Atmosphere: We were aimlessly looking for grub on a drive to Cicero to pick up a friend, but as soon as I laid eyes on this bright red brick BBQ joint, I let out several yelps and demanded Jay to stop. I could smell the meat as I ran up to the building, which instantly kicked my salivary glands into overdrive. Then I noticed the BBQ was being smoked right in front of the building, next to a cute herb and spice garden. The inside is brutally decorated with ship flags and skulls and other trinkets… Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack played in the background. I lost it with excitement.
Service: It’s an order-at-the-counter joint; food served in plastic trays and paper. The staff was all really down to earth and got a kick out of my mini photo shoot. I believe it was the owner who actually dished out our food, which is always great to see. It was pretty clear they all enjoy working there.
Booze: None here, but the tea (orange pekoe, black tea, water, sugar and a lot of love) was so tasty I didn’t miss it. And… I was a bit tipsy when we showed up so neither did I need it.
Rib Tips | 1lb of tips, two sides & two garlic butter rolls $ 7.49
The Saigon Special | pulled pork topped with spicy mayonnaise, pickled red onions, carrots and radish, shredded pickles, fresh cilantro and jalapeños, all atop a freshly baked French roll $ 6.95… with two sides $ 8.49
The 12-hour-smoked tips were pretty darn delectable if I may say so myself. The serving was all tender, juicy meat; we left behind a single bone and a piece or two of gristle. The sauce was light to allow the smokiness of the meat to really shine through. I usually like to see few different sauce options for good BBQ, but I enjoyed the one enough to get it everywhere and thoroughly embarrass Jay. [With that said, don't accidentally pass up all the spice jars to your right on the entrance like we did. I would've liked to throw summa dat on there.] The side dishes were a little garden variety but still very tasty, and the rolls were drizzled in a yummy garlic butter to kick ‘em up a notch.
Jay ordered two meals, as per usual. He copied me with the tips because he’s a fuddy duddy, but also ordered their version of a Bahn Mi that I pointed out to him as soon as we walked in, knowing it was right up his alley. Luckily, it didn’t disappoint. He said, “The BBQ is alright… the coleslaw was ok. The sandwich is really good.” which is a ringing endorsement if you know this guy. You HAVE to love fresh and bright and hot and crunchy jalapeños on top of wonderfully smokey pulled pork, slathered in spicy mayonnaise.
Overall: Big Hoffa’s made my entire day. It was’t the best BBQ I’ve ever had, but the experience was very pleasant. They’re even attached to a little antique store, which we didn’t have time to check out but definitely will next time. As mentioned earlier, my Jaybird isn’t easily impressed… but we couldn’t make it out of the driveway before he was calling up his buddy to give a recommendation. My only regret was having no more room in my belly, as I saw another incredibly handsome sandwich being prepared right as we walked out.
800 E Main St
Westfield, IN 46074