By Nick Boose, Reporter
When a place is named All-American Barbecue, there are certain expectations, and this tiny Sugar Grove fast food spot lives up to them.
Let’s get one thing straight: this place isn’t the fanciest. It’s very casual and a little cramped inside, with seating for just two people and a counter for the staff. What All-American Barbecue does have is good barbecue.
The staff said the BBQ pulled-pork sandwich ($5.25 with fries or $4.75 with chips) is their specialty, so that’s what I ordered. It was a generous portion of shredded pork covered in tangy, sweet barbecue sauce and served up on a soft bun. It was one of the best pulled-pork sandwiches I have had, which is especially nice because it’s the only place in Sugar Grove selling pulled pork. The sandwich came with a small portion of thin-cut fries, which were decent overall but a little on the greasy side.
One warning: the service is very slow, so the best thing to do is call in an order and then go pick it up. After I called in, I had to wait 30 minutes for my food; once I got to the establishment, I stood at the front counter for five minutes before it was ready. And don’t expect a fancy presentation — mine came wrapped in tinfoil in a paper bag.
But the food makes up for the slow service. Beyond pulled pork, All-American Barbecue features an All-American menu that ranges from traditional Chicago-area favorites like Italian beef ($4.95 with fries) to a half-pound hamburger ($4.50), hot dogs ($2.25 with fries), pizza (prices vary), and a variety of typical American appetizers, including mozzarella sticks ($4.95), jalapeno poppers ($4.95) and chicken wings (prices vary) .
The Italian beef is the other specialty, according to the staff. It was a traditional Italian Beef sandwich. The beef was finely sliced, drizzled with juice and tucked into a crusty Italian roll. It came tightly wrapped in tin foil and was accompanied by chips or fries. Though it was good, there was nothing special about it.
Honestly, something everyone expects is a hamburger from every American-style restaurant. All-American BBQ’s version did not disappoint. The hamburger was monstrous. It was a thick portion of beef with just the right balance of meat and topping, and it came piled high with the standard ketchup, mustard, onions, tomato, lettuce, pickles and mayo. All-American BBQ certainly isn’t the only place to get a hamburger in Sugar Grove, but it’s one of the better ones—and while it’s not surprising that it would be better than McDonald’s, it is surprising that it was better than the burger at the far more elegant Fireside Grill.
All-American Barbecue is a great place to grab a bite to eat and is a welcome addition to Sugar Grove’s limited restaurant scene. It’s located at 80 S. Main Street, near John Shields Elementary. Call orders in ahead of time to avoid a long wait; their phone number is 630-466-5000.