Remember the classic musical, Gypsy? In it, the young Gypsy Rose Lee is confronted by three flamboyant strippers who tell her if she's going to succeed in their business she's "got to get a gimmick."
Well, someone at the new joint called The Red Bar in Collinsville, Illinois was listening. They've got a great big gimmick and it's called "Giant Joe."
Giant Joe is a massive Sloppy Joe served on a 14-ounce, 10-inch bun and topped with anything you like (within reason, I am sure). If one person can eat the Giant Joe in 30 minutes or less, it's free. All that fun costs just $11.95 and possibly a trip to the gastroenterologist. (That's Misty -- one of The Red Bar's friendly servers -- hoisting a Giant Joe bun to the right.)
Gourmet Sloppy Joe's are the featured item at this restaurant/bar located at 416 Belt Line Road in Collinsville, just west of IL-159. They come naked (plain) or with a variety of toppings including: Nacho Joe (nacho cheese and jalapenos), Sloppy Rob (topped with beer-battered onion rings and American cheese), Polish Joe (sauerkraut and onions), Club Joe (lettuce, tomato, ranch dressing and bacon) and many others. You get the idea. The mix is more savory than sweet with just the right amount of heat. The Sloppy Joe's cost $5.95.
Sharing top billing on the menu are The Red Bar's Deep Fried Franks. These pure beef, half-pound, 10-inch hot dogs can be dressed in a wide range of offerings: Buffalo Dog (Buffalo wing sauce and bleu cheese crumbles), Sloppy Dog (sloppy joe mix and shredded cheddar), Chicago Dog (tomatoes, dill spears, onions, relish and garlic salt), and -- among others -- Chihuahua Dog (refried beans, shredded cheddar, jalapenos, sour cream and salsa).
If you manage to devour the big sloppies and doggies, you'll find that some of the real treats are the bar's side items. Onion rings, french fries (coated with garlic salt) and sweet potato fries are outstanding. Other appetizers include Deep Fried Pickles, Deep Fried Pizza Rolls, Chili and wings. The chili, which sports tomato chunks, ground beef and beans, has a minor kick, but can't be considered spicy hot. Three salads grace the menu, but I'll wager they are rarely at the top of diners' lists.
Open just two months, the establishment seems to have developed a loyal following. Strategically placed flat screen TVs make The Red Bar a great place to watch the games of your choice. The kitchen's hours are from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m., Mondays through Thursdays and until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. Sunday, the kitchen is open from noon until 10 p.m. Bar hours are longer.