You know what happens when you combine delicious BBQ, cold beer, and live music? A full belly and an entertaining night! Casual Joe’s, which has “Drink local. Eat local. Stay casual.” scrawled across one of their chalkboards, is calm and relaxing. Located in an old auto repair building behind the railroad tracks and train depot, the brick and concrete restaurant serves up southern style foods in the front of the building, and the back space is set up for events. Decked out in a shabby-chic vibe with lights strung across the ceiling, you definitely feel chill.
“You feel hidden from the world. It’s that southern BBQ joint back room feel where you go to play cards or listen to live, local music.” -Mike Hudec, Owner of Casual Joe’s
Open Mic Nights in The Back Room at Casual Joe’s
Hudec even refers to it as The Back Room, and it’s been used for formal dinners, wedding receptions, and live events— shows by local musicians, comedy nights, and Open Mics. Open Mics are usually one Wednesday/mo. Their first of 2020 is Wednesday, January 22nd with host Eugene Gruber. Often hosted by a local musician, the Open Mics are first come, first serve, and there’s no cover charge.
“Musicians do a lot of originals with some covers. It’s a unique environment of music. You can hear the same song, sometimes, but it sounds different every time. All the musicians are knuckleheads. They’re fun. They’re entertaining. You can have calm, relaxing music and some fun, upbeat music in the same night. We want to bring music back to the community and college students.” -Mike Hudec, Owner of Casual Joe’s
Supporting Local. Building Community.
Their in-house smoked BBQ and other eats as well as local beers on tap (one from Second Salem Brewing Co.) are available. “I like working together, helping each other,” Hudec says about carrying Second Salem’s beer. This value extends to offering up The Back Room to the local VFW, fraternities, and sororities for meetings and dinners.
“One of my favorite memories in The Back Room is when Delta Chi lined up to take pictures in front of the hand-painted John Lennon tapestry I usually hang up behind musicians. I’ve had that since I was a teenager. Fits perfectly here.” -Mike Hudec, Owner of Casual Joe’s
One of Hudec’s biggest dreams for Casual Joe’s is to set up the outside of the property for live music during the warmer months. He says, “We need a place to have a decent party outside.” However, he makes sure to emphasize that it’ll be early evening so neighbors aren’t disturbed at night. In the mean time, live music will remain in The Back Room and will begin in February on Saturdays. This Friday, January 24th is Casual Joe’s Ribbon Cutting and Open House. For more information on their menu or events, you can visit them here or on Facebook.