by Kevin Baird, Eugene Daily News
Sometimes there is nothing more satisfying than a delicious plate of BBQ. In a town filled with alternative-food establishments like Cafe Yumm and the Holy Cow Cafe its exciting to have a food joint where you can stuff your face full of brisket, and eat in a way that would make your Paleolithic ancestors proud.
If you’re in the mood to founder on savory meats fresh from the smoker Mad Viking’s Smokehouse BBQ may be just what you need.
Paul Willman and Jesse Wells (a.k.a. Mad Viking), the same guys who brought the No Shame Theatre to Eugene, purchased the Oklahoma Smokehouse BBQ in December of 2011 and re-opened it as the Mad Viking’s Smokehouse BBQ in January.
The name of this restaurant was inspired by the Mad Viking character that Wells created for some sketches at No Shame Eugene, and he hasn’t strayed from the part. Wells is easily recognizable with his wild beard, unibrow and toothy grin. He’s even been known to battle with his employees with foam replica swords in the restaurant.
“The world is tough.” Mad Viking says “I want my place to be where people can come, and hang out, and relax, and take a little break from the outside world, and have some bbq.
Under new ownership the layout of the restaurant has changed a lot in hopes that it will be more inviting to customers. They have added more tables and two booths, which has doubled the available seating. They also moved the front counter towards their kitchen, which has opened the restaurant up.
The menu at Mad Vikings Smokehouse BBQ includes beef brisket and pork sandwiches topped with sauteed onions, macaroni n’ cheese with a nice spicy kick, cornbread, platters with different food combos, and Berserker Ribs.
“Our Berserker Ribs,” says Xander Berenstein (an employee). “It’s like thick bacon on a bone.”
Willman and Mad Viking are very serious about the quality of their meat too.
“All of our meat is hormone and anti-biotic free,” Mad Viking says. “Recently my supplier had run out of the anti-biotic, hormone free brisket and had offered to sell Mad Viking the regular brisket. I told the supplier that I’d rather go out of business then sell that meat.”
Mad Viking says that while the meat is anti-biotic and hormone free, they aren’t 100 percent organic as yet.
“As business grows we plan on switching fully to local organic foods, such as organic beans grown in the Willamette Valley.” Miles said.
All of their BBQ sauces are created in house. They have four sauces: mild, and hot (which are similar to traditional bbq sauces), Asgaurd’s Gold – which is a mustard based BBQ sauce, and the Smokehouse Sauce which is spicy, tangy and incredible.
The food at the Mad Viking’s is delicious, and their BBQ sauce makes is like frosting on the cake. Eric Stalker, a student at the University of Oregon, comes to this restaurant often to get a sandwich.
“It’s more natural. The product is fresh; it’s good.” he said.
Starting a restaurant hasn’t been without it’s surprises for Willman and Mad Viking. During the Super Bowl they had underestimated customer demand and completely sold out of smoked meats – before halftime. When their former head chef walked out, Chris Obst, a holdover from the defunct Oklahoma Smokehouse, stepped up and took his place as the head chef.
On Thursday Feb. 9, the Mad Viking Smokehouse will be having a grand opening. They will be celebrating by serving $1.50 microbrews for the first time at 4:00 p.m. Mad Viking will also hang his viking axe on the wall of the restaurant, an axe that was custom forged for him in Sweden.
“We work very hard at our restaurant,” Mad Viking says. “Myself and all my employees, to make the food excellent, and that extra ingredient is love and compassion, which might sound funny coming from a Mad Viking.”
Mad Vikings Smokehouse BBQ is located at 1239 Alder Street near the University of Oregon Campus.
The grand opening will be on February 9 at 4:00-8:30 p.m. they will re-open an hour later and be open from 9:30 p.m.-3:00 a.m.
You can also find them on Facebook