A Visit to the Dr. in Springfield

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saps
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2009/11/26 15:07:35 (permalink)

A Visit to the Dr. in Springfield

I took the family down to Springfield (IL) on Tuesday/Wednesday for a quick trip to the state capital and the Lincoln Museums. 
 
No pics, sorry.
 
Stopped by the  Dr. of BBQ on Tuesday.  Jack was more than hospitable.  We tried his ribs, beans, his BBQ parfait, pulled pork sandwich, and smoked sausage.  All of it was great, but a couple of things really stood out for me:
 
The smoked sausage, which I don't believe he has on the menu yet, was outstanding.  He put some of his BBQ sauce on it- I could eat it alone, in a sandwich, or for breakfast with eggs.  The sauce that he puts on his items doesn't overwhelm the meat; it complements it nicely.
 
The Pulled Pork- Juicy, smoky, just perfect.  I would have finished the sandwich, but he kept throwing new things at me.
 
The BBQ parfait- as seen on this thread http://www.roadfood.com/Forums/BBQ-Parfait-Art-Work-m550301.aspx.
I have to admit that I was skeptical about this, primarily because of the cheese.  I'm happy to report that everything goes together great.  I would definitely get this again, and it was perfect comfort food on the cold, rainy day that it was.
 
Jack, thanks again for everything.  And a word of warning.  If you visit the Dr. of BBQ, don't eat for about two days prior to your visit.  Jack obviously enjoys what he does, and takes a great deal of pride and care in doing it.
 
We stopped at Cozy Drive Inn as usual, and Jack sent us to Gabatoni's for pizza.  To me, Springfield wouldn't be on my list for good pizza, but they apparently have several good pizza places down there.  If there is anything that beats Gabatoni's, I'd like to see it.  Ultra thin crust pizza in an old school setting.  Everyone in the family loved it.  I'd put it a notch under Zaffiro's in Milwaukee, Broadway in Minneapolis, and Al's in Warrenville, IL.  If it were near me, it would be my go-to pizza place.
 
 
 
 
#1

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    BuddyRoadhouse
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    Re:A Visit to the Dr. in Springfield 2009/11/26 20:46:05 (permalink)
    He didn't send you to Top Cat's for pizza???  Actually, Gabatoni's is very good, too.  Jack took me to Top Cat's for the first time last October when I was passing through on my way to the American Royal BBQ in Kansas City.  Excellent thin crust pie!  Jack's other faves are Saputo's for old time Italian fare, and D'arcy's Pint for good pub grub in general and horseshoes in particular.

    As for his own menu, Jack truly does love his work and everything he serves reflects that.  For me though, his ribs are quite possibly the best I've ever had anywhere.  Like you I also find his sausages to be outstanding.

    I reckon he'll have a BBQ parfait waiting for me when we pass through at Christmas time.  In anyone else's hands I would think twice, but if Jack is serving it, it must be good!

    Buddy

    Top Cat's Chill and Grill
    1822 Adlai Stevenson Dr.
    Springfield, IL 62703
    (217) 529-4005

    Gabatoni's
    300 E Laurel St
    Springfield, IL 62703
    (217) 522-0371

    Saputo's
    801 E Monroe St
    Springfield, IL 62703
    (217) 522-0105
    www.saputos.com

    Darcy's Pint
    661 W Stanford Ave
    Springfield, IL 62703
    (217) 492-8800
    www.darcyspintonline.com
    post edited by BuddyRoadhouse - 2009/11/26 20:47:55
    #2
    Dr of BBQ
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    Re:A Visit to the Dr. in Springfield 2009/11/26 22:09:34 (permalink)
    The visit from the Sap's was great fun. What a nice family, and thank you for the kind words on my food.

    Every time someone visits I learn more about food from other cities and I wish I could get on the road more often to try the places that my RoadFood visitors tell me about. And Bert's is the place I have to see ASAP. I'm intrigued and to tell the truth Buddy has not told me much about it. But it sounded like what I'd like to do with BBQ, a very small place that serves very good food.

