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Papa Bear's BBQ

Where are you eating and what do you think? What's opening, closing, succeeding, failing?

Papa Bear's BBQ

Postby TheBookPolice » Mon Jun 04, 2007 7:16 pm

What better time to check out a new establishment than on Day 1? A little stress test, if you will.

Papa Bear's BBQ was able to handle the stress. Sort of. Almost.

The interior remains largely unchanged from the Bull's BBQ days. Not surprising, since I'm sure Papa Bear was able to secure a sweetheart deal in buying the place (lock, stock, and laminated MDF tables, if you will). The only changes were some inspirational quotations in plain frames hung upon the wall, and menu boards painted simply, and adorned with just-modified-enough-to-avoid-infringement Berenstain Bears illustrations.

I ordered, for takeout, a small order of beef brisket for me and a small order of pork shoulder for the lady. Each entree comes with a biscuit (take that, Bella!) and two sides. We decided to try one of each, and that was where Papa Bear's ultimately stumbled on Day 1.

They forgot two of my sides.

Yeah, the corn on the cob and cole slaw were there (eh and eh-er, respectively). But the garlic roasted potato wedges and the baked beans were AWOL. Still hibernating, perhaps (that will be my only bear pun, I promise).

As for the meats themselves, they were pretty good. The shoulder, which was described to me by the server as pulled, was in fact sliced. But it fell apart pretty easily, and ended up looking shredded on the plate. It was good, with a smoky flavor and the right amount of sauce. The brisket was equally tasty, but in smaller supply (Bull's provided a good bit more, by my recollection, and shredded theirs). The prices were much lower than Bull's, as I ended up paying a little more than $12 for (what should have been) quite a bit of food.

The staff was very friendly and obviously trying their best (as well as in much greater number than the Bull's staff ever was). They were a little unsure of their offerings, and were struggling with the new registers, but eventually got it right. I am willing to cut them a good bit of slack, as I would guess their turnaround from purchase to opening was shorter than most eateries (due to the overhead already being in place).

Bottom line: They're not Bull's, but they're not supposed to be. Go there, and help 'em stay open longer. It'll be for their benefit and ours if they have more time to perfect their Q.
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Postby Bella » Mon Jun 04, 2007 8:16 pm

You had me at "biscuit"...where about is this one? I have never been to the previous restaurant...
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Postby TheBookPolice » Mon Jun 04, 2007 10:07 pm

4527 Cottage Grove Rd., next to the Cost Cutters and across the street from Walgreens.

(I always forget to give the addresses in these reviews.)
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Postby cubanat » Tue Jun 05, 2007 1:59 pm

Sounds decent enough, anything with bacon? hidden or not will do...
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Postby TheBookPolice » Tue Jun 05, 2007 2:04 pm

cubanat wrote:Sounds decent enough, anything with bacon? hidden or not will do...


Hmm... there might be bacon in the baked beans. I, unfortunately, wouldn't know.

They do have a signature burger, but I cannot recall if there was bacon on it. The menu's back at home.

You could always hide your own bacon, but that might be a subject for a whole new thread.
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Postby lukpac » Tue Jun 05, 2007 3:58 pm

Do they have a web site up yet?

I'm sure I'll just end up picking up a menu, but...
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Postby TheBookPolice » Tue Jun 05, 2007 4:05 pm

lukpac wrote:Do they have a web site up yet?

I'm sure I'll just end up picking up a menu, but...


I don't know of one. They've got a big old stack of menus to take home, though.
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Postby Chuck_Schick » Tue Jun 05, 2007 4:21 pm

TheBookPolice wrote:Hmm... there might be bacon in the baked beans. I, unfortunately, wouldn't know.

Not bacon per se, but loaded with pork shreds ... as they damn well should be. Can't remember if the burger had bacon, but I do recall it had something called "olive sauce" on it, so I'll be checking that bad boy out, fer sure.

I, too, went for takeout last night. Ordered a small order of the rib tips and a full order of the brisket. Got all my sides (went with the beans and garlic potato wedges), but only after the chick working the counter double-checked. It left me wondering if they'd made that mistake a few times already.

The thing that struck me as most odd was that the portions of brisket and rib tips looked about the same size, as did the portions of sides, despite the tips being a half order. But that might be explained by the fact there's a lot less meat on the rib tips than the brisket (duh).

First, the sides: The garlic potato wedges were really tasty. Not mushy--just the right firmness to them. I for one appreciate a potato side that isn't fried for a change. The beans were good. I think I might have liked Bull's beans better, but it's too soon to tell.

The rib tips were good and actually had a surprising amount of meat on them. I'm anxious to try a slab of the real deal. The brisket was good, but a bit different than I've come to expect from the average BBQ joint (not a bad thing, mind you). To me, it tasted almost like corned beef. And it wasn't fall-apart-at-the-slightest-touch tender, but it wasn't tough.

