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Shemwell's Barbecue Downtown

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1102 Washington Ave, Cairo, IL 62914-2048
(618) 734-0165
7:00 am - 7:00 pm
Closed now
All hours
Mon - Sat 7:00 am - 7:00 pm
More Info
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30 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Traveler rating
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Time of year
Showing 30: English reviews
Level Contributor
76 reviews
40 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 7, 2016 via mobile

I've always smelled and passed Shemwells while I'm working in the area. I finally got on here and read some reviews and decided to try it since it seemed pretty good through the reviews.... they are right. This is a great small town BBQ place that's appears to do things right. To me bar b que places aren't suppose to... More 

Thank roberttF6933PZ
Boulder, Colorado
Level Contributor
8 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed May 23, 2016 via mobile

I have to completely agree w JDHoss's review. No ribs on Mondays but the pork on the sandwich I had must have jumped out of the smoker... For all the reviewers who love this place's food, all I can say is get yourself to Memphis and taste real BBQ. Glad this place is here, and has not disappeared like so... More 

Thank 910ZAK84
Level Contributor
30 reviews
20 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 3, 2016 via mobile

If you are ever in the area this is a must go to restaurant. You can smell the smoke from a mile away. Simple place with excellent food.

1 Thank Earl C
Clarksville, Tennessee
Level Contributor
18 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
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!

1 Thank teenamaisonet
Kingsport, TN.
Level Contributor
167 reviews
137 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 112 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 

2 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
Libertyville, Illinois
Level Contributor
138 reviews
79 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 34 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 Ted R
Decatur, Illinois
Level Contributor
19 reviews
11 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
146 reviews
112 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 71 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

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Restaurant Details

Rating summary
  • Food
    4 of 5 stars
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
    3.5 of 5 stars
American, Barbecue
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Restaurant features
Good for
Families with children, Local cuisine
Open Hours
7:00 am - 7:00 pm
7:00 am - 7:00 pm
7:00 am - 7:00 pm
7:00 am - 7:00 pm
7:00 am - 7:00 pm
7:00 am - 7:00 pm
Location and Contact Information
  • Address: 1102 Washington Ave, Cairo, IL 62914-2048
  • Location: United States  >  Illinois (IL)  >  Cairo
  • Phone Number: (618) 734-0165

Questions & Answers

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