Station One Smokehouse in Plainfield Focuses on Being the Best for Customers (Plainfield, IL) – Working at some of the finest restaurants in Chicago as a sous or executive chef, Brad Hudetz would cook anything from the finest French cuisine to Midwestern fare. But ultimately he prefers to be known as the guy who cooks BBQ.
“Whenever I worked in these restaurants I always fell in the meat area of the kitchen. I would be responsible for the butchery, sauce making and cooking of meats. But I also knew I just loved cooking BBQ,” said Hudetz, owner of Station One Smokehouse, 3519 N. Elston Ave. in Plainfield. “You have to be a little crazy to be a restaurant entrepreneur in today’s world so I check that box.”
Located in Downtown Firehouse
Located in a renovated, old downtown firehouse, the barbecue restaurant features mouthwatering menu options and a full bar.
“Our number one every single day is brisket and that is definitely my favorite thing to cook,” said Hudetz. “We have a good pork belly and our ribs are pretty great. 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 is really hard to outwork us,” said Hudetz. “Our smoker is 100 percent wood fed. I could have gotten one where I throw a few logs of wood, set the temperature and go home and sleep at night and not worry about it. But I think you produce better BBQ when you are right there feeding the fire, managing the fire, watching the meats cook and really babying them.”
Trained for Fine Dining
Trained for fine dining at Scottsdale Culinary Institute in 2001-2002, he has spent more than 20 years in the restaurant industry, working at top-rated Chicago restaurants like Alinea, Spiaggia, Les Nomades, Naha, The Ritz Carlton, Blackbird and Courtright’s.
His passion for BBQ began during his time running his family’s butcher shop, City Meat Market in Naperville. They had a smoker there and he was able to experiment with it quite a bit, smoking jerky, snack sticks, bacon, hams, pastrami, sausages, cheeses and whole birds. It was during these formative years for him to discover Central Texas BBQ and he was instantly hooked. The style is rooted in old world butcher shops smoking leftover cuts of meat so that it could be salvaged.
Curious to learn 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 the most renowned BBQ restaurant in Chicago. Serving as executive chef and manager at Green Street for four years afforded him the opportunity to cook for many celebrities and athletes. Hosting Theo Epstein’s championship party for the 2016 Cubs was one of his biggest highlights.
Covid Throws Curve Ball
Like all restaurants, COVID threw a curve ball where they went from 95 percent dine in to almost 100 percent carry out.
“It has been wild for us. We had to learn our system. Sometimes we would turn on online ordering and receive 100 orders in 30 minutes and everyone would come at the same time,” said Hudetz. “We had to deal with a lot of the meat processing facilities that would shut down and shortages of meat that skyrocketed prices. I went from $3 a pound for prime brisket to almost $5.25 a pound.”
He has some advice for upcoming restaurant entrepreneurs.
“My first piece of advice would be to get in some place and make sure it is something you want to do. Right now I would suggest starting with a food truck before you go brick and mortar. You can’t be afraid of hard work,” he added.
Station One Smokehouse in Plainfield Focuses on Being the Best for Customers