Service was a little slow, but I didn't expect anything else on opening day. They'll get into the swing on that score, I'm sure. Friendly folks, though.

Oh, my only other "complaint" was that there was no sauce out for carry-out (nor were there bottles on the tables, that I recall). Seemed like an oversight. Or maybe their squeeze bottles didn't arrive in time. But it's not like they spared the sauce on the items we ordered, so no biggie.

So far, so good. No religious epiphanies or anything, but the first sampling bodes well for a successful long run (I hope, I hope). I'll be back.
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Postby TheBookPolice » Tue Jun 05, 2007 4:26 pm

Chuck_Schick wrote:I do recall it had something called "olive sauce" on it, so I'll be checking that bad boy out, fer sure.


As should Marvell, from the looks of his "appreciation" for muffaletta.

Chuck_Schick wrote:Got all my sides ... It left me wondering if they'd made that mistake a few times already.


You're welcome.
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corn on the cob

Postby kulgar » Tue Jun 05, 2007 9:31 pm

I haven't ordered corn on the cob in a restaurant in twenty years because of total supply chain failure in all previous experiences (especially the Sun Prairie Corn Boil).

Is it really possible to find edible (and I don't mean as silage for the beasts) corn on the cob in a local restaurant on a reliable, repeatable basis?

I thought you had to pick it and run to the kitchen and throw it in the pot....
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Postby lukpac » Wed Jun 06, 2007 1:28 pm

Sigh.

I was a big fan of Bull's. No, huge fan. I thought the pulled pork sandwich was to die for. So naturally, I had high hopes for Papa Bear's. Stopped in for lunch today.

It wasn't terrible. It wasn't even bad. But it wasn't Bull's.

Pulled/chopped pork is nowhere to be found on the menu. I got the "Pork Shoulder" meal, which consisted of sliced pork covered in BBQ sauce. It wasn't bad, but I didn't think it was all that great either - and it didn't make me think of "BBQ". I was pretty excited by the garlic potato wedges, but they seemed pretty tasteless - just baked wedges with a hint of seasoning sprinkled on. I didn't order the corn, but alas, they gave me some anyway. There's a reason I don't eat corn at restaurants - it was terrible. Very mushy and not very sweet at all.

I think two or three other folks came in for takeout orders while I was there. One asked "What happened to Bull's?" The girl working at the counter said she didn't know. Another girl there said "Maybe they saw Papa Bear coming!"

I don't know...it isn't bad, but I guess it really isn't my idea of a BBQ joint, and it certainly isn't Bull's.

Sigh.
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Postby Chuck_Schick » Wed Jun 06, 2007 2:53 pm

lukpac wrote:Pulled/chopped pork is nowhere to be found on the menu.

It is a shame, I agree. The pulled pork at Bull's was the money meal, to be damn sure.
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Postby cubanat » Wed Jun 06, 2007 2:58 pm

lukpac wrote:Sigh.

I was a big fan of Bull's. No, huge fan. I thought the pulled pork sandwich was to die for. So naturally, I had high hopes for Papa Bear's. Stopped in for lunch today.

It wasn't terrible. It wasn't even bad. But it wasn't Bull's.

Pulled/chopped pork is nowhere to be found on the menu. I got the "Pork Shoulder" meal, which consisted of sliced pork covered in BBQ sauce. It wasn't bad, but I didn't think it was all that great either - and it didn't make me think of "BBQ". I was pretty excited by the garlic potato wedges, but they seemed pretty tasteless - just baked wedges with a hint of seasoning sprinkled on. I didn't order the corn, but alas, they gave me some anyway. There's a reason I don't eat corn at restaurants - it was terrible. Very mushy and not very sweet at all.

I think two or three other folks came in for takeout orders while I was there. One asked "What happened to Bull's?" The girl working at the counter said she didn't know. Another girl there said "Maybe they saw Papa Bear coming!"

I don't know...it isn't bad, but I guess it really isn't my idea of a BBQ joint, and it certainly isn't Bull's.

Sigh.


I'm sorry to say but: big time ditto for me. When the star of the show is the baked beans ya' know something ain't right in bear land.
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Postby lukpac » Wed Jun 06, 2007 3:36 pm

Chuck_Schick wrote:Can't remember if the burger had bacon, but I do recall it had something called "olive sauce" on it, so I'll be checking that bad boy out, fer sure.


BTW...:

"Topped with lettuce, tomato, American cheese and Papa Bear olive sauce on a Kaiser bun."

$4 w/ chips and a pickle.
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Re: Papa Bear's BBQ

Postby acereraser » Tue Jun 14, 2011 5:10 pm

Anyone been here lately? I've played a couple ultimate games at North Star Park this season, and noticed this place on my drive. I probably won't be able to resist trying it, but does anyone recommend it?
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