Theodore’s Booze Blues and BBQ
There’s a winning combination happening in downtown Springfield, Massachusetts.
“I can’t think of anything better than booze, blues and barbeque. Everyone loves barbecue? Kind of resonates with just about everyone from your neighbor to your family members. It really fills you up.”
And you’ll get your fill of Booze, Blues and BBQ at Theodore’s.
For over four decades, Theodore’s Blues, Booze and BBQ has been a neighborhood mainstay. Owners Keith Makarowski and Keith Weppler acquired this institution in 1999 and have been going strong since.
“Theodores was originally started by two guys named Theodore. And they had it for 20 years. And when they were ready to move on, they sold it to two guys named Keith.”
And the Keiths kept up the good time vibe Theodore’s has always been known for.
“Even though we’re in a downtown setting, it’s got kind of a homey feel. We’ve got all sorts of quirky, eclectic things on the wall and most of the bar is filled with everyday regulars. And then on Fridays and Saturdays the live music kicks in and then you get to have the full blues experience and then the meats come out.”
And smoking those meats out back is Chef Emily Menuier, who has a passion for the pit.
“I think it’s a labor of love for anybody that does it. I think it’s just a fun food to eat. It’s fun to play with fire. It’s fun to eat and get dirty. I think it’s a comfort food and it reminds people of family. How can you not love fire and smoke meat?”
There are many ways to begin your bbq, booze and blues experience. For traditional BBQ- there are slow smoked wings, slathered in your choice of sauce and the ultra-addictive burnt ends.
“It is a party in the mouth I would say yeah everybody refers to it as meat candy here. It gets some real nice caramelization with the barbecue sauce and the crispiness on the outside but the inside is just a perfect mix of fat and tender smoked meat and it just melts in your mouth.”
For a zippy spin on a southern classic, try the Spicy Pepper Corn Fritters.
“Oh my goodness, these are definitely hush puppies with a kick. We use our cornbread. And we.. add cheese and jalapeños. And then we flash fry them. Serve them with our chipotle dressing. It’s just a cool spicy take on on our Hushpuppies.”
And for some south in your mouth by way of Canada, there’s the Cajun Poutine.
“That’s our spin on the Canadian dish. We have seasoned waffle fries our homemade gravy, a spicy, sausage and cheese curds. And it all gets melted together and poured over top. You get absolute heaven in your mouth. It’s just amazing.”
What makes it so amazing is that at Theodores, they serve it with waffle fries.
“We do waffle fries here. They’re hardier for a poutine. It’s a good vessel for whatever you’re putting into your mouth.”
If sandwiches are your thing, there are options like the Hot Honey Fried Chicken Sandwich served with spicy honey, pickles and honey slaw. And then there’s the pulled pork- a sandwich made special with one key ingredient.
“A whole lot of love, nothing but love goes in and making the pulled pork sandwich. It’s a heaping portion of our shredded, smoked pulled pork. And we personally glaze it with our sweet bourbon sauce. And we top it with our homemade coleslaw on a bun. How can you beat that?”
Other handheld items include ribs. Like this slow smoked St Louis rack with your choice of sides like collard greens, mac and cheese and baked beans. Or the oversized, jaw-dropping beef short ribs.
“There’s nothing short about our beef short ribs. Fred Flintstone will be monumentally impressed with these ribs. And once you see them come out, you will be too. It’s ridiculous how big these things get.”
And if you want some ‘que that’s big on flavor, there’s nothing quite like the Sliced Brisket.
“Brisket, I would probably have to say it was one of the kings of barbecue. We’d like to think that we hold our own with that we rub, rub our briskets. Smoke for 12 hours. Every time you cut into it, it’s kind of nice smoke ring. It’s definitely got the juice pouring out of it. And it just really holds its own for a sandwich or a dinner.”
Theodore’s also has a lineup of southern specialties like Jambalaya- loaded up with shrimp and andouille sausage. Big bowls of Mac and Cheese with the meat of your choice and a smoked Meatloaf made with a top secret recipe.
“It’s our chef Emily’s homemade meatloaf recipe that she has not given to even us.”
“My meatloaf so good. I have to keep the recipe a secret.”
“It’s slow smoked over mashed potatoes and homemade gravy with our glaze bourbon barbecue sauce or dry and it makes you feel just like you’re at Grandma’s house.”
If you can muster up some room for dessert- the Bourbon Bread Pudding is a sweet way to end your meal.
“It’s like a gigantic New Orleans style french toast. Cinnamon, sugar, pecans. It’s all baked. And then it’s coated with our bourbon sugar topping. And it just, it’s so so good. It’s definitely the way to end your meal.”
And with big portions of some of the best BBQ in the area, you definitely won’t be singing the blues when you go to Theodores Booze, Blues and BBQ.