There is a new arrival in Thornton-Cleveleys that has brought the tastes and flavours of America’s southern states to the Fylde coast – Hickory’s Smokehouse has arrived.
The first Hickory’s Smokehouse opened in Chester in 2010 – since then, other restaurants have opened in the north with the Thornton-Cleveleys Hickory’s opening in September this year.
Arriving on a late Sunday afternoon, we were surprised by how busy the restaurant was – obviously, our fellow diners knew something we didn’t. The car park was nearly full, though thankfully we had reserved a table. Considering that we are living through a cost-of-living crisis, I am amazed always at how busy restaurants and hospitality businesses still are.
The distinctive outside architecture of Hickory’s makes it stand out – think of an American southern ranch and you will get an idea. Inside, the theme continues with country music being softly played over the PA system, and a long salon-style bar will catch your eye before you are seated in one of the cosy booths or other seating areas.
With a small indoor movie theatre and outdoor play area for children, Hickory’s is very popular with young families – though of course the restaurant is aimed at anyone who appreciates good friendly service, tasty food, and dining somewhere that is a little out of the ordinary.
“Kids enjoying quiet time in the cinema room gives adults the time to savour a well-deserved moment of peace whilst feastin’ on our authentic BBQ food. Thank us later”Hickory’s Smokehouse
Our fellow diners ranged from 20 years of age to at least 70. Curious to find out how people knew of Hickory’s, I asked diners sitting adjacent to our table how they discovered the place. The consensus seemed to be one of curiosity with most remembering when the premises used to be a Greene King pub and wanting to discover the Hickory’s experience. All who I spoke to were complimentary when discussing their visit and wanted to return.
Reviewing the menu
The menu is printed newspaper style on a broadsheet where a tempting array of options greets the hungry diner. The aromas wafted across from the kitchen and it felt like we were in Texas not Thornton-Cleveleys! A bowl of popcorn was swiftly placed on our table to whet our appetites, along with a jug of water – a good start where the quality of service never faltered.
We started with a starter of classic corn dogs (£8.50). Three sausages dipped and fried in a cornmeal batter, served with South Carolina barbecue sauce, crispy shallots and bacon bits. Be warned – they were very filling and best shared between two as they were a hearty start to our meal.
For my main I chose the go big or go home burger (£19.99) with three toasted buns, two prime-beef patties, a Southern fried chicken fillet, streaky bacon, magic-dusted pork collar, a hash brown, and two slices of American style cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles and Hickory’s burger sauce. Served with skin-on fries and house slaw. The name really gives the game away – I only managed half of the stacked burger and had to take it home (the restaurant will box up any of your leftovers to enjoy at home).
My partner decided upon the Texas style brisket (£20.00) and described it as one of the most succulent briskets she has ever tasted. Cooked “low ‘n’ slow” for 16 hours, each brisket is served warm rather than piping hot (just like they do in Texas) with house slaw, skin-on fries, pickles and Tennessee bourbon gravy.
After a long breather, I was able to tackle a dessert and chose their chocolate and hazelnut krispie rocky road (£5.25) which comes with their “famous” Fro-Co frozen custard. You can also have their custard straight up or go for their other house combo. I would describe it more like ice cream served in what looked like a jam jar pot – a novel idea which really summed up the Hickory’s dining experience: different, delectable and delightful.
They have taken the step of adding a discretionary 7.5% contribution to the tip jar onto your bill. All of it goes to your servers, bar and kitchen team etc along with a donation to ‘Cash for Kids’. Of course, if for any reason, you’d prefer not to tip, then just ask and they will take it off.
If you are not local, I would suggest using a Satnav as the restaurant was not easy to find – especially if driving up the coast from Blackpool. For somewhere to dine that’s out of the ordinary with good food and service to match, Hickory’s Smokehouse is definitely somewhere to consider visiting – a fine dose of Americana, Southern cuisine and “swell” for any occasion.