Hog Heaven

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Bigfoot BBQ

Catfish Po Boy – $9.99 or BBQ Tour Plate – $12.99

If there’s an odder restaurant location in northern Arizona than Bigfoot BBQ – tucked in the back of a clothing store in the basement of a mall in downtown Flagstaff – please email us. The eatery is screened off from the clothing store, though that didn’t stop us from spying a cute dress during our dining experience. The menu is divided into Truck Stop Creations (sandwiches inspired by creations found on menus at Southern gas stations), barbecue and Bigfoot Baskets (fried shrimp, chicken wings, etc.). While you’re waiting for servers sporting trucker caps to bring you your meal, nosh on shelled peanuts and take in the atmosphere. The walls are decorated with gas station signs, license plates, hubcaps, a shelf displaying dusty beer cans and, of course, sasquatch paper dolls.

Our personal favorite menu items include the Catfish Po Boy. The thin catfish fillet is breaded, fried and served on a French loaf with lettuce, tomato and remoulade sauce. (An incredible cocktail sauce is also served on the side.) We’re also crazy about the BBQ Tour Plate: hickory-smoked pork, brisket and three pork ribs served with your choice of two sides. The mac salad – macaroni, celery, tomato and spices – is awesome, and so are the seasoned fries, but you can also try fried okra, mashed sweet taters and onion rings. Bigfoot does not slather on the barbecue sauce, to keep it pure for those who want to taste the smoke flavor of the meat, but extra squeeze bottles of the tangy sauce are found at each table. The BBQ Tour Plate also comes with a thick slab of mouth-watering homemade cornbread served with butter and honey. And if you’ve saved room, the restaurant makes a fresh fruit cobbler every day.

Think Texas gas station…if that station shared space with a hip clothing store in the basement of a small mall in Flagstaff. Order at the counter and the waiter hollers your order to the kitchen staff. The floors are concrete, the walls are covered in kitsch, the peanuts are in the shell and a license plate acts as your order ticket. It’s all about having fun at Bigfoot.

Bigfoot BBQ, 120 N. Leroux in the basement of the Old Town Shops in downtown Flagstaff (928-226-1677)

Hog Wild BBQ

Huge Pork Chop Sandwich – $9 or Italian Beef Sandwich – $7.99

The moment you step out of your car at Cottonwood’s Hog Wild BBQ, the aroma of barbecued meats coming from the smoker in the parking lot makes your stomach growl with anticipation. You’re going to need to chillax, though, because the barbecue here is cooked to order, and it won’t be rushed. The incredibly friendly staff at the counter warned us that the Huge Pork Chop Sandwich – traditional or barbecue – takes a good 20 to 25 minutes to prepare. (The restaurant’s pork and beef brisket are slow-cooked for at least 14 hours.) But after one bite, we instantly agreed it was worth the wait. We ordered our meal barbecued, and the enormous piece of pork arrived smothered in a sweet sauce with two pieces of Texas toast on the side. Try as we might, there was no way we could finish this in one sitting. The sandwich includes a drink and your choice of side. We paid 50 cents extra and sampled the crinkle-cut garlic fries, which we loved.

Hog Wild also has a Taste of Chicago menu, so our companion, who claims it’s impossible to order a decent beef sandwich or deep-dish pizza this side of Navy Pier, tried the Italian Beef Sandwich. She was pleasantly surprised. The crusty Gonnella roll (straight from the Windy City) was stuffed with flavorful beef and a combination of super-tasty hot and sweet peppers. Au jus was served on the side, but she didn’t need it – the beef needed no accompaniment. This sandwich was also served with a drink and side, and this time it was the onion rings that won our hearts. Hog Wild’s menu is heavy on pork, but you’ll also find burgers, chicken sandwiches, salads and pizza.

Ambience: This is a real workingman’s spot with a parking lot filled with pickup trucks, shelves of trophies from barbecue competitions and tables covered with advertisements from local businesses. A mural depicting Chicago is painted on the back wall, and there are pig statues everywhere. The restaurant also boasts pet-friendly patio dining. A comfortable, no-frills atmosphere and bargain prices meant this joint was packed on a Saturday afternoon.

Hog Wild BBQ, 705 N. Main St. in Cottonwood (928-639-3232)

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