When we travel, we always look for those fun spots that aren’t exactly on the highway. We’d heard about Rick’s Smokehouse from some friends, so when it showed up in our “food nearby” search while driving through the Midwest, we headed straight there.
A Familiar Feeling
The restaurant offers a feeling of, “I’ve been here before,” perhaps because it’s got the look, the signage, and definitely the smells of a BBQ place. And, when we say “BBQ,” we mean it in the purest Midwest application possible—smoked meat, piled high on a plate, with your choice of a variety of homegrown sauces.
Rick’s is a family-owned restaurant (since 1996) that got its start as a food stand during a Parke County fall festival. For many, it was undoubtedly their first introduction to slow smoked turkey legs—perfect fair food—and it launched a catering business, which launched a restaurant. It’s one of those perfect food entrepreneur stories, where they know their location, know their customer, and know their passion so that they can deliver on the promise and thrive.
A Wonderland of Barbecue
The food definitely drives the traffic, with everything from ribs and rib tips, to a tenderloin sandwich, to a BBQ Bowl full of beans, your choice of smoked meat (brisket, pork, chicken, or turkey), with a big ol’ piece of Texas toast. As for sides, go with the popular hash brown casserole for something besides the standard French fries. It won’t disappoint.
The restaurant is now a sprawling part of the community, with rooms that keep going and going around corner after corner. The “designer” touches are true BBQ-inspired, with license plates, Terre Haute memorabilia, family photos, hunting shots, old advertising signs, and current local poster promotions all mixed into one big happy family of eye candy. Be sure to check out the Historic Wassell Inn Banquet Hall, which was a 1940s dance hall and now displays photos from that era.
We’ve all seen some version of a Rick’s around the country, but this one really delivers on the promise. It’s where you can find great food, fun ambiance, and a trusted local business. Can’t wait to drive through the area again!