As you know if you’ve been reading my blog lately, I have been kind of picky about where I will eat right now due to concerns about safety. We are only eating outside and I am looking for places with nice space, employees who are following the rules and you can see they are taking precautions. One of the first places we went—and one of the places we go the most right now is Big Lug. I love their patio right on the Monon and we all agree that we really enjoy their food. So I am just going to highlight a few of our favorite things we’ve had over the last few visits. We have our regular favorites and have tried several specials recently.
To start with, I love the slushy alcohol drinks they are offering this summer-there’s a frozen margarita and a rhubarb version as well—they are even better swirled together (between $9-11). My family also usually orders the fried cheese curds ($8) to start as well—my kids describe them as fancy cheese stick nuggets. I like that they give you a couple of dipping sauces as well—green goddess and chipotle sauce. Both are good. They know how to fry things well at Big Lug and you will see that theme continue on several other things we typically order.
Like the “People’s Champ” ($7 small/$11 large) (large pictured) for instance, which is sort of like their version of a popular fast food chicken sandwich—they brine the chicken in pickle juice and then fry it in their light batter. Its served on a small or large knot bun with more pickles. This is a very good sandwich and is typically ordered by someone at our table in either the small or large size.
Oh—and for the last month or so they’ve also started doing breakfast bagel sandwiches on Saturday and Sunday mornings and these are tasty as well—pictured is the bacon, egg and cheese bagel ($5) but they have a bunch of other flavors too—a good option if you’re out on the Monon in the morning.
Burgers here are also a good option and I have had the Phrisco Melt on numerous occasions. The fam also often goes for the straight poutine, particularly when the weather is colder. But what has been one of the most popular sandwiches with the male half of my family recently is the Cuban ($8 half/ $12 full). It has braised pork belly, ham, Dijon, Swiss cheese, dill pickles and all on a smashed grilled Hoagie bun. It’s very well done for sure.
Recently we have had a couple of specials as well—most recently I had the Heirloom BLT special ($14). These were beautiful sliced heirloom tomatoes, lots of bacon, Bibb lettuce, and everything spiced mayo. I liked that they season the tomatoes and that they cut the bacon into smallish pieces, making it easy to eat (although making me sad when a couple pieces fell on the ground). I had the onion rings for my side (I appreciate the flexibility that they give you to switch out any sides you want—even though I am sad to see the tater tots are off the menu. I have a weakness). This sandwich was great and was exactly what I wanted for a summer lunch. And these are exactly the kind of tomatoes you want on a BLT—I like that they wait til they have good ones in season to offer this sandwich. One of the last times we went we also tried their specialty taco pizza ($12) which was very interesting with a tortilla layer on top of the crust and then, ground beef, refried beans, pico de gallo, cheese, black olives, green onions and some drizzled sour cream.
All in all, this is one of our regulars that everyone can agree to. I like that that they have a weekly specials menu to give some changing options, that they change the regular menu every once in a while, and that there are many things on the regular menu that are super tasty. I also appreciate everything the owners have done to support the local community during this pandemic from offering groceries from their restaurants to opening one of their restaurants to Second Helpings. This is a place that is worth supporting for that alone, but the food is damn good too.
Big Lug Canteen
1435 East 86th Street