Huddersfield’s brand new barbecue restaurant Hickory Smokehouse has been dubbed an “unexpected surprise” by families with satisfied customers insisting it is “the best place to eat with kids!”
So when it came to booking somewhere to eat out for my son’s fourth birthday, I knew just where to go! We’d never been before but after reading the rave reviews online I was eager to try it out.
As any parents will know eating out with kids is a constant battle, it’s either you pick somewhere that has a play area for the kids so you can eat in peace, but the food is average at best.
Or you go somewhere where the food is nice but they don’t cater to kids, meaning they wind up bored and the whole thing becomes more hassle than it’s worth.
Hickory’s Smokehouse opened earlier this year in the former High Park Pub in Bradley Road and it has gone down a storm with locals. It is the second chain of Hickory’s in Yorkshire, following on from the success of the Southern US style restaurant in Horbury, Wakefield.
The family-friendly Huddersfield site, previously the old Wacky Warehouse, has had a complete makeover, and is now a stylish, welcoming and relaxed space for all with an American twist.
The American feel diner boasts garden seating for dining alfresco and a totally elevated bar area, complete with screens showing popular sport. A win for the adults!
And younger diners are equally well catered for with the specially created cinema room showing family favourite movies, a new kids play area in the garden featuring a unique water tower and the super-fun Frozen Custard station, which is a huge hit with the little ones!
We booked in for a party of eight (six adults and two children) on a Wednesday evening and took a birthday cake along for my son as he has allergies but the friendly staff were more than happy to oblige.
As we entered the children were given complimentary popcorn for the cinema room so it’s safe to say it wasn’t long before they headed off to find it, leaving us to read the jam-packed menu in peace!
The menu is full of the flavours of the Deep South US, with classic smokehouse dishes such as Memphis ribs, Texas-style brisket and barbecue pulled pork all smoked low ‘n’ slow in smokers specially shipped in from Texas & Missouri. It’s difficult to know what to choose.
I ordered the Cowboy steak with fries, a peppercorn sauce and a side of mac ‘n’ cheese, my partner opted for the Southern Fried Chicken burger and for the kids I ordered a popcorn chicken, fries and beans for my youngest (4) and a beef burger and fries for my eldest (9).
I mentioned to our server about my sons allergies and they were brilliant at catering to us with a manager coming over straight away with the allergens list to double check our selection was safe for him to have. They were very efficient and friendly and made what can sometimes be a difficult situation, really easy and stress-free.
Other members of our party ordered the smokehouse platter (between two) and the eight hour smoked beef rib, which was amazing!
We ordered the food and as we relaxed and waited the kids were itching to check out the outdoor play area. The modern, western style helter skelter was a huge hit with both the children who didn’t want to come back inside to eat their food!
And for the adults it allowed us the opportunity to have a chin wag, without being interrupted umpteen times, safe in the knowledge that they were happy and playing.
The table we were sat on was perfectly positioned to see the kids on the play area. However, we did keep taking it in turns to pop out and check on them as it is a supervised facility.
When the food arrived we were all blown away, even though I had heard great things, my expectations of places that cater towards children are generally pretty low, based on negative past experiences.
However, I was made to eat my hat as the food was amazing. Everything was cooked to perfection and was really tasty and everybody said the same, despite having all ordered something different. The portion sizes were huge and we even had to ask for a takeaway box as it was too good to leave!
The kids loved their meals and wolfed them down having worked up an appetite or perhaps they were just to eager to go back outside and play?! Either way, there was no arguing about eating their food. Which is definitely a rarity.
After the food the kids opted to go and chill out in the cinema room, which is included and shows a line up of Disney and Pixar classics throughout the day. Moana was screening, which they were both more than happy with and they sat down to enjoy the film.
A while later we asked the server to bring out the birthday cake for my son, four members of staff brought it over and all sang happy birthday to him which was a really nice touch. They then gave us a knife and some serviettes to enjoy it, which not all restaraunts do when you have brought your own. And I always find it’s little things like that you remember about a place.
As we had some birthday cake, and were full from the huge portions, we didn’t have any space for desserts and the kids didn’t get round to using the Fro-Co machine and decoration station, but they have made it quite clear we need to go back again to do so.
As a parent I couldn’t ask for anything more, the kids absolutely loved it, they were entertained throughout and as for us adults we all really enjoyed our food and the whole experience. The staff made my son’s birthday enjoyable and certainly one to remember.
There really is something for all the family at Hickory’s and I have to agree with the reviews it certainly is the best place to go with the kids in Huddersfield. The concept is brilliant, I only wish it opened earlier and saved me nine years of mediocre food!
You can book a table at Hickory’s Smokehouse by calling 01924 566586 or visiting their website.
Have you been to Hickory’s Smokehouse in Huddersfield? Let us know what you thought in the comments below.