Hot Sauce Williams
 Cleveland, Ohio           Date of Visit: 07-25 and 26-10                No Known Website

Iím not sure what to do with Hot Sauce Williams. Following a Cleveland night game we punched the address into the GPS and found ourselves on Lee Street. Small and cramped with only four chairs and a handful of parking spaces the Lee Street location is essentially carry-out only. Now Hot Sauce Williams has been getting some love from travel and food shows so we hung out with the locals and were eventually served by a man wearing a badge and what I am pretty sure was a handgun. I donít think he is protecting the secret recipe.

The service is brusque but relatively efficient if youíre not in much of a hurry. We thought we would give the chicken and hot polish a shot. Back in the car we began unwrapping our late dinner and had some real surprises. The hot polish sandwich consists of bun, beef kielbasa, hot sauce, fries, pork shoulder, and coleslaw. All I can say is if you can get it in your mouth it makes a lot of sense. The hot sauce is miles from hot and leans much more toward the tangy and sweet and works well with the rest of the dish although the kielbasa could use some spice in and of itself. Now if the magic sauce works on the crazy sandwich what does it do for the chicken? Here was the real magic. The crust on the chicken is not crunchy, it is cracky. Think of biting hard sugar candy. The crisp stands up to the sauce long enough to devour a really good take on fried chicken.


Glorious Chicken Dinner

The "Official Sandwich" of Cleveland

The Inner Workings of the Polish Boy

The slaw is also a standout, creamy but with a really sharp vinegar twang. We wanted to go back in and order a bunch of other stuff but good sense prevailed. Not three blocks from the drive we realized we were meeting good friends after tomorrowís day game and we could check out a sit down location. I mean this stuff is awesome, they will love it.

Day two. Itís pink and green, I mean really pink and green. But itís got tables and we get to have chicken again. Letís just say HSW would have fared much better here had we not been able to find the second location. The service is uncoordinated, unintelligible, and uninterested. After several attempts to communicate our desire at the counter the staff, none of which appear to have any assigned duty, begins to crawl all over each other trying to do the exact same thing. No one remembers what the order was and will continually need you to retrieve your receipt in an effort to approximate your order, handling money and stuff from other peopleís pockets without a hand-sink in sight. We got half our order and tried the ribs, pulled pork, greens, black-eyed peas, mac and cheese, and we ordered more chicken. To be completely honest, the greens were pretty good but could have used a little spice and the pulled pork sandwich was more like a kiddie pool filled with tasty pork and sauce with a little float of slaw. Everything else was an abject disappointment.

Put the Sauce on Everything

Greens and Cheesey Mac

Store Bought Okra

Dental Floss Ribs

Pulled Pork Redemption

The ribs are overdone and dry beyond the resurrection power of any sauce. The peas tasted very much like dirt, the mac and cheese was grainy and boring. With the insufferable service and mediocre at best chow, I would go back, just for the chicken and sauce with slaw, which by the way we never got on our second trip, even though it was promised. If you give them a try keep your order simple and stick to yard bird, the rest seems to be hype. All that tv time is being squandered if this is the daily grind at HSW.


That's Just Insane (What's Under the Bread)




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