Bombers BBQ in Munster has been heating up the local culinary scene for nearly a year now.
The eatery, located on Ridge Road, celebrates its first anniversary May 7 and owners/managers Anthony Petrocelli and Christopher Cole are looking forward to many more years of bringing good flavors to Northwest Indiana.
"We want to continue to serve a quality product in a friendly environment and we're happy to be doing this in an area that we grew up in," said Christopher Cole, who grew up in Dyer, and later moved to Wilmette, Ill. Petrocelli grew up in South Holland, Ill. and later moved to Munster.
According to Petrocelli, the restaurant has long been a dream for both food lovers. Cole and Petrocelli have worked in restaurants through the years and, being fans of smoked foodstuffs and down home barbecue, they wanted to bring this type of fare to locals.
Meat served at the joint is smoked fresh everyday and everything is prepared fresh daily at the restaurant. All product is cooked over hard wood, which is a combination of apple and cherry wood.
"That's of utmost importance to us," said Petrocelli, about quality and freshness. "We never serve day-old barbecue,"Cole stressed. "We cook as much meat as possible in the smoker and we sell out everyday."
In fact, Bombers' hours posted on the door state that closing time is until "sold out."
The owners/barbecue enthusiasts said sometimes all meat is gone by 6:30 or 7 p.m., and sometimes even earlier. On Super Bowl Sunday, everything was gone by 2 p.m.
During a recent luncheon visit to Bombers to pick up a carry-out order for co-workers to share and enjoy, the eatery was packed. Customers even waited in a line which snaked out the door.
Cole said people in the area have become real fans of their barbecue fare. According to Cole, smoked food is a favorite because of its rich flavor. "It's also something you can do at home but it's rarely done because it's very time consuming," he said, adding it often takes 18 to 22 hours to smoke various meats.
The restaurant's interior features various pictures and other items depicting military aircraft and its paraphernalia, including a bomber jacket in a case and more.
For our lunch on a recent Friday, we ordered from the For the Fam section of the menu. We chose the B-36 Peacemaker, serving 4 to 6 people and starring 1-pound of brisket, 1-pound of pulled pork, 3 medium sides and a medium coleslaw ($36). Our sides were jalapeno cheddar cornbread, pork and beans and hash browns, which was the day's special side dish. We also ordered Mississippi won tons ($5), which are a type of fried won ton or dough stuffed with pork.
The smoked brisket and pulled pork proved tender and flavorful and, when paired with various sauces from the eatery, were sparked with a touch of heat or sweetness or a combination of the two. Among sauces available at Bombers are a Sweet Sauce, Bombers Sauce (which has a bit of heat and sweetness), Atomic sauce (a super hot concoction); St. Louis sauce and Nuclear (which the menu states customers must sign a waiver to try).
Our lunch actually served close to 8 people and everyone was satisfied, with some diners even saying they'd like to dine in the place and fairly soon.
Among other items on the Bombers menu are fried pickles ($5); Bang Bang Shrimp ($7); Burnt Ends ( $7); Baby Back Ribs ($12 for half order, $21 for a full order); St. Louis Ribs ($10, half order and $18 for a full order); rib tips ($9 for a la carte and $12 for the tips with bread and two sides) as well as smoked and fried wings ($5, $13, $20 and $37, depending on the amount you'd like).
The menu also features Everyday Sides and Seasonal Sides, which are rotated frequently. More than 40 craft beers are also offered.
If you've got a craving for barbecue, stop in for lunch or dinner at Bombers. It's definitely a flavorful find in the Region.
FYI: Bombers BBQ, 439 Ridge Road, Munster. Hours are 11 a.m. to Sold Out, Tuesdays to Sundays. Closed on Mondays. Call (219) 836-BOMB.