    The day after the Saps visit, Brad Olson stopped in and I was knee deep in Turkeys. They were supposed to be fresh but when they were picked up they were at best 3/4 frozen. So I was struggling to remove the stainless steel wire tying the legs together and frankly beside myself with pliers and a screwdriver trying to pry the darned think off. I was up against the clock to get the turkeys on the smoker so they would be ready for pick  up at 4:00 pm. To be perfectly frank I was considering getting out my Milwaukee Cordless Sawzall. LOL What a pain. 

    But that said Brad was not at my place to eat, he was on his way to Farmersville, to eat, (I'm sure he will post a trip report), and he brought me a six pack of my favorite beer. Wow and how did he know I drink Busch Light, I guess from his last visit. I was impressed and as I write I'm drinking the beer that he brought. Very cool Brad thank you. 

    Jack
    #3
    BuddyRoadhouse
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    Re:A Visit to the Dr. in Springfield 2009/11/26 22:42:55 (permalink)
    Jack, if you want to know about Burt's I will give you the full rundown when I see you on our Christmas trip.  I'll email you with dates and we can go grab a bite.

    Buddy
    #4
    Dr of BBQ
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    Re:A Visit to the Dr. in Springfield 2009/11/26 23:03:13 (permalink)
    Buddy,
    I do have a couple of BBQ parfaits with your name on them and I'm anxious to hear what you think of them. I may have to stick a rib in there for you.

    But my new sausage sandwich is a Smoked Sausage  (a Fattie)  it's not original to me but when I tried one and tasted it I thought they were pretty good. But when I dipped a piece in BBQ sauce it was outstanding, so I gave away a few free samples and even though it's not on the menu it's got a few fans, and when I rewrite my menu I think it'll be a good seller.

    Jack

    PS Buddy thanks for posting that list, I have meant to do that for ever, here are some others.

    Top Cat's Chill and Grill
    1822 Adlai Stevenson Dr.
    Springfield, IL 62703
    (217) 529-4005

    Gabatoni's
    300 E Laurel St
    Springfield, IL 62703
    (217) 522-0371

    Saputo's
    801 E Monroe St
    Springfield, IL 62703
    (217) 522-0105
    www.saputos.com

    Darcy's Pint
    661 W Stanford Ave
    Springfield, IL 62703
    (217) 492-8800
    www.darcyspintonline.com

    Joe Rogers’ Original Recipe Chili Parlor,
    820 S. Ninth St.
    522-3722
    Open Monday - Saturday
    closes at 4:00 pm
    Owners Ric and Rose Hamilton.

    Krekel's Custard
    2121 North Grand Avenue East
    Springfield, IL 62702
    217-525-4952
    http://www.krekelscustard.com

    Cozy Dog Drive In
    2935 S 6th St
    Springfield, IL 62703
    (217) 525-1992

    Doctor of BBQ
    2709 S. 6th Street
    Springfield Il 62703
    (217) 744-9999
    www.DrofBBQ.com

    Cook's Spice Rack & Chili Company
    910 N Grand Ave W
    Springfield, IL 62702
    (217) 492-2695


    Charlie Parkers
    (with a new owner)
    700 North St., Springfield, IL
    217-241-2104
    www.charlieparkersdiner.net

    D&J Café
    Since 1974"
    915 W Laurel St
    Springfield IL
    217-753-1708

    Mel-O-Cream Donuts
    3010 S 6TH St
    525 N Grand Ave East
    (217) 529-7708  6th ST
    (217) 528-2303  N Grand
    Springfield, IL 62702

    Maid Rite
    118 N Pasfield St
    on Jefferson Street
    Springfield, IL 62702
    217-523-0723

    Joe's Chili Bowl
    2401 S. Macarthur Blvd.
    Springfield, IL 62704
    217-793-0613

    Pease's Candy
    "Pease's Always Pleases"
    State & Laurel
    Springfield IL
    217-523-3721

