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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: Dinner, Lunch

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 27 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 14
  • 5
    Very good
  • 3
  • 2
  • 3
Rating summary
  • Food
    4 of 5 stars
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
    3.5 of 5 stars
AWESOME Is all I can say!...

If you EVER visit Cairo, Ill. you have to go to Shemwell's their BBQ is awesome and the prices are VERY reasonable. We even bought some of the BBQ sauce and brought it back home! Will definitely make a trip back!

4 of 5 starsReviewed September 7, 2015
A TripAdvisor Member
via mobile
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27 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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A TripAdvisor Member
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 7, 2015 via mobile

If you EVER visit Cairo, Ill. you have to go to Shemwell's their BBQ is awesome and the prices are VERY reasonable. We even bought some of the BBQ sauce and brought it back home! Will definitely make a trip back!

Thank A TripAdvisor Member
Kingsport, TN.
Level Contributor
157 reviews
130 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 109 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 

1 Thank JDHoss
Level Contributor
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.

Thank Tara W
Level Contributor
107 reviews
62 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 32 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 

Thank xtedx
Decatur, Illinois
Level Contributor
18 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 8 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 

1 Thank Jeremy M
Willow Hill
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 24, 2014 via mobile

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.

Thank Marissa915
Someset, KY
Level Contributor
137 reviews
103 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 69 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 

1 Thank de-oppresso-liber
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. : )

Thank boilednuts
2 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 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!!!

Thank Cindyhale23
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 

Thank rj1973724

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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: Families with children, Local cuisine

Questions & Answers

Here's what previous visitors have asked, with answers from representatives of Shemwell's Barbecue Downtown and other visitors
1 question
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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?