from the 500,000 he performed for at Woodstock.
After about twenty minutes the same guy who took the tickets at the door walked on to the small wooden “stage” and said into the microphone, “Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the legendary Richie Havens.”
And out from the side of the bar he emerged, acoustic guitar in hand to as much enthusiasm as a fifteen person crowd can muster up. Tim and I were higher than projectile moonbeams and we were laughing our asses off. To his credit Richie Havens walked right out with a beaming smile as if he was walking into a big concert hall gig. He looked pretty much the same as he did from years previous and he was wearing jeans and a white cotton shirt. He thanked everyone for being there and started in on some meandering story about a wedding he had just been to and about what it had meant to him.
Tim and I were really fucked up at this point and I said to him, “I’m so high I can hardly stand it!”
I thought I had said it to him normally, but he told me later I had said it really loud, and that I almost shouted it. I was so stoned I wasn’t in control of my speaking levels, I guess. Well, this caused everyone to turn and stare at me and Richie Havens even stopped his stupid little talk and he was staring at me too. I was so high and now with everyone staring at me it was too much. Paranoia had struck deep and I had to flee these staring faces.
I turned to Tim and said, “Let’s get the fuck out of here!”
That said we both got up and ran out of the beer garden, through the bar and out to the back of the parking lot where my car was. We jumped into the car and we both started laughing uncontrollably. In between our laughter I said to Tim, “Watch this.”
Then I started my car and drove it over to the beer garden fence and positioned my car directly behind Richie Havens and I pulled it up as close to the fence as I could get it. He was singing, “Here Comes the Sun.”
I put the car in park and then laid on the horn. This stopped the song and some people were screaming at us, calling us assholes and various other sundry names. I let up on the horn blowing and Richie Havens started singing the song again. Then I yelled out the window, “Hey Richie here comes the sun,” and I started turning my headlights off and on and honking the horn again. What a jerkoff I was, but it was some funny-ass shit, let me tell you. Tim and I were howling with laughter. It was one of those stoned mind-tickling moments that can only happen after eating about a quarter block from a brick of high-grade hashish.
By now tears were streaming down our faces and Tim shouted out, “Oh shit!”
This caused me to look in his direction and the burly bartender and about five guys were running towards my car. And they didn’t look too pleased. I threw the car into reverse, backed up and then floored it out of the parking lot, spraying gravel at the angry fellows in our wake. We went to another bar and laughed ourselves silly over our adventure. Tim and I still talk about it to this day.
Just the fact that he could only drum up about fifteen people to come see him in an entertainment-starved city must’ve been depressing enough for Richie Havens. But then to have two stoned out hash-heads blow you some serious shit from the parking lot must’ve really made for a bad night in the life and career of one Mr. Richie Havens.
Richie Havens died in April of 2013. I like to think that right before he died, his memory flashed back to that night and it was that memory that pushed him over the edge. Yes, I’m still that much of an asshole. Ha ha ha!