Good news for all you barbecue fanatics out in the eastern 'burbs: Shead's is back in the barbecue game.
As reported here a few weeks ago, the former home of Sabo Tropical Grill (and, before that, the plain old Tropical Grill) at 12203 East Iliff Avenue in Aurora (literally ten feet from China Jade, which Lori Midson wrote about glowingly just two weeks ago) appeared to be the chosen site for a resurrection of Shead's Fish and BBQ Heaven, which died a cold and lonely death years back. I promised that I would provide details as soon as I saw action in the space, and now I am here to fulfill that pledge.
Earlier today, while taking a spin through the neighborhood, I discovered that the new Shead's -- now called Shead's BBQ & Fish Hut, which I love -- had finally, officially, hung out the "NOW OPEN" banner.
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The place was doing good business for an odd hour (3:45 on a Wednesday afternoon), and I could smell the kitchen from a good twenty feet outside the door. The picture above shows exactly how far I was from the door when I got my first whiff of the pork ribs and brisket coming across the parking lot.
The menu is strange, though. While I remember the original Shead's as a place where you went for barbecue and absolutely nothing else, this new Shead's is offering plates that diverge somewhat from the classic pit-man's board of pork ribs, pork tips, pulled pork, pork racks, then some brisket, chicken and fish. Here, you can get fried chicken and fried shrimp, hot wings, tilapia filets (along with the more respectable perch and catfish) and grilled salmon salads.
I'm not saying I saw anyone actually eating any of these things, just that they were available.
Still, old-fashioned barbecue remains the core of the menu. And I'm happy to report that, all grilled salmon and green salads aside, the new Shead's continues to offer plates of both rib tips and small ends -- the two best things on the menu at the original location, and the two things that I've been missing for something like five years now.