    Clay's Popeye's Bar-B-Que
    1121 S Grand Ave E
    Springfield IL
    217-522-0386
    closes at 6pm
    #5
    BuddyRoadhouse
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    Re:A Visit to the Dr. in Springfield 2009/11/27 01:33:07 (permalink)
    You know Jack, on second thought, before I come down there and fill you in on Burt's, I'm going to give you a little homework assignment.  I've got some links for you to check out, here, here, here, here, here, and of course, the Anthony Bourdain visit on the Travel Channel's No Reservations.  In fact, if you go to Google and type in "Burt's Place Morton Grove", you will find hundreds, perhaps thousands of links to reviews, chat rooms, blogs, and assorted miscellany related to Burt's.  The postings are alternately heartening, horrifying, and hilarious, filled with good information, misinformation, and down right poor assumptions.  As a fellow business owner in the food biz you will be amazed by the depth, the breadth, and the idiocy of the opinions expressed in the links above.

    Once you've had your fill of this nonsense and are filled with awe and wonderment at the near hysteria that a tiny little suburban pizza place that only seats 35 people has caused, I will come visit you and give you the real story; the good, the bad, and the ugly.

    Looking forward to seeing you in December,

    Buddy
    #6
    EatingTheRoad
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    Re:A Visit to the Dr. in Springfield 2009/11/27 08:20:29 (permalink)
    Buddy, I'm am so intrigued by this place. I love restaurants and owners that know people will continue to eat there because they make such a good product regardless of anything else, all they care about is the food (like Soup Nazi). It's always such a funny thing to me...I'm a huge advocate of customer service and cleanliness and such but when you see places like this that continue to do amazing despite these things it's always an interesting study.

    So I watched the video and read through some of the reviews. I guess the way to go is to order before and take it to go. I want to hear your take on Burt's and Burt himself. There is so much written up on this place...crazy. I love this photo:


    #7
    ScreamingChicken
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    Re:A Visit to the Dr. in Springfield 2009/11/27 18:56:56 (permalink)
    Dr of BBQ

    But that said Brad was not at my place to eat, he was on his way to Farmersville, to eat, (I'm sure he will post a trip report), and he brought me a six pack of my favorite beer. Wow and how did he know I drink Busch Light, I guess from his last visit. I was impressed and as I write I'm drinking the beer that he brought. Very cool Brad thank you. 


    You're quite welcome, Jack.  I hope you finally won out over the turkeys; the one you were dealing with when I stopped looked like it was giving you quite a battle.
     
    The Farmersville stop can be summed up in one word: closed.  As in, "no lights on and 'For Rent' sign in the window".
     
    We're staying in Springfield (Stevenson and Dirksen) tomorrow night.  If you're not open I hope one of the other places on the list elsewhere in this thread is!
     
    Brad
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    Dr of BBQ
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    Re:A Visit to the Dr. in Springfield 2009/11/27 23:16:37 (permalink)
    Brad,
    I'm open tomorrow from 11:00 until 7:00 PM. I don't currently have a clean up guy so after I close at 7:00 PM I'll gladly go somewhere with you and have something to eat and then come back and clean up my place. Or you can eat at my place, what ever you want.  Just shoot me an email Jack@DrofBBQ.com or call me at 217-685-1333 cell phone 217-744-9999 BBQ trailer or 217-529-9000 home phone. Let me know what you want to do or how I can help.
    Jack
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    BuddyRoadhouse
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    Re:A Visit to the Dr. in Springfield 2009/11/28 00:55:30 (permalink)
    EatingTheRoad

    Buddy, ...I want to hear your take on Burt's and Burt himself. There is so much written up on this place...crazy.



    ETR, it is kinda crazy isn't it?  Rather than me commenting further on Burt, let me direct you here to my initial post on LTHForum (about 8 posts from the top of the page) regarding Burt's Place.  Following my post you will find a long list of posters who finally discovered Burt's and loved it.  Less than six months after my post, LTH awarded Burt it's Great Neighborhood Restaurant Award.  After that opening flurry of attention came articles in Time Out Chicago Magazine, Saveur, several articles in local newspapers, and finally the visit from Anthony Bourdain.  If you did the Google search, you can see that the internet coverage seems to go on seemingly forever.  If you come in, check out the guest book at the front door.  You will see entries from all over North America, Asia, Europe, Australia, and South America; all people who saw the Bourdain program and made a point of coming to Burt's.

