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Shemwell's Barbecue Downtown

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1102 Washington Ave, Cairo, IL 62914-2048
+1 618-734-0165
07:00 - 19:00
Open now
All hours
Mon - Sat 07:00 - 19:00
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37 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Traveller rating
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Time of year
Showing 37: English reviews
Mayaguez, Puerto Rico
Level Contributor
18 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

Good local food. They have beef pork chicken, and fish. Call ahead if you want brisket they usually run out pretty early. It's a small place it's been around for a long time and for good reason

Thank bluto359
Sikeston, Missouri
Level Contributor
41 reviews
39 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago

We have been there many times and Love the BBQ and Catfish We have never had a bad meal there, and service. A must try if your in the area.

Thank 4wheaties
Cairo, Illinois
Level Contributor
20 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 October 2016 via mobile

Has a great variety of food the barbecue pork/ beef/ and turkey is really good they have the best onion rings I've tasted also the staff of young ladies are nice

Thank grandma212
Newport, Oregon
Level Contributor
33 reviews
21 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 October 2016

At the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers lies the almost deserted town of Cairo, Illinois of Huckleberry Finn fame. Although the town is almost gone, the food at Shemwell's is still mighty good.

Thank Fezlo
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 October 2016

I live 30 miles away, eat bbq all over the south, even lived in MS for awhile. Hands down, Shemwell's is my favorite. My brother comes home and never, ever misses going to get at least one bbq. They've been there for years, and will be there much longer. No yuppie stuff, no garlic butter on the bread, it's not... More 

Thank Jess M
Level Contributor
10 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 August 2016

The epitome of a small town restaurant! Kitsch without having to work at it. The food was fabulous with large portions, friendly service, and surrounded by locals. Cairo might as well be the South when it comes to BBQ excellence and Shemwell's doesn't disappoint. Can't remember but I think they only take cash.

Thank Jay M
Greenwood, South Carolina
Level Contributor
30 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 August 2016 via mobile

We were very disappointed. No real turkey, you can't serve smoked lunch meat and they serve 3 day old pork shoulders.

Thank StPaul82
Level Contributor
89 reviews
44 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 June 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 

1 Thank roberttF6933PZ
Boulder, Colorado
Level Contributor
8 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 May 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 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 March 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.

2 Thank Earl C

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Restaurant Details

Rating summary
  • Food
    4 of 5 bubbles
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
American, Barbecue
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Restaurant features
Good for
Local cuisine, Child-friendly
Open Hours
07:00 - 19:00
07:00 - 19:00
07:00 - 19:00
07:00 - 19:00
07:00 - 19:00
07:00 - 19:00
Location and Contact Information
  • Address: 1102 Washington Ave, Cairo, IL 62914-2048
  • Location: United States  >  Illinois (IL)  >  Cairo
  • Phone Number: +1 618-734-0165

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?