Big Iron Horse BBQ Opening Next Door to McGonigal’s in Time for Celtic Fest Preview

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Big Iron Horse Barbecue has moved next door to McGonigal’s Pub and is planning to open doors for a “sneak peek” at the new space in time for the pub’s 10th annual Celtic Fest March 15-17th. Guests attending the fest will be able to socialize in the space, though it’ll be a few weeks before Big Iron Horse officially opens for business.

Remember Charlotte’s Pizza moved out in early February with plans to open in a new location. Crews have been building out the Big Iron Horse concept ever since with a Barrington design team led by Lisa Norris of Norris Architects working with Brian Jarosch of Big Bear Construction.

No stranger to the Barrington restaurant scene, Big Iron Horse founder, Scott Hansen co-owned a popular local pizza place in 2005 before purchasing Mikey’s Pizza Kitchen on Hough Street in 2009. He changed the name to Cooper’s and began adding more barbecue to the menu. In 2012 they launched their Big Iron Horse catering services and changed the name from Cooper’s to Big Iron Horse BBQ in 2015.

Nearly 4-times larger than their Hough Street location, Scott says the new 205 Park Avenue space next door to McGonigal’s Pub will allow room to grow and become a regional destination for some of the best BBQ in Chicagoland. Here’s more on what’s cooking at Big Iron Horse BBQ, in Scott’s own words…


“We are excited and grateful to be moving into this beautiful venue with a much larger dining space! We’ve been patiently waiting for the perfect place to open up here in Barrington and, when this space became available, we immediately knew it was the perfect opportunity.

In our Hough Street location, capacity for seating is 30 guests, snugly, with another 24 people outdoors in the summer time. During the warmer months we’d go on a 2-hour wait for dining inside the restaurant. While we made the most of it, we’ve been confined within that space, which limited what we could offer.”

“With excellent exposure right by Barrington’s Metra station and downtown shops, the new Park Ave location will allow us to stretch our arms and legs and provide an overall greater dining experience. The new space will seat anywhere from 75 to 100 guests, including the bar-area. We also look forward to adding private and semi-private dining areas shortly after opening, allowing space for groups 100 to 125 guests for any occasion.”

“We’ve been redecorating the space to make it look more like a Nashville or Louisville style whiskey, bourbon and scotch bar featuring drinks that pair with our fusion style barbecue. Anyone who’s visited bars in Nashville or done the Bourbon Trail in Kentucky might see similarities with rustic décor and hints of distressed barn wood here and there. High ceilings, exposed brick, natural hardwood flooring, rolled steel, copper and splashes of lighting will add to the overall guest experience.

But our custom bar will be the focal point and, without giving away any details, I’m quite confident it’s going to be a ‘wow’ factor. Probably a bar nobody’s ever seen before in Barrington or, for that matter, Chicago’s Northwest Suburbs.”


“Ours is not your typical Texas 10-gallon hat, chaps and cowboy boots style of BBQ. We incorporate the flavors and cooking techniques of Texas, the Southwest and Caribbean. You’ll find items on our menu like Cuban-style black beans, cilantro jasmine rice and fish tacos along with traditional BBQ dishes like smoked beef brisket, pulled pork and baby back ribs.”

“Select stand-out items also include Kogi pulled pork tacos, a sampler plate called The Scrap Heap and a skirt steak sandwich made with Angus beef, grilled sweet red bell pepper, baby arugula, shaved red onion, crumpled goat cheese, and a balsamic glaze. They line up out the door on Fridays for our Island Jack’s Famous Fish Tacos

Prime steaks and fresh seafood will be added to our new menu as daily features and we’re also creating new dishes, which I’m going to leave as a surprise. We’re currently testing some of our new specials on the McGonigal’s side like our Memphis Style Hot Chicken, which is a southern-style spicy fried chicken that can be served as an entrée or as a sandwich.

All of the flavors pair very well with the top-shelf bourbons, whiskeys and scotches we’ll be featuring at the bar along with a selection of beer, wine and distilled spirits produced locally.

With McGonigal’s Pub right next door, this new space is the perfect fit for the brand and the future of Big Iron Horse Barbecue. We’ve worked with McGonigal’s in many ways over the years. It’s the right time and place for us to expand and it feels just like home.” 🔥🥃🏍

Learn more about the menu at and stay tuned for updates about the Big Iron Horse grand opening by following along at

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