Chow Town

Hillsdale Bank Bar-B-Q is open now through November

Donna Beverlin’s secret recipe beans with Greg Beverlin’s fresh-cut fries, hickory-smoked ribs and pork shoulder, The Sauce on the side.
Donna Beverlin’s secret recipe beans with Greg Beverlin’s fresh-cut fries, hickory-smoked ribs and pork shoulder, The Sauce on the side. Special to The Star

What’s the deal with those plainly labeled bottles of The Sauce sprouting like spring blossoms on supermarket and specialty store shelves throughout Chow Town?

Every drop of The Sauce is made in one place: a small solidly built 100-plus-year-old brick building in Hillsdale, Kan. The building was a bank before it became a barbecue joint.

The Sauce is so popular that making one big batch at a time cuts into the leisure hours Greg and Donna Beverlin, Hillsdale Bank Bar-B-Q founders/co-owners, expected during winter months when the restaurant is closed.

They aren’t complaining. They like to keep busy, and as anyone directly involved in the competitive barbecue seasonings industry knows, constant demand and praise from loyal fans is a big dividend. Check the Beverlins’ website for an impressive list of where The Sauce is sold.

Greg explained that the job is hard, hands-on work and it never ends. You do it for the customers and because you love the barbecue business. You’re thankful when you can make a living at it. This year marks Greg and Donna’s 26th year of feeding customers with great barbecue, sides and sauce in the small Hillsdale community, five minutes from their home.

In 2011, they introduced pizza from Greg’s hand-built wood-fired pizza oven. It’s a big hit with omnivores and vegetarians.

Greg also built the brick barbecue pit that adjoins the original bank building. In fact, business has been so brisk that he had to replace the original hand-built pit with the current one. He smokes with 100 percent hickory logs for heat and flavor from an offset brick fire box.

The result is tender, natural-flavored smoked barbecue meat that takes well to The Sauce of your choice: original or hot, available in a squeeze bottle on your table.

Greg and Donna were born and raised in Johnson County. Donna is a Shawnee Mission East graduate. Greg, a Bishop Miege graduate, remembers Pat Dalton as assistant principal at Miege. Pat’s Dalton Gang Chili is one of the best I’ve ever tasted. He is esteemed in barbecue circles as co-founder with Alan Uhl of the Great Lenexa BBQ Battle.

When you’re itching for a barbecue adventure in rural Chow Town, Greg and Donna Beverlin are ready to serve you on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from now into November. You can buy their popular barbecue sauces in multiple venues throughout Chow Town any time of year. If you want to savor the barbecue with The Sauce in its home place, however, the Bank’s 2015 season has begun.

Hillsdale Bank Bar-B-Q is located at Church and Frisco streets in Hillsdale, Kan., between Spring Hill and Paola. Call 913-783-4333 or go to hillsdalebankbarbq.com.

Ardie Davis founded a sauce contest on his backyard patio in 1984 that became the American Royal International Barbecue Sauce, Rub & Baste contest. He is a charter member of the Kansas City Barbeque Society and an inductee into the KCBS Hall of Flame. He has been interviewed on food shows and writes for barbecue-related publications. His most recent release is America’s Best BBQ (Revised Edition), with Chef Paul Kirk.

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