As a native of Texas, I spent my childhood exposed to incredible, authentic smokehouse barbeque. Moving to the Midwest only served to underline how uniquely succulent (and rare) Texas pit-cooking is. On a recent family outing, however, I discovered The Texan in Algonquin, about an hour northwest of the city.
The ribs were smothered in a rich, smoky sauce and fell off the bone into neat strips onto my plate. Even the garlic mashed potatoes were pungent, and quite bold; I was left scraping the sides of my cup to get every last bit of flavor. Their coleslaw was creamy and tangy, a throwback to the Texas style I remember as a kid, straight from my elementary school’s cafeteria near Dallas. It’s funny how in so many ways, The Texan felt like a time machine or portal back to my childhood in Arlington, Texas, and in suburban Chicago of all places.
As if the food weren’t enough, the décor and down-home vibe of the place is a siren call for Guy Fieri’s producers. Nearly every inch of the walls are covered in southern slogans, fake cacti, and reminders to buy a bottle of sauce for $3.99. In typical Texas fashion, the beer is found in an ice bath, ready to be scooped out as the soggy labels wilt off the sides of the bottle. The gruff, often boisterous atmosphere is appealing. While eating dinner, I watched a man pull Bud Light Lime cans from a knapsack he had brought with him, along with what looked like homemade sandwiches in plastic baggies. The picnic-in-a-restaurant approach seemed more than all right to the waitresses bustling past his table.
101 N. Main St
Algonquin, IL 60102