Live, from Peoria, Illinois, it’s Saturday Night with this week’s host, Blue Duck Barbecue Tavern, with special guest stars, Ali, Kavan, Annie, Kelli, Chad and Lisa and featuring the Ready For Prime Beef Player, Marty Wombacher. And now, please welcome from Peoria’s beautiful riverfront, this week’s host, Blue Duck Barbecue Tavern!
Here we are at Blue Duck Tavern, one of my favorite Peoria restaurants. Old man winter is starting to rear his ugly and chilly head, so let’s get inside and warm up and begin our Saturday night!
As we enter the front foyer and then head down the hallway to the Blue Duck bar and dining area we have to pause and take a look at one of my favorite things in here, the fox with the top hat and pipe. It always makes me think of one of my favorite scenes from the movie, “Best In Show.” Click here to see it and the part I’m talking about happens at the 1:22 mark into the video.
As you can see they get a big crowd in here, especially on Saturday nights! Luckily a table opened up in the back just as I got there. Ali came over with an ice-cold bottle of Budweiser and Kavan, who’s the owner of Blue Duck came over to say hi. Kavan’s success story is incredible, he opened up Blue Duck just about three years ago here on Water Street with no experience or background in the restaurant business. He was working a finance job in Chicago when he said he got the idea to start a restaurant back here in Peoria. He and his faithful team designed the restaurant and Kavan created all of the recipes on the menu and I can attest this is not only some of the best barbecue in Peoria, but in the country. My favorite barbecue joint in New York City is Danny Meyer’s Blue Smoke and Blue Duck is every bit as good as that place, both in food and atmosphere.
I’m meeting friends here tonight and as usual I’m early, so let’s take some photos of Blue Smoke while we wait for them to arrive.
There’s an elevated dining area behind the bar with tables and booths to sit at and enjoy your meal. I love the wooden floor and how they’ve created a rustic meets urban vibe in here.
There’s a shot of the other end of the bar and the back of it. As you can see there’s a nice selection of beers on tap and there’s Annie behind the bar pouring a drink for a thirsty patron. Annie’s been here since it opened and it’s always wonderful to see her! And take a gander at this duck hiding out behind the bar with a bottle of Jack Daniel’s he just quacked open! Cheers!
Meanwhile, back at the table...
My friends have arrived! There’s Keli and Chad and Keli took the MBIP Camera and got a shot of Yours Fooly with Lisa! I met Keli and Chad after Keli won the last MBIP coin-counting contest. Keli owns a clothing boutique in Morton called, Thr3ads with her two sisters. You can check out and like her facecrack page by clicking right here. I’ve known Lisa since the early ‘90’s when she and her band, Safe Sex were featured in POP magazine, which I edited and published back then. I first met Lisa after the issue came out and I had a POP party at my apartment and she came with our mutual friend, Bloody Mess. She remembered the party as being filled with all kinds of people, from professors to strippers to other local musicians to ministers to eccentric people of all kinds. And she also remembered the bowls of cigarettes I’d put out! Those were some crazy parties and who’d have thunk that we’d be hanging out over two decades later! Great to see all of them and now it’s time for dinner!
We started out with an appetizer of one of my favorite things on the Blue Duck menu, their chicken wings! They won the MBIP wing contest a couple of years ago. If you like chicken wings and haven’t tried Blue Duck’s unique version of them, you need to get there ASAP and try them. Well, finish reading this post first and then go there.
After the wings Kavan started bringing our main courses to the table. I asked Kavan if we could have a special sampling meal of some of the items on the menu because Keli, Chad and Lisa had never been here before and I wanted them to try a lot of the lip-smacking flavors from the Blue Duck menu and he came up with a great dinner for us!
Here’s the plates of our sampling dinner, we had ribs, chicken, brisket, pulled pork, homemade biscuits, hand-cut french fries and five of the side items on the menu. What a feast!
I tried to get an aerial shot of the food on the table and these are three failed attempts. I love the first one when the MBIP Camera accidentally went off while pointed at Keli and Chad! Chad’s eyes are definitely bugging out there! Lisa offered to get on a chair and take the photo, but I have a control issue with taking the photos here so I kept snapping until...
I finally got one! And that’s my first plate of food, I had about two more and so did everyone else and there were still leftovers! We all agreed this was one fantastic, delicious and satisfying meal!
Chad was the only one who had room for dessert and he got a slice of their homemade Key Lime pie and said it was definitely one of the best slices of Key Lime pie he’s ever had!
Ali took an after dinner photo of us basking in our fullness from the meal! Thanks to Kavan and everyone at Blue Duck Barbecue Tavern for an amazing sampling dinner, we loved it! And thanks to Keli, Chad and Lisa for coming in from Morton to have dinner with me! It was great to see all of them and it was such a fun evening! Oh and I just want to reiterate to all three of them how much I hate and despise Rachel Ray! We’ll see you all tomorrow!
This was such an amazing dinner! There was so much tasty and delicious food it would take me forever to review all of it, so just take my advice and if you haven’t tried Blue Duck Barbecue Tavern, go and sample some of the delicious made from scratch meals, sides and appetizers on the menu. I’ve been there countless times since it’s opened up and not only have I never been disappointed, every meal has been a tasty and delicious journey into the world of spicy and savory barbecue dishes.
Four Stars—The Blue Duck Barbecue Tavern is all that it’s quacked up to be and more! Go and try it today...well, actually it’s closed on Mondays, so go and try it tomorrow, they’re open for lunch and dinner!
212 Southwest Water Street