    My biggest regret in all of this is that with the overwhelming business of late, I haven't been able to make myself a pizza on a Saturday night in months...

    Buddy
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    EatingTheRoad
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    Re:A Visit to the Dr. in Springfield 2009/11/28 08:32:40 (permalink)
    My biggest regret in all of this is that with the overwhelming business of late, I haven't been able to make myself a pizza on a Saturday night in months...
    Wow, I didn't realize we were in the presence of royalty. So the LTH post was from April 2006...when did the No Reservations bit (I find that funny because you apparently must have reservations if you hope to get a pie ) originally air and when did it start getting crazy busy? Has it been just non-stop? I would love to hear stories about this place...I'm sure you've got a load of them....any good ones you can think of off the top of your head? Do you have local (or national) "celebrities" coming by or is it too busy for them types to bother?

    After reading through a lot of the different opinions this picture and statement from Josephine seems to sum up the majority stance on Burt's v Pequod's:


    Pepperoni: (Pequod's pepperoni (at right) are arranged like fish scales) 

    A second round of tasting yielded data consistent with our earlier impressions. Burt's was the winner on every count. (Texture of crust, level of carmelization/char, balance of ingredients, amount of cheese, sauce, assembly, seasoning, and toppings) Pequod's seems a brute of a pizza, heavy and salty. Burt's on the other hand, is a charmer with a lighter touch and a sense of how to pull it all together. I'll let you decide for yourselves about the decor. But I'll be going back to Burt's for my pizza with jazz, not poker.

    post edited by EatingTheRoad - 2009/11/28 08:33:57
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    BuddyRoadhouse
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    Re:A Visit to the Dr. in Springfield 2009/11/28 14:32:11 (permalink)
    My initial post at LTH was, as you mention, in April of 2006.  The GNR Award came later that year as did the Time Out Chicago article.  Saveur's all Chicago issue came out in October, 2007, and Bourdain did his taping in August of 2008; the actual show hitting the air in February this year.

    Each new bit of exposure has increased the traffic flow.  The real "problem" with the No Reservations show is that the Travel Channel reruns the episode every other week, so there is no let up in the new customers who are seeing the show for the first time.  Everybody who sees it thinks they are the only ones to have the idea to come right over and get a table resulting in lots of people turned away almost every weekend.

    Those who are smart enough to call, do so days in advance.  If they can't call that far ahead, they are calling as early as 9:00am; seven and a half hours before we open.  It is not unusual for us to tell people when we open the doors at 4:30pm that there will be a two to three hour wait for pizza.

    When callers hear how long the wait is, they assume it is based on table availability.  The truth is, it is based on oven space availability and the fact that there is one guy back there making all the pizzas, pulling them from the ovens, cutting them, and wrapping those that are ordered "to go".

    The links I posted include negative comments along with the overwhelmingly positive notes.  Once you understand that Burt's is a very small operation with generally two people doing everything (one person running the floor, Burt in back handling the kitchen), you come to realize that the negative posters are usually some very self centered people who are annoyed that they just didn't get their way; that the world didn't stop and let them get their pizza.

    As for stories to be told, Burt is the master story teller.  He is a world traveller who has driven across Asia and Europe back during a time when you could move about freely in countries that we have since been, and in some cases, still are, at war with.  The problem these days is finding time when he can sit down and regale you with his tales.

    BTW, I'm hardly royalty.  I'm just some guy who has been fortunate enough to work with Burt for about 36 years, starting as a sophomore in high school who didn't plan to work there for more than a year.  Funny how life works out sometimes ain't it?

    Buddy
    post edited by BuddyRoadhouse - 2009/11/28 14:35:13
    #12
    Dr of BBQ
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    Re:A Visit to the Dr. in Springfield 2009/11/28 15:36:05 (permalink)
    Pretty amazing story, and I read each and every link. One thing that I noticed was the similarity in some of the post.

     It gave me the impression that some of those that were disgruntled had not written their own review but instead copied others and then tried to give it a slight twist hoping no one would notice.

