A major era in Cleveland food will come to an end this Saturday, March 31 when the Carnegie location of Hot Sauce Williams closes its doors for good. Management could not say exactly what time on Saturday that would happen.
Eugene "Hot Sauce" Williams practically kick-started the local barbecue scene in 1934 when he paid Black King, another pioneering BBQ restaurateur, $100 for one of his failing barbecue shops. Williams eventually parlayed that shop into a small chain of eateries. Williams, who earned the nickname "King of Barbecue," did so well that he bought a 63-acre farm in Solon and famously fished in Lake Erie while seated in the front seat of his chauffeured Cadillac.
Various Hot Sauce Williams barbecue spots popped up all over town — and even out of town — some at the hands of family members and others not. At all of them, the bill of fare was built around pork ribs and butts, which were cooked slowly over hot coals and coated in a proprietary sauce based on "secret" recipes. Hot Sauce's version — like most of the day, a ketchup, vinegar and molasses-based concoction — was said to have been handed down for generations, originating many years prior in the Deep South.
The remaining two Hot Sauce locations (3770 Lee Rd., 216-921-4704) and (12310 Superior Ave., 216-851-7788) are not closing.
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