At Hog Wild Restaurant, Dawn and Mike West marinate their baby back ribs for hours and slow-smoke their beef brisket and pork. It’s this Chicago-style “low-and-slow” cooking method that has helped the couple—who opened a pair of restaurants in the Windy City before relocating to Cottonwood—repeatedly win the Verde Valley Readers’ Choice Award for Best Barbecue in the Verde Independent. And the good press doesn’t end there; in 2009, the eatery earned recognition as one of the top six barbecue places in Arizona from the Arizona Republic, which praised the cooks for their “unforgettable” baby back ribs with “pitch-perfect sweet sauce.”
Hog Wild supplements its tender beef brisket, pulled pork, and ribs with nonbarbecue items, fittingly from the Wests’ hometown. Italian beef sandwiched between Chicago’s soft Gonnella bread, Italian sausages, and hot dogs topped with very specific fixings round out the menu.
For the location of the first Dillon's, Rich Dillon and George Valverde chose a 1940s Thunderbird Road structure that a writer for the Phoenix New Times described as "a cute, converted old house that looks like grandma's parlor." Since then, they've opened four more eateries in locations that are as appealing as the signature flame-kissed and slow-smoked meats served inside. Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium's shark tank flanks the dining room of Dillon's at the Wildlife World Zoo, and the boat-accessible Scorpion Bay location opens onto the waters of Lake Pleasant so that diners can chortle as fish attempt to develop democracy. Live music and karaoke lend additional social vibes to the smokehouses.
As the restaurant's name might suggest, the chefs at Shane's Rib Shack take their dedication to rib-sticking food seriously. It's what drove them to craft a menu loaded with sauce-slathered ribs, pulled pork, and chicken along with salads and homestyle sides such as mac ‘n’ cheese, Brunswick stew, and fried okra. In addition to heaping plates with hearty food, chefs also take dietary needs into account via a menu of gluten-free options.
Diners will not be stuck in the pits when they visit Thee Pitts Again. This family-owned establishment has been serving up southern mesquite barbecue dishes since 1979 and has won over 300 international barbecue competitions. Take your time and dig into the naturally smoked meat that spends up to 20 hours in their custom smoker. Host your party or gathering with savory beef brisket, or call up Thee Pitts Again for a custom pig roast! Since they are open every day of the week, there is no excuse not to try the pulled pork sandwich, breaded pork tenderloin or boneless beef short ribs. Thee Pitts Again does take reservations but offers delivery and takeout as well. Get digging until you find barbecue gold at Thee Pitts Again!
Whether you’re in the mood for Japanese or Korean cuisine, this restaurant has something that’s going to hit the spot. The décor and atmosphere is among the most pleasantly authentic in the area, and you’ll have a great time with a group of friends and family enjoying the Asian dishes. A full menu of teriyaki classics and tempura delights is available straight from the Land of the Rising Sun, but you won’t want to miss the Korean specialties. Order a few barbecue options, such as the Bul-Go-Gi (marinated beef rib eye) and the Gal-Bi (marinated beef short ribs), and cook them up right on the middle of your table. For a good time with great food, you’ll want to give this restaurant a visit.
For one afternoon each year, Lettuce Entertain You transforms one of its famed eateries into a mecca for brides-to-be, collecting the wares of both local and national retailers. Ladies linger over tables laden with dresses and invitations—categorized into vignettes such as elegant and vintage—as gown experts divulge their wisdom. To avoid being cut out of wedding photos, male counterparts sequester themselves in the Groom's Room, where man-friendly vendors toss out wardrobe and preening tips. Lettuce Entertain You disperses appetizers and drinks from a handful of their own top-rated eateries to prevent patrons from drooling over the dossiers of custom cake.