Doug Severson knows about meat.

Spending nearly a quarter of a century working at John Morrell will do that to a guy.

In addition, Val Schwedler has been working in the kitchens of various Sioux City bars, including the much-missed Soozs Saloon, for years.

Together, Severson and Schwedler have joined forces, creating comfort food classics at Severson's Variety Meats and Eats, located in the back of Pete's 20th Street Tap, 3118 Jay Ave.

"At some bars, you might want a snack," Schwedler said, shaking her head. "Our customers, on the other hand, expect full, home-cooked meals." 

And both Schwedler and Severson are more than happy to please patrons with plenty of lip-smacking food that is several cuts above standard bar food fare.

An experienced smoker, Severson grills everything from fall-off-the-bone ribs to seductive barbecued wings and drumsticks.

Schwedler's specialty is harder to pinpoint. She's equally at home, making everything from chicken fried steaks, goulash and hot beef sandwiches.

"Our hot beef sandwiches are to die for," Schwedler said. "You'll need a to-go box because we give you a mountain of meat."

Severson nodded in agreement.

"Our ribs platter comes with three huge ribs plus an order of fries for only $8,"he said. "People's eyes just light up when they see how much food they'll be getting."

Severson's a big believer in giving people their money's worth. His smoked wings are massive. While you can order them "naked" (or sauceless), we recommended choosing any one of the spicy hot sauces concocted by Schwedler.

From a spicy habanero number to an Asian sauce that is both sweet and hot, Schwedler has the magic touch with things that will make you sweat.

Just don't ask her to sample any for herself.

"I can't eat anything spicy," Schwedler said, shrugging.

"I get to be Val's hot sauce guinea pig," Severson said. "I like everything spicy, so I don't mind at all."

He's especially fond of the full menu of Mexican foods, that included soft and crunchy tacos, a taco burger and a ginormous Burrito Supreme, 

However, if you're in the mood for pizza, Severson can make that as well.

Customer have their choice of meats, cheese and veggies for made-from-scratch pizzas. Though Severson sometimes lets his pizza oven do some double duty.

"Doug will put the rolls he uses for hoagies in the pizza oven," Schwedler said. "That way, the roll gets a bit crusty on the outside and soft on the inside."

Those are but a few of the small details that sets Severson's apart from the pack.

"Nothing we make is fancy," Severson said. "But everything that we make is good."

Which, apparently, is exactly what the patrons of  Pete's 20th Street Tap have been hankering for.

"You can get bar food any place," she said. "If you want a delicious, home-cooked meal, you can come here."

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Food and Lifestyles reporter

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