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Shemwell's Barbecue Downtown

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1102 Washington Ave, Cairo, IL 62914-2048
(618) 734-0165
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Dining options: Lunch, Dinner

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 26 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 14
    Excellent
  • 4
    Very good
  • 3
    Average
  • 2
    Poor
  • 3
    Terrible
Rating summary
  • Food
    4 of 5 stars
    Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
    Atmosphere
    3.5 of 5 stars
I have lived in Cairo,Illinois. I always stop in when I'm in the area for the food is good, and the price can't be beat.

I love this place, It is my Favorite childhood memory, I always buy a couple jars of the sauce when I come home.

4 of 5 starsReviewed February 20, 2015
Tara W
,
Australia
Good for:
  • Local cuisine
  • Families with children
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26 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Kingsport, TN.
Top Contributor
125 reviews 125 reviews
105 restaurant reviews
96 helpful votes 96 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 13, 2015

.....but wound up being let down. I'll just cut to the chase...... THE GOOD: *The smell out of the smoker when we got out of the truck was amazing. *A true "greasy spoon" atmosphere, and the type of place that will bring back memories if you were raised in a small town like I was. *Good service that was friendly.... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
Australia
2 reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 20, 2015

I love this place, It is my Favorite childhood memory, I always buy a couple jars of the sauce when I come home.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Libertyville
Top Contributor
69 reviews 69 reviews
41 restaurant reviews
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 20, 2014

I've been coming to Shemwell's my whole life an I'm 70+. You don't come here for the atmosphere or the location. Cairo is not where you wan to be. We all come for the sandwich which is comprised of several pieces of sliced hickory smoked pork covered in tangy, non-sweet sauce between two slices of white Bunny bread. It's succulent... More 

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Decatur, Illinois
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 28, 2014

I travelled to Cairo to try Shemwell's BBQ after reading about it here. I was apprehensive that I wouldn't like it based on a few of the reviews. However, I loved it! They make a smoked pork shoulder sandwich on white bread with homemade sauce, then they toast it to perfection in a sandwich press. It is delicious!! It's a... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Willow Hill
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 24, 2014

When my family pulled into the parking lot we did not know wether to go in or not. We all got the BBQ sandwich that was amazing but got different sides to share. Everything was good and well worth going in.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Someset, KY
Top Contributor
117 reviews 117 reviews
90 restaurant reviews
60 helpful votes 60 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 20, 2014

Stopped at Shemwell's BBQ in Cairo, Illinois. Like most BBQ joints, its a hole in the wall place. Looks like its been there for decades. I ordered a pork sandwich. The girl that took my order went to the back room and I could hear an electric knife cutting away. To a BBQ purist, that's not a good sound (nor... More 

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Brandon, Florida
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 3, 2014

Grew up in Cairo back in the 70's. Best BBQ I've ever had! I live in FL now ..still looking for a better BBQ sandwich. : )

Was this review helpful? Yes
2 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 30, 2014

Excellent BBQ and great service. We kept adding folks to our party and the waitress was very accommodating - we sang Happy Birthday to my niece and no complaints.....other patrons even joined in. Truly a gem. Live in Florida, so won't get back there very soon, but will definitely be back for that awesome BBQ!!!

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1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 6, 2014

I've been all around the country and tried BBQ at just about every town I've been to and this the best. BBQ pork sandwich is the best. The sauce is the orange-vinegar based and is unrivaled. The ribs don't even need sauce. They are that good. Cairo is indeed a dump and this place is not eye pleasing but the... More 

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Hobbs, NM
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 8, 2013

I really just wanted to send a short note to the owner's and their parents and grandparents of Shemwell's. I would like to know if any of the family remembers the Hub Lounge on the corner of 12th and Washington Ave? My parents, Charlie and Edna Thompson owned and operated the business and we lived in an apartment above it.... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 3

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Restaurant Details

Location and Contact Information

  • Address: 1102 Washington Ave, Cairo, IL 62914-2048
  • Location: United States  >  Illinois (IL)  >  Cairo
  • Phone Number: (618) 734-0165

Price and Cuisine

  • Cuisine: Barbecue

Restaurant Characteristics

  • Good for: Local cuisine, Families with children

Questions & Answers

Questions? Get answers from Shemwell's Barbecue Downtown staff and past visitors.
Posting guidelines
Typical questions asked:
  • Do you have gluten-free options?
  • Is there a dress code?
  • Do you allow dogs on the outdoor patio?