This past winter, after taking a web coding course, we both felt a hankering for Southern BBQ. Luckily enough, we were a town over from a restaurant we had heard of which supposedly had amazing Southern fried chicken and, something we always wanted to try, hog tails. The Lancaster Smokehouse, in Kitchener Ontario, is deceivingly bare on the outside, so much so that we almost passed it completely, but since we never judge a restaurant by it’s storefront, we weren’t concerned in the least.
The inside of the restaurant took us straight to the South with wood from floor to ceiling and the smell of BBQ permeating the air. The casual, rustic dining space was larger than we expected and featured a fairly centrally located bar. We arrived close to 5 and it was already starting to fill up. By 5:30 the place was pretty packed and we were glad we had already ordered our meal.
Since they don’t accept reservations on Fridays or Saturdays, we would suggest getting there early if you plan on having dinner on either of those days. As incentive for braving the crowds, there is usually live Blues music on these days which most certainly would intensify the Southern soulful, and soul food, vibe.
The menu offered a vast assortment of Southern, often Cajun, meals and sides. We opted for ordering what we had been craving all along, Southern fried chicken as our one dish and thought we’d try the beef brisket as our second. Since hog tails seemed to be a theme of the restaurant, it only seemed right to get a hog tail to try. We found the sauce on the hog tail to be a little over sweet for the meat and was a little overpowering but we’d like to give it a second shot as we weren’t sure what to expect our first time tasting it.
Texas Beef Brisket with molasses baked beans, Waterloo County potato salad and sweet honey cornbread – $18.00 CDN
The beef brisket was tender and while neither of us found the sauce to be our favourite, it was still a good pairing to the 12 hour smoked meat. The potato salad was the highlight of this dish, neither too salty nor too bland, and a perfect blend of flavours. The baked beans were also good and all together, the trio worked well.
The General’s Southern Fried Chicken with fries, braised collard greens and sweet honey cornbread – $17.00 CDN
The fried chicken we were craving on the way to the restaurant was, in our minds, crispy, juicy, and seasoned to perfection. What we got met those cravings exactly. Crunchy and seasoned well on the outside, moist on the inside, the fried chicken is definitely a recommended dish. The collard greens were good, if a bit bland, the fries were delicious and the sweet honey cornbread tasted fresh and home baked.
If you are looking for a Southern, bluesy restaurant to satisfy your Cajun and fried chicken cravings, this is a great restaurant. Even though it was crowded and noisy by the time we finished our meal, we found the fried chicken more than made up for it. A word of advice: choose your sides wisely as the perfect combination can greatly enhance the meal, while the wrong ones can detract from the overall experience.
574 Lancaster St W