Zellers: Shorty’s True American Roadhouse is long on flavorWritten by Don Zellers | | email@example.com
Even before you reach the hostess stand, the enticing aroma of smoked meat greets you as you walk through the doors of Shorty’s True American Roadhouse.
That’s probably because at Shorty’s, they don’t just slap some tangy sauce on some meat and call it barbecue. They do it right, slow cooking their meats in-house. The beef brisket and the pulled pork really get the slow and low treatment — cooking for 15 to 18 hours, depending on the girth of the particular meat being smoked that day. The meat is smoked with locally grown wild cherry wood, which gives it a nice, sweet flavor.
Our waitress greeted us with a smile and cheerfully informed us that we were at a locally owned business run by the Mancy family. This one is run by Nick Mancy, whose family has been running fine restaurants in the Toledo area since 1921.
I’m not sure why they decided to try their hand at BBQ with Shorty’s … I figure they probably said to themselves, “Hey, we’ve already mastered steaks, Italian and seafood, what else could we conquer?” Of course, I am glad they picked barbecue, which I personally consider one of the four major food groups.
The menu boasted a bevy of tasty sounding appetizers. I was drawn to the smokehouse chili: ground sirloin and smoked brisket, topped off with cheese and a dollop of sour cream. It was as good as it sounds.
I’ve got to admit, we didn’t even look at the steaks or burgers — we were there for barbecue. Pulled pork, beef brisket, ribs … My wife and I couldn’t decide, so we figured we’d try it all and ordered the Feast for Two. The name is kind of a misnomer. It is really only a “feast for two” if the two people are NFL offensive linemen or Joey “the Jaws” Chestnut and his clone.
The feast consisted of a half rack of ribs, a half chicken, piles of pulled pork and beef brisket, stacked on Texas toast, coleslaw, barbecue beans, French fries and a couple of moist cornbread muffins. We substituted the fries with some macaroni and cheese, which our waitress said was her favorite.
Shorty’s has two main sauces, their own private recipes. The original sauce has a smoky, sweet flavor, heightened by the hint of pineapple. The other sauce is quite a bit livelier, but the heat doesn’t stay with you for too long.
Since many of the meats are constantly being slow cooked, your order arrives very quickly. Our food came in less than 10 minutes. The only downside to this process is that the meat can sometimes get a little dried out. We didn’t have that problem, with the exception of a few small pieces of the brisket.
Shorty’s pork ribs have racked up quite a few awards and eating pulled pork and beef brisket are two of my favorite passtimes, but I was surprised to find that the real superstar of my barbecue feast was the barbeque glazed chicken. Meat so tender it took no effort to tear it from the bone, encased in some of the best-tasting skin I’ve had in eons. I suppose for health reasons, it’s probably good that you can’t just order a plate full of chicken skin, because I probably would have.
The mac and cheese was solid, but paled in comparison to the robust taste of the pulled pork infused barbecue beans. They were incredible, even reheated the next day.
Shorty’s dessert menu offers 15 different kinds of after dinner treats. Floats, milkshakes, puddings, cheesecake, sweet potato pie … sweet potato pie?! You don’t see that every day above the Mason-Dixon Line, so I felt compelled to try it and I was not disappointed.
As good as the food was, the service was even better. The prices were pretty reasonable for a barbecue place, and we took home two containers of leftovers, so the PPM (price per meal) averages out to be pretty inexpensive.
And if you can’t drag yourself off the couch to make it to Shorty’s True American Roadhouse, they will come to your house. Maybe that sounds too imposing. What I meant was, if you aren’t a certified grill master or simply don’t have the time, Shorty’s can bring their smoker to you and cater your party or special event. This leaves you more time to enjoy the barbecue, which is nice.
5111 Monroe St.
Open: Sun. – Thurs. 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Fri. -Sat. 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Don Zellers is co-producer of “Fred Lefebvre and the Morning News” and co-host of “The Benchwarmers” on News Talk 1370 WSPD. He is also the station’s Good Swill Ambassador. Don has enjoyed an unrelenting love affair with food for pretty much his whole life and has been known to put on “eating displays” for friends and co-workers.