It’s week number 42 here in our year of sandwiches and it’s time once again to hit the road for a sandwich sampling outside of the Peoria city limits. And that can mean only one thing...
A knock on the door!
There’s MBIP Contributor, Pal and Wheelman for our road trips, Scott Turley striking a Sean Penn-like pose. It’s only a joke, but that pose will prove prophetic as this post moves along, but I’m jumping the gun here. Let’s hit the road and our destination this afternoon is The Corner Inn in Elmwood, Illinois. This place has a meatloaf hoagie on the menu that sounds really tasty. Plus, from its facecrack page, it looks like a friendly neighborhood place in Elmwood, a town I’ve never been to. So let’s hit the road!
And we’re off. The Corner Inn is right over here, on—surprise—a corner here in Elmwood. Scott led the way in and well, sometimes things don’t always go as planned here when you’re doing a daily blog. The first thing we learned as we went in was that they don’t have the meatloaf sandwich on the menu anymore. Strike one! Next the bartender wouldn’t let me take her photo and the vibe in the bar really wasn’t too friendly towards us. Strike two! Then she pointed to a man at a gaming machine and told me he was the owner and I should take his picture. When I asked the gentleman if he owned the bar he told me that he didn’t. Strike three and we’re out of there! I felt bad because our friends Amber and Joe drove all the way here to meet us and then the blog didn’t happen here. Scott did have a back-up plan, but they had other things to do in the afternoon, so they decided to head back to Peoria. Thanks to both of them for making the effort and sorry The Corner Inn was a bust-out, maybe you can try again on the next road trip. And so now it’s on to Scott’s backup plan...
Scott said he knew of a place not too far away called Big Catz BBQ. I was a little leery of a BBQ place named after a cat, but seeing as we were running out of time, I decided to sit back and see what happened next! There’s a drive-by shot of the place, we parked and...
Wow, this joint is really big! I like the Texas roadhouse look of it. There’s Scott leading the way inside, so let’s go in and hope they’re a little more camera-friendly than the last place!
It’s giganzo in here! The sign says to seat yourself and as you can see, Scott already did just that! He got us a nice spot at the corner of the bar. Now it’s time to see if we can get a photo of the bartender!
Katie’s the pretty bartender on duty and she was happy to pose for the MBIP Camera! Nice to feel welcome here, I think this place is going to work out just fine!
Katie pointed out the gentleman sitting nearby and told us he was the owner. We introduced ourselves and this is Tom Worden who owns the place along with his wife Debbie and daughter Michelle. Tom told us they opened the place in October of 2015 and business has been great. He said that everything here is made in-house including the side dishes and sauces. Scott and I each decided on a sandwich and then Tom said I could take pictures anywhere I wanted to in here. So it’s off I go, with the MBIP Camera in hand!
Here’s a shot from the other end of the bar and the back wall behind the bar. There’s tables directly opposite and as you can see, the walls are loaded with sports-related photos, articles and art. More about that in a minute!
This is the dining room that’s on the other side opposite from the bar. As you can see, it’s very large with ample seating and tables. There’s some of the Sunday specials and a neon sign lighting up the paneled wall.
As I mentioned there’s more sports items here on the wall than you can imagine! You could spend an entire afternoon looking at all of it! Two teams that are heavily featured in here are Notre Dame and the Chicago Cubs. Here’s some of the Notre Dame memorablia including a signed jersey from Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger, the inspiration for the true-life Notre Dame movie, “Rudy.” Very cool!
Here’s some of the Cubs memorablia on display. There’s even more than that, but I had a feeling that it’s getting close to sandwich time, so it’s back to the bar...
And the sauces have been placed in front of us and I think it’s time for our lunch to begin!
We started off with an order of the Haystack Fried Onions and they were delicious! They were lightly battered and crispy and savory on the outside and the onions were tender and sweet inside. A nice start to our meal. But now it’s...
Sandwich time! Scott got the Pulled Brisket Sandwich and it’s a third of a pound of smoked brisket piled high upon a fresh bun. He also got an order of potato salad and here’s his review of his sandwich and side dish, take it away, Scott!
I ordered the "Pulled Brisket". I love beef brisket, but rarely do you find tender brisket. This is a great way to serve it. It was perfect. Smokey and flavorful and with their homemade sauce, it was the best I've had in recent memory. It really did melt in my mouth. And as if that wasn't enough, the tater salad was awesome. Not many places serve homemade tater salad. It's labor intensive and really hard to pull off. This place does it very well. The brisket sandwich really deserves four Dagwoods.
On a side note; This is a sports fans paradise. I've never seen so much memorabilia in one place except museums. Big Catz is well worth the drive to Knoxville.
Thanks, Scott, and now it’s onto my sandwich, the MBIP sandwich of the week...
I got one of their signature specialty sandwiches called, "The Big Catz Porker." (Insert your own cat/sex joke here.) This sandwich is a grilled tenderloin with cheese, grilled peppers, onions and a pile of smoked pulled pork on top of it! It’s served with their homemade potato chips and the chips were really crispy and tasty. Now onto the main event of the day...
I added some of the house-made barbecue sauce to the sandwich and dug in. It wasn’t an easy feat to eat it with my hands, but I managed to pull it off! The tenderloin was meaty and with the pulled pork, melted cheddar cheese, peppers and onions, it was a festival of flavors in my mouth! It was kind of like a barbecue version of a Philly Cheese-Steak sandwich. The food here is really good and I’d like to return to try more of the BBQ on the menu. The menu is really extensive and you can check it out by clicking right here.
Tom asked me to mention a special event happening at Big Catz this Friday evening. It’s the Beard Palooza and there’s nine trophies being given out and music by Staggard. There’s no admission and you can read more about it on their facecrack page. Thanks to Tom, Katie and everyone at Big Catz for the great sandwiches and friendly hospitality. And thanks, as always to Scott for driving and having a great back-up plan and to Amber and Joe for stopping by at the first stop. Hopefully the next time will work out a little better! We’ll see you all tomorrow!
Four Dagwood Bumsteads—The BBQ meats at Big Catz are smoked and made on the premises and everything here is made in-house, even the sauces! If you’re a BBQ fan, you should take a drive and check the place out! And if you’re a sports fan with a leaning towards Notre Dame or The Cubs, you’ll really enjoy the sports theme, photos and art in this spacious pub.
221 E. Main Street
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