Hot Sauce Williams
3770 Lee Road
It is high time someone stood up for the rights of the solo business traveler.
We’re tired of motels treating us as second-class citizens. Business travelers should unite for more napkins, better utensils, and a table we can eat our meals on.
Is that too much to ask?
I think not!
Based on my research, I knew Hot Sauce Williams probably wasn’t going to be a “dine-in” kind of place, so I knew I’d have to bring my food back to my room and eat it there.
And I heard Hot Sauce Williams was on the seedy side of town.
So I thought I was lost as I cruised down Van Aken Boulevard past stately brick mansions and leafy suburban side streets on my way there.
But as soon as I made a left and rumbled over the railroad crossing, the neighborhood changed dramatically. I was literally on the other side of the tracks.
Within the span of a few hundred feet, the bucolic Cleveland suburbs transformed into chicken and waffle joints, pawn shops, and payday check cashing services.
I guess this is what they also mean by “wrong side of the tracks.”
And to think, pompous Yankees accuse us southerners of segregation?
We figured this stuff out a long time ago. Forget the federal government. Good food will always be the best desegregation tool.
But I was the only white guy to come or go in the fifteen minutes I spent at Hot Sauce Williams.
For a place with barbeque and sausages this good, great food should transcend demographics, like it does in the south.
Speaking of desegregation, I found it ironic that one of the most famous items on Hot Sauce Williams’ menu is something called a “Polish Boy.”
That’s what I came for!
Cleveland has long boasted a large Polish population with top notch perogies and kielbasa readily available.
But Polish sausage at a black barbeque joint? I don’t have an explanation for that one.
Cleveland Polish Boy is a kielbasa sausage in a hot dog roll, smothered in french fries, coleslaw, and that namesake hot sauce.
Yes. You read that right.
The french fries and coleslaw are squished on top of the sausage and drenched in hot sauce.
You get all four food groups in each bite.
Of course, I was concerned that the most important food group – the pork – might be lost under all those carbs.
So I eagerly voted for the option of adding freshly pulled pork to my Polish Boy monstrosity.
I was feeling pretty proud of myself as I made my way back to the Clarion under the intoxicating smell of hot sauce saturating the recycled air inside my Ford Focus.
I just ordered pork on top of my pork!
Aren’t I clever?
This was the longest six mile drive of my life.
My stomach was growling in anticipation.
Forget waiting for the elevator – I bounded up the stairs three at a time to the second floor, fumbled for my plastic key and flew open the door.
Didn’t even bother to bolt it. I had more important things to do.
I flipped the TV to the Indians game, cracked open my $12 “Hoppin’ Frog Goose Juice” and laid my aluminum wrapped Arch of the Covenant on my lap.
This was the moment I had been waiting for all my life.
I opened it up like a 4-year-old on Christmas morning.
And there it was splayed out before me – an absolute freaking mess.
WHAT THE HELL AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WITH THIS???
Coleslaw, pork, hot sauce, fries, sausage, bun disemboweled among the foil wrapper.
No fork. No knife. No plate. No bib. Two meager cocktail napkins.
If you’ve ever attempted to eat carry-out on the bedspread of a motel mattress, you can feel my pain.
I mean, every motel, no matter how cheap, now provides you with a coffee maker, iron and ironing board. Is it too much to ask for a few paper plates, plastic forks, and paper towels?
I guess so.
I sacrificed one of the bathroom hand towels to mop up my inglorious mess.
Serves them right.
But I quickly concluded there is no responsible, mature way to eat a Cleveland Polish Boy.
So I just went all-on with my bare hands. I was elbows deep in coleslaw, hot sauce and pig as it dripped all over the well-worn Clarion carpet.
And you know what? Alone in my motel room, with no one looking judgmentally at me, there was something liberating about devouring my meal like a Neanderthal.
Honestly, I think these primitive conditions made my Polish Boy taste even better.
The sausage was dense and smokey, complimented by the creamy cool flavor of the coleslaw and starchy fries.
But the highlight was the pulled pork and sauce, which seemed more sweet than hot – which was surprising, considering the name of the place.
Best of all was my Goose Juice. When you can go to the Whole Foods across the street to buy your own beer, you are not held hostage by the lame dine-in selection of beer taps.
That was especially important this evening considering Hot Sauce Williams doesn’t even serve beer.
It would be a crime against man and nature to consume a pork and hot sauce-laden Polish Boy with anything but good craft beer.
Granted, pouring it into the shrink-wrapped plastic Clarion cup is probably not what Akron’s Hoppin’ Frog Brewery had in mind when they crafted this high alcohol rye IPA.
But, you know. See my previous comments about the plight of motel dwelling.
Come to think of it, I’ve had enough of these indignities.
I’m starting a national campaign right now – pint glasses in EVERY hotel room.
And don’t forget the extra napkins.
Rating: Seriously Thought About Buying Shirt.