By Molly Cerreta Smith
For Pat Frederick, owner of Danky’s Bar-B-Q located at 4727 East Bell Road, Suite 31 in North Phoenix, cooking barbeque stems from a long family tradition that started five generations ago… in Slovakia of all places. While one may not typically envision Slovakia as a hotbed for barbeque, it’s where Pat’s family learned their practices that he puts into play each day at Danky’s.
“Our family is made up of a long line of butchers and smokers,” he says. “My grandad, who was the first American born in our family, bought a farm in the Midwest in the late 40s and he started cooking barbeque – he loved the American style from mid-western style pork to Texas-style brisket.” And that is what Danky’s restaurant offers its diners today — a farm-style approach to Mesquite-wood slow-smoked BBQ meats with a focus on fresh, simple and scratch-made food … with a few Eastern European influences tossed in as a nod to Pat’s Slovakian heritage.
A local of the neighborhood since 2008 (he moved from Detroit for two things — weather and opportunity), Pat chose the location for Danky’s conveniently situated at Bell Road and Tatum Boulevard because he noticed a lack of barbeque presence in the area at the time he was developing his restaurant concept. The intimate-yet-unassuming restaurant, which opened in 2015, defines barbeque to the core, offering a wide array of barbeque options, specialty sandwiches and scratch-made sides using real ingredients. “I really wanted our menu to reflect the comfort food that I grew up with,” says Pat.
The aroma of smoke wafts out before one even steps foot through the door and the custom-made smoker out of Missouri, which is like no other, is churning out meats 24 hours a day, seven days a week with a low-and-slow approach to barbeque meats including pork, beef brisket, chicken, hot links, andouille sausage and more. The restaurant also offers unique signature sandwiches including the Danky Dank — a pulled pork classic topped with Danky’s house made relish barbeque sauce; The Curly Wolf (aka “a bad mama jama,” according to Pat) featuring chopped brisket with the restaurant’s signature green “javelina sauce”; and The Hot Southern Mess with pulled pork and chopped brisket topped with hot barbeque sauce, jalapenos and onions and more. Guests may choose between a regular sized or “big” sandwich and can build their own sandwich by picking a meat, a style and a size to make it their own. Danky’s also offers full slab dinner combos featuring baby back ribs, sides and cornbread muffins.
Speaking of sides, this is another area where Danky’s goes the extra mile to give their customers a true representation of simple farm-style barbeque with a little flair. All sides are scratch made and each is given an extra dash of creativity to make it different — and delicious. Take the Green Apple Coleslaw for example, which was inspired by a close friend’s grandfather and includes green apples and a few other special ingredients to give it a touch of sweetness. And the Pork Belly Pit Beans incorporate Slovakian seasonings to give it a “what is that?” flavor and the thick chili-like texture is a personal preference of Pat’s from back in his farm days.
As the holidays approach, Danky’s also takes large catering orders. When asked if he will accommodate custom orders, Pat replies in true farm boy manner, “Yes, ma’am.” In fact, catering and weddings have become a large part of the restaurant’s business and they are happy to oblige when it comes to creating an off-menu menu. Pat cures his own hams and can prepare turkey, brisket, beef ribs and other specialty items given some time. Generally speaking he needs at least 72 hours to prepare custom holiday orders, but as much as five days or more for a custom-cure item.
Whether cooking for a crowd or for guests that walk through the door one at a time, Pat pays the same time and attention to each plate. It all comes down to giving people the simplicity of the farm-fresh food he came to love growing up and he’s happy to say that he gets a healthy balance of both regulars and new faces in every day. “Every day, I recognize people and I see new people — and that’s how we know we’re doing something right,” he says. For more, visit www.dankysbbq.com.
4727 E. Bell Rd.