    But my god in every post or at least in 90% it said call ahead, and it was highlighted constantly. and I started to ask why in the world wouldn't people call ahead but I deal with the public every day so I know the answer. I refer to them as G.M.F.

    In fact I think that should be a defense in court, I can hear the attorney now:

    Your Honor, my client pleads G.M.F. because he is!

    Jack
    PS Please don't be offended it's just my style of humor.



    #13
    EatingTheRoad
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    Re:A Visit to the Dr. in Springfield 2009/11/28 18:24:40 (permalink)
    Weirdly enough...Slice just posted this video this afternoon (automatically plays):
    http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2009/11/video-anthony-bourdain-at-burts-place-morton-grove-illinois.html

    Dr of BBQ what's G.M.F. ...Genetically Modified Foodiedots?

    P.S. I don't know if I've ever heard the term foodiedots...I'm coining that
    #14
    Dr of BBQ
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    Re:A Visit to the Dr. in Springfield 2009/11/28 23:17:29 (permalink)
    Dr of BBQ what's G.M.F. ...Genetically Modified Foodiedots?

    The first word is Goofy, you can guess the rest and I think it's true of a large percentage of the people in this country. And that's sad.

    I've never heard the term foodiedots...and I guess you should coin that . LOL

    Jack
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    6star
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    Re:A Visit to the Dr. in Springfield 2009/11/29 00:34:48 (permalink)
    Not to be picky, but I think the word you are looking for is spelled foodidiots and pronounced foo-did-e-ots (or something very close to that). 
    #16
    EatingTheRoad
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    Re:A Visit to the Dr. in Springfield 2009/11/29 12:27:30 (permalink)
    Dr of BBQ, ah hah...get it now

    6star, you're right it should be foodidiots...definition is something along the lines of "one of those pretentious persons who believes themselves to be a foodie who frequently asserts their taste as correct (and fact) not realizing that taste is subjective. They are often found mouthing off on various online forums and boards including Yelp, Urbanspoon and Chowhound."
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    BuddyRoadhouse
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    Re:A Visit to the Dr. in Springfield 2009/11/29 14:45:21 (permalink)
    EatingTheRoad
    6star, you're right it should be foodidiots...definition is something along the lines of "one of those pretentious persons who believes themselves to be a foodie who frequently asserts their taste as correct (and fact) not realizing that taste is subjective. They are often found mouthing off on various online forums and boards including Yelp, Urbanspoon and Chowhound."


    But never, ever here at Roadfood, eh?  Dang, they don't make one of them smilies with a skeptically raised eyebrow...use your imagination.

    Buddy
    #18
    EatingTheRoad
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    Re:A Visit to the Dr. in Springfield 2009/11/29 14:53:59 (permalink)
    Haha...never
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    ScreamingChicken
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    Re:A Visit to the Dr. in Springfield 2009/11/30 10:28:25 (permalink)
    Dr of BBQ

    PS Buddy thanks for posting that list, I have meant to do that for ever, here are some others.

    Top Cat's Chill and Grill
    1822 Adlai Stevenson Dr.
    Springfield, IL 62703
    (217) 529-4005


    Thanks for pointing us in the direction of Top Cats, Jack.  We had an excellent thin pizza there this past Saturday and the fried walleye was pretty good, too.
     
    Brad
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    BuddyRoadhouse
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    Re:A Visit to the Dr. in Springfield 2009/11/30 14:53:37 (permalink)
    Brad, I hope the good Dr. advised you to order the pizza with the crust intact.  For some reason Top Cat's thinks they should remove that excellent crispy outer edge prior to serving the pie.  When I visited, Jack had pre-ordered for us so the food would be ready when I pulled into town.  He told me about their odd crust removal policy and explained that he had instructed them to leave the pie whole.  As it turned out he was spot on with his request; the crust being the absolute best part of Top Cat's exemplary thin crust pizza.

    Hope you had a great trip.  Looking forward to a report.

    Buddy
    #21
    EatingTheRoad
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    Re:A Visit to the Dr. in Springfield 2009/12/01 08:23:47 (permalink)
    You're good Doc...you're good.
    #22
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