Smalleys Caribbean BBQ – Stillwater, MN
I got a msg from my buddy Will a few nights ago, and he wanted to do something for supper, and suggested Smalley’s Caribbean BBQ in Stillwater. Having passed the place a number of times, and never been the right time to stop in, I said I was all in for checking it out. Smalley’s has been around a little over a year, located on the south end of Stillwater, on the east side of Main, right across from the old brewery caves. They’ve got a page on Facebook I’ve been following, and they appeared to have some pretty good parties there, (especially for their 1yr anniv) and also great food and drink.
I headed out in the GRAFFE in hopes of a good meal, and a chance to catch up with Will for a bit on a sunny evening on the St. Croix. I arrived, and Will had already gotten a table outside on the back patio. The interior seemed a little dark, however, I had just come in from outdoors and my eyes had yet to adjust, so I’m sure once inside, all was well. The venue used to be Esteban’s way back in the day, but aside from the general construction of the place, you didn’t know it. There were pirate themed decorations, including rum caskets for planters outdoors. They have a front patio area along Main, and also a patio out back, which a bar that opens up to the patio, in addition to a regular bar in the main area of Smalley’s. They had caribbean/island music playing in the background, enough to be heard, but not distracting over a conversation. Rumor has it, they really kick up the amps on weekends or evenings when they have live music playing.
Our server was quite prompt and cheery, and gladly took our drink orders, and Will also got an order of the chicken wings with Jerk sauce and ranch. One thing to note, if you are looking for rum, this is the place. Of the 11×17 menu, the back 1/2 was nothing but drinks, some with and without alcohol. Of that page, 1/2 was consumed by various types of rum varying in price from $3, up to over $40. You can have it on the rocks, straight or mixed in a drink. You have plenty of options. I opted for the Gosling Black Label rum with a splash of Diet Coke for $5.00. Will got an order of the Tortuga rum, also at $5.00 on the rocks. We both enjoyed our drinks, being a Captains fan, I was excited to taste my drink. The Gosling had a bit of sweetness to it, similar to what you might find in the Captains Jamaican Black Label (something unavailable in the states) – It was certainly a good drink to sip thru conversation and dinner.
The wings arrived and they looked awesome, they were a pound of wings for just under $10.00. I stole two from Will, and the jerk sauce was simply excellent. The wings we agreed must have been smoked and then and had the sauce applied towards the end, as they were moist, tender and full of flavor. Also, the dipping ranch was very good as well, and didn’t taste like your generic stuff from a gallon jug. It complimented the wings very well, and I could almost make a meal out the wings themselves. They also offer a BBQ twist as well, maybe something to try next time.
Our food arrive without too much delay, but it was long enough to realize it wasn’t something that was thrown in the microwave, and the taste backed that up. Will ordered the pulled BBW sandwich with the beer battered plank fries, and I opted for the chicken sandwich. When we got our meals, the first thing we noticed was the branded bun, with the pirate logo charred into the top of the bun. We both thought this was a pretty neat added bonus to further set the meals at Smalley’s apart from other establishments. Will commented on the onion strings on his sandwich, and was impressed with his first bite. I was half expecting a hunk of chicken on a bun, like you find at most other places, but NO. This appeared to have been slow cooked/smoked chicken, same fashion as the pork, in true BBQ fashion, with the sauce actually soaked into the meal, not just globbed on at the last minute of prep. My sandwich had a large chunk of bacon across the top, covered with cheese and a shallot mayo sauce. We were both amazed at the food. The taste surpassed my expectations by far, and I savored every bite of that sandwich, no doubt about that. The only downfall was the shallot was a little soggy so I removed that, otherwise, I couldn’t have been more pleased.
The plank fries were also very good, beer battered and with a hint of some sweetness, almost like a brown sugar hint, but barely enough to really know what it was, which was great, a little mystery in what made the meal so great! The fries were done just right for me, medium cut ‘planks’ done up to be just firm and a bit crispy outside, and moist in middle, not carbonized and not dripping in grease, another win for Smalley’s.
Will ended up getting some pecan pie to go, and he later sent me a photo of the dessert. It was about a 5″ personal pecan pie, seeing as we didn’t look before we left the restaurant, it was a complete surprise and bonus for Will when he found that.
My bill was just about $15.00 + tip for my meal and drink. Will’s was closer to $30, as he had the wings for an app, and the pie (which was $7.50, but looked worth every penny, and more than a single serving)
I will certainly return to Smalley’s to check out more of the rum selection, and something else on the menu. If you are in Stillwater for whatever reason and looking for some place to eat or catch a drink, I will hands down send you to Smalley’s. You can check out their Facebook page here.
Have you eaten at Smalley’s? If so, what are your comments? If not, what are you waiting for! I hope they stick around for quite awhile, because Stillwater has had a void since Trump’s changed hands and closed many years ago.
Smalley’s Caribbean Barbeque
423 Main St S #A
Stillwater, MN 55082-5180