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Papa Willie’s BBQ’s signature dish is their Bag o’ Ribs ($14 for a half slab, $24 for a full slab), covered in the barbecue sauce that owner Brian Merel’s uncle makes. Photos by Erin Yarnall/22nd Century Media
The restaurant offers a seasonal salad ($9) filled with baby field greens, charred corn, candied pecans, dried cranberries, queso fresco and topped with a roasted shallot cranberry white balsamic vinaigrette.
The possum pie ($6), served in a mason jar, has a thick oreo crust, and is filled with a chocolate hazelnut cream, chocolate cream pudding, whipped cream and crumbled hazelnut pirouline cookies.
Uncle JJ’s blueberry crumb pie ($6) has a buttery graham cracker crust, a wild blueberry filling and a sweet cream cheese lemon zest layer, topped with graham cracker clusters.
Peter Kaspari, Contributing Editor
2:08 am CST November 5, 2019

When Brian Merel opened up Papa Willie’s BBQ in Highwood last month, he had no idea how popular it would end up being.

On his first day in business, Oct. 20, he had to close the restaurant after just 90 minutes.


Because he ran out of food.

“I was way under (the demand),” he said.

Despite running out of food, Merel said he’s happy he opened the business that day, because it gave him a glimpse of what people in Highwood and the surrounding areas want.