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East Peoria Times-Courier - East Peoria, IL
  • Dadz offers homestyle food in Sunnyland

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  • For people in the Washington and East Peoria area looking for a new place for homestyle food, they can head to Dadz.
    "Things are a little slow, but they pick up on the weekends," Tim Johnson, the owner and founder, said. "When we start advertising, I expect things to pick up and word to get out about our barbecue.
    "We want to get everything right before we start advertising. We want to make sure everything is running smooth."
    Dadz Restaurant and Bar opened at 306 S. Summitt in Washington Aug. 31.
    "We are in the middle of our soft opening," Johnson said. "Next week (the week of Sept. 17) we'll set our menu and our hours and move forward from there. We are going to expand the menu a little bit.
    "We're going to change some things up. We tried a lot of things and saw what worked and what didn't work and what the people liked and what the people didn't like."
    What the people do like, Johnson said, is the barbecue the restaurant offers.
    "Our main focus is our barbecue, pulled pork, ribs, tenderloins and stuff like that," Johnson said. "We have some repeat customers already. Everyone that tries our barbecue loves it so we just have to get the word out there."
    The name Dadz, however, came to Johnson with a little inspiration.
    "My daughter (Cassandra) always was bragging to her friends the whole time she was growing up how good dad's barbecue was," Johnson said. "So I just called it Dadz."
    That barbecue is something that Johnson said is a family tradition.
    "In our family, barbecue is big," Johnson said. "Everyone tries to outdo each other as far as barbecue goes. I have my own dry rub and I am developing my own western Kentucky style vinegar sauce but it's not out yet because I don't have it where I want it yet."
    For Johnson, the restaurant has been something he has always dreamed about.
    "I've always wanted to open a restaurant," Johnson said. "My mother's family is from western Kentucky and ever since I was a kid, every time I went down there it was all barbecue, barbecue, barbecue; you gotta have barbecue. I just loved it ever since so I decided to jump in the deep end and try it."
    Dadz is the latest stop for Johnson in a varied working life.
    "I was in the military back in the 80s," Johnson said. "Then I worked for a gas company up in Chicago after that.
    After 9/11 I went to work for the government down in Kentucky at Blue Grass Army Depot and when the war broke out I volunteered to go to Iraq and ended up staying there for three years.
    Page 2 of 2 - "So after that was over, I just bounced around trying to figure out what I wanted to do and finally decided to make the leap and open a restaurant."
    The restaurant's original inception was going to be much smaller than it is now.
    "Originally it was going to be a small place and just a drive-thru," Johnson said. "We just kind of fell into this place because it was ready to move in and decided to go big and do as much as we could."
    The restaurant features a dining room as well as a bar area with games.
    For carryout or questions about the hours and menu, call 745-3700.

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