Station One Smokehouse in Plainfield is focused on being the best for customers – The Southland Journal
Station One Smokehouse in Plainfield aims to be the best for customers (Plainfield, IL) – Working in some of Chicago’s top restaurants as a sous chef or executive chef, Brad Hudetz would cook anything from the finest French food at Midwest rates. But ultimately, he prefers to be known as the barbecue guy.
“Whenever I worked in these restaurants, I always fell into the Meat part of the kitchen. I would be responsible for butchery, making sauces and cooking meats. But I also knew I loved barbecuing,” said Hudetz, owner of Station 1 smoking room3519 N. Elston Avenue in Plainfield. “You have to be a bit crazy to be a restaurant entrepreneur in today’s world, so I tick that box.”
Located in the downtown fire station
Located in a renovated old fire station downtown, the barbecue restaurant offers tempting menu options and a full bar.
“Our number one every day is beef brisket and it’s definitely my favorite thing to cook,” Hudetz said. “We have good pork belly and our ribs are pretty good. Everything we do is from scratch.
The restaurant has been awarded “Best of Will County” in the Herald’s Readers Choice Awards for three consecutive years. “It’s really hard to top us,” Hudetz said. “Our smokehouse is 100% wood-fired. I could have had one where I throw in a few logs of wood, adjust the temperature and go home and sleep at night without worrying about it. But I think you produce a better barbecue when you’re there to feed the fire, manage the fire, watch the meats cook, and really pamper them.
Trained for gastronomy
Trained in gastronomy at the Scottsdale Culinary Institute in 2001-2002, he spent more than 20 years in the restaurant industry, working in the best restaurants in Chicago like Alinea, Spiaggia, Les Nomades, Naha, The Ritz Carlton, Blackbird and Courtright’s.
His passion for barbecue began when he ran his family’s butcher shop, City Meat Market in Naperville. They had a smoker there and he was able to experiment a bit, smoking jerky, snack sticks, bacon, ham, pastrami, sausages, cheeses and whole birds. It was during these formative years that he discovered Central Texas barbecue and he was immediately hooked. The style is rooted in old world butcher shops smoking leftover meat so it could be salvaged.
Curious to know more, he took a two-week tour through central Texas to explore this world of barbecue and fell in love. His family sold the butcher shop and he moved on to Green Street Smoked Meats, perhaps Chicago’s most renowned barbecue restaurant. As Executive Chef and Director of Green Street for four years, he had the opportunity to cook for many celebrities and athletes. Hosting Theo Epstein’s championship night for the 2016 Cubs was one of his biggest highlights.
Covid throws a curveball
Like all restaurants, COVID threw a curveball where they went from 95% dine-in to almost 100% completion.
“It was wild for us. We had to learn our system. Sometimes we would activate online ordering and get 100 orders in 30 minutes and everyone would come at the same time,” Hudetz said. to many meat processing facilities closing and meat shortages causing prices to skyrocket, I went from $3 a pound for beef brisket to almost $5.25 a pound.
He has some tips for aspiring restaurant entrepreneurs.
“My first piece of advice would be to go to a place and make sure it’s something you want to do. Right now I would suggest starting with a food truck before moving on to brick and mortar. You can’t be afraid of hard work,” he added.
Station One Smokehouse in Plainfield aims to be the best for customers