~The Intern Series~
I’m calling all the New Haven local peeps when I say there is a good reason why Bear’s Smokehouse is Uconn’s official BBQ. Their sauce and items are unlike anything you’ve tasted.
The meat practically falls apart in your mouth with that to die for Kansas City Sauce!
Let’s just show what we had so you can try to imagine the deliciousness we like to call the best BBQ in all of CT!
First up: We made our own plate filled with Pulled Chicken, Pulled Pork, Roasted Corn + Mac & Cheese!
Next, we tried the Kickin’ Chicken Tots and this one is something we hold near and dear to our hearts…. .50$ of every order of Chicken Tots will be donated to Toys for Tots!
Next, we filled up on Paw Paw’s Poutine (fries with meat, sauce and cheese):
Lastly, we had the “Basic B*tch” cocktail to smooth things over! Perfect addition to the fall weather. It’s made with pumpkin syrup, kahlua, vodka + cinnamon spice! Super good.
Head on over to Bear’s Smokehouse for UConn’s official BBQ and for their new fall menu coming out Mid-October!
Check out our interview with Marketing Manager, Kyle Marcoux:
- What’s the backstory behind Bears?
“It started out as a counter top service at Barts 10 years ago, CO-Owner Jamie won the wing bowl + seed money to start Bears. They opened their first location in Hartford and Windsor then moved onto the North Carolina locations when Cheryl had moved down there. New Haven was the most recent in CT!”
2. Can you tell us about the sauces and rubs you offer?
“There’s two rubs we have:
- Kansas City BBQ: a beef and chicken rub
- Pork Rub: sweeter with brown sugar and made for baby back ribs + pork
There’s four sauces we offer:
- Kansas City Sweet- its our staple sauce
- Texas Pepper- with a black pepper kick to it
- Hot Sriracha
- Grizzly Ghost Pepper- super spicy, will heat you up! “
3. What are some must try dishes and combinations while dining at Bears?
“The burnt ends of the brisket + baby back ribs are fan favorites! I personally love the Super Spud which is a loaded baked potato with meat on top. Also, the Bear Attack is the most popular appetizer which is cornbread with Mac n meat! “
4. Besides the fun food you offer, are there any events we should keep an eye out on?
” We host trivia every Tuesday night!
Thanksgiving pre-order meals starts October 1st and can include whole turkeys pies, sides, apps. Guests can have cold-pickup the day before or hot-pickup on the day of.
We are also hosting Oktoberfest on October 21st with live music, games, stein holding contests and bratwursts of course!”
5. Since allergens + dietary restrictions have come into play more and more, how does Bears accommodate guests?
” Bears is very accommodating, all sauces and rubs are Gluten Free, we have vegetarian options and vegan impossible meatloaf!”
About Bear’s Smokehouse:
Bear’s Smokehouse BBQ was founded in 2013 by co-owners Cheryl Antoncic and Jamie “The Bear” McDonald. The original location operated out of a small counter rented inside Bart’s Hot Dogs in Windsor, CT. Jamie is a native of Kansas City, Missouri and the two dreamed of opening a restaurant to fill a void they both found in Cheryl’s home state of Connecticut for good BBQ. Cheryl is a native of Windsor Locks where her parents still reside.
By 2014, Bear’s had outgrown the counter at Bart’s and opened a downtown location in Hartford and shortly thereafter relocated the Bart’s operation to its current Windsor location near Bradley International Airport. Since that time Bear’s has added locations in South Windsor and New Haven, and in 2020 began expansion into Asheville, North Carolina where it quickly grew to 3 locations. Both Connecticut and North Carolina operations offer full service catering and food truck services, and in CT Bear’s can be seen operating concession stands at many local stadiums including XL Center, Gampel Pavilion, Rentschler Field, Yardgoats Stadium and most recently Westville Music Bowl. Bear’s is proud to be the “Official BBQ of the UConn Huskies”.
Cheryl and Jamie credit their success not only to the hard work of their dedicated and loyal staff but also to Bear’s commitment to the community. In 2017 the couple made a decision to increase their hourly wages for non-tipped employees to $15/hr at Bear’s Smokehouse when that rate of pay was unheard of in the industry. Bear’s is also known for their non-discriminatory hiring practices and for being a second chance employer, offering opportunities to those who have been formerly incarcerated. Bear’s Restaurant Group is proud to support members of the military and first responders, as well as numerous non-profit organizations.
In 2020, Bear’s Foundation was formed to support the work of the Linked4Life movement that was born when the Bear’s team partnered with the Jordan Porco Foundation to break a Guinness World Record for the longest chain of carabiners as a visual representation that we are all connected and when we “link” together we are stronger. Linked4Life seeks to raise awareness around the importance of mental health, bring hope to those who need it the most, and demonstrate the power of human connection.