Monday, August 6, 2012

Making a Mess in Room 225

Hot Sauce Williams
3770 Lee Road
Cleveland, OH

We call this website Suits in Strange Places.

Because when you are a business traveler combing the back woods and back alleys of America to find the coolest places to eat, drink and have fun, you have to be willing to push yourself a bit out of your comfort zone.

With this gig, you just have to accept the fact that you just aren’t always going to fit in.

Especially when you are a white guy in a suit in the ghetto of Cleveland.

It’s not like I’m going to pass myself off as a local at Hot Sauce Williams.

Sometimes you just have to get your food, snap a few clandestine pictures and take it back to Room 225 at the Clarion.

So, I hope, my dear reader, you’ll grant me special dispensation this one time.

Tonight, Suit757 was doing carry out – the cop out of every solo business traveler.

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized how important and profound this review could become.

Every business traveler in America can relate to the perils of motel room carry out.

After 250+ reviews on this website, it’s about time we broached this important issue.

It’s time someone stood up for the rights of the solo business traveler.

We’re tired of being treated as second class citizens. Persecuted business travelers should unite for more napkins, better utensils and a table to eat at in the motel room that faces the TV!

Is that too much to ask for?

I think not!

From my research, I knew Hot Sauce Williams probably wasn’t going to be a “dine in” kind of place anyway. And I heard it was on the seedy side of town.

So I figured I must have been lost as I cruised down Van Aken Boulevard in my rental Ford Focus past stately brick mansions and leafy suburban side streets on my way to Hot Sauce Williams.

But as soon as I turned left on Lee Road and rumbled over the railroad crossing, the neighborhood changed dramatically.

Within the span of a few hundred feet, the bucolic Cleveland suburbs transformed into chicken and waffle joints, pawn shops and pay day check cashing services.

I guess this is what they mean by “wrong side of the tracks.”

And to think, pompous Yankees accuse us Southerners of segregation?

We figured this stuff out a long time ago. Forget the federal government. Good food will always be the best desegregation tool.

I guess that’s why I thought it was strange that I was the only white guy to come or go in the ten or fifteen minutes I spent at Hot Sauce Williams.

For a place with barbeque and sausages this good, great food should transcend demographics, like it does in the South.

Speaking of desegregation, I found it ironic that one of the most famous items on Hot Sauce Williams’ menu is something called a “Polish Boy”.

That’s what I came for!

Cleveland has long boasted a large Polish population with top notch pierogies and kielbasa readily available.

But great Polish sausage at a black barbeque joint? I don’t have an explanation for that one.

A Cleveland Polish Boy is a kielbasa sausage on a hot dog roll smothered in French fries, cole slaw and that namesake hot sauce.

Yes. You read that right.

The French fries and cole slaw are squooshed onto the top of the sausage along with the hot sauce.

You get all four food groups in each bite.

Of course, as Suit757, I was concerned that most important food group of all might be under represented under that mound of carbs.

So I eagerly voted for the option of adding freshly barbequed pulled pork to my Polish Boy monstrosity.

I was feeling pretty proud of myself as I made my way back to the Clarion under the intoxicating spell of Hot Sauce Williams’ hot sauce saturating the recycled air inside my Ford Focus.

I just ordered pork on top of my pork!

Aren’t I clever?

That was the longest six mile drive of my life.

Nostrils tingling with the scent of dead pig saturated in hot sauce. Stomach growling in anticipation.

Forget that slow ass motel elevator.

I bounded the stairs three at a time to the second floor, fumbled for my plastic key, and flew open the door.

Didn’t even bother to bolt it. I had more important things to do.

I flipped the TV to the Indians game, cracked open my $12 “Hoppin’ Frog Goose Juice” and laid my aluminum foil Arch of the Covenant on my lap.

This was the moment I had been waiting for all my life.

I opened it up like a four year old on Christmas morning.

And there it was splayed out before me – an absolute freaking mess.


Cole slaw, pork, hot sauce, fries, bun and sausage disemboweled like the carnage from an overly realistic war movie.

No fork. No knife. No plate. No bib. Two meager cocktail napkins.

If you’ve ever attempted to eat carry-out on the bed spread of a motel mattress, you can feel my pain.

I mean, every motel, no matter how cheap, now provides you with a coffee maker, iron and ironing board. Is it too much to ask for a few paper plates, plastic forks and paper towels?

I guess so.

I sacrificed a motel towel to mop up my inglorious mess.

Serves them right.

I quickly concluded there is no responsible, mature way to eat a Cleveland Polish Boy.

So I just went all cave man on it with my bare hands. And resisted the urge to use my gory fingers to change the channel between innings.

I was up to my elbows in cole slaw, hot sauce and pig remainders, dripping all over the well worn Clarion carpet.

And you know what? Alone in my motel room, with no one looking judgmentally at me, there was something liberating about devouring my meal like a Neanderthal.

I think my primitive conditions in Room 225 made my Polish Boy taste even better.

The sausage was dense and smoky but complimented by the creamy cool flavor of the cole slaw and starchy fries.

But the highlight was the pulled pork and sauce, which seemed more sweet than hot – surprising, considering the name of the place.

Best of all was my Goose Juice – the one clear cut advantage to motel room carry out.

When you can stop by the Whole Foods across the street to buy your own beer, you are not held hostage by the lame dine-in selection of beer taps.

That was especially important this evening considering that Hot Sauce Williams doesn’t even serve beer.

It would be a crime against man and nature to consume a pork and hot sauce-laden Polish
Boy with anything but good craft beer.

Granted, pouring it into the shrink-wrapped plastic Clarion cup is probably not what the brewers down the road at Akron’s Hoppin’ Frog Brewery had in mind when they carefully crafted this high alcohol rye IPA.

But, you know. See above about the plight of motel dwelling business travelers.

Come to think of it, I’ve had enough of these indignities.

I’m starting a national campaign right now with this review: beer-clean pint glasses in EVERY hotel room.

Oh, and don’t forget the extra napkins.

Rating: Seriously Thought About Buying Shirt.

Hot Sauce Williams on Urbanspoon


  1. As a native Clevelander and a fan of Hot Sauce Williams it's good to know you enjoyed yourself! If you ever in Cleveland again and are feeling adventurous take a trip down to Shaker Square and Big Al's, it's a Breakfast spot that serves good eats!

    1. Thanks for the tip. I'll definitely check it out next time I'm in Cleveland!