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Times are changing. Just look around this area. People want options, and they want variety. Growing up, your parents took you to the store, bought you a candy bar, and if you were lucky, just maybe, they’d buy you a “king size.” Those were the only two sizes, your only options. Nowadays, there’s variety everywhere. Stores are filled with different variations of everything. Look at the drink selection when you stop at a convenient store. It can be overwhelming and intimidating! Gone are the days of just having domestic beers at bars. Now, rotating taps are in, and a lot of people want a craft beer. Bowser’s has embraced the idea of innovation and change, and are taking their already solid base menu, and diversifying it with mouth watering, smoked meats. Let’s take a look in to the mastermind who creates it all – Andrew Selby, the manager and executive chef at Bowser’s, and how he’s taking smoking meats to a different level.
Let’s start with the fundamentals. Before we dive into the specifics of the food, it’s important to take a look into what makes people successful and what are they trying to achieve. A lot of successful businesses and individuals are “students of the game,” they are always learning, studying, taking advise from their mentors, soaking knowledge up like a sponge and always improving their craft. Bowser’s is no different; Selby has carefully studied Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue and what he’s done to become successful: simple but effective recipes. If you’ve never heard of Franklin Barbecue, a quick Google search will reveal it’s one of the most popular places to eat barbecue in America. People wait in line for hours to try the food, and that’s who Selby tries to emulate. That’s why often times, the smoked meats usually sell out at Bowser’s.
Bowser’s has always delivered quality food with generous portions. They specialize in the Pittsburgh-style sandwich which is always overflowing with fries. They have great wings, salads, and everything on their menu is made with love. Let’s now focus on their smokehouse menu and how and they are evolving and giving consumers great variety, and made-from-scratch smokehouse items.
The Beaver County Barbecue Tray is the holy grail of barbecue in Beaver County. Bowser’s starts by using the finest wood to smoke their meat to perfection, usually cherry or oak. They have their own smokers outside the restaurant pumping out quality meats every single day. Their Beaver County Barbecue Tray encompasses a wide variety of smoked meats. The brisket is tender, flavorful, and just the right amount of smoke. It’s not overflowing with an overbearing amount of smoke which can happen from time to time. The baby back and spare ribs are fall off the bone.
The smoked wings are cooked right. They are not chewy or slimy, have a great flavor, and simple but effective. The pulled pork is some of the best I’ve had in the tri-state area. Accompany it with some homemade sauces from sweet, savory and some habanera heat. You can tell they also put effort into their sides. The baked beans are something you’ll be talking about for days. There are a variety of beans, which are first cooked then smoked to give it a crazy good flavor. The smoked mac and cheese and coleslaw also hand-made from scratch are nothing to sniff at. They are also getting super creative with new favorites such as smoked brisket, pulled pork, and bacon French fries. There’s nothing this establishment won’t try to please its customers. “I’m not sure where Bowser’s can improve in regards to their smokehouse menu. Everything was honestly unreal. Andy has done a fantastic job on the smoker. More people need to try it, because once they do the secret won’t be a secret anymore,” said Marc Grandinetti, who accompanied me on this visit to Bowser’s.
My final take. Bowser’s has been serving the Beaver County and neighboring communities since 1993. Focusing on “Pittsburgh-style dining,” they are now evolving and diversifying their menu more than ever. They are even researching what their customers want to watch on the TV on certain nights of the week given the fact they have numerous brand-new flat screens mounted around the inside of the restaurant. Bottom line, the customer comes first. Webster defines perfection as “freedom from fault or defect”. Even though perfection, ultimately cannot be achieved, Bower’s and Andrew Selby, are always trying and looking for ways, to perfect their craft.