People are diggin' the fare at The Dugout

DeWayne Bartels
TJ Syndram, manager of The Dugout At Eureka, fixes a slushie.

Ask TJ Syndram or his father, Chris Syndram, the recipe for their popular pulled pork and there is a standard answer — “If I told you I’d have to kill you.”

TJ, manager of The Dugout At Eureka, said that is the answer his father gave an Associated Press reporter who came through Eureka on a mission to find the best pulled pork in America.

TJ said the reporter from Virginia fell in love with their recipe. The pork is cooked for 14 hours on Fridays and then hand pulled. If the restaurant runs out — which has been happening with increased frequency — more gets prepared mid-week.

“My dad and I are the only ones who know the recipe. It took us about six months to come up with it,” TJ said.

“We went through a lot of really bad recipes before we found the one we have now.”

The Dugout At Eureka is open 4-9:30 p.m. Sunday through Friday. On Saturday the restaurant opens at 11:30 a.m.

“We’ve definitely been drawing customers from outside Eureka,” TJ said.

“I’m a PR major. I enjoy working here. I find I like all aspects of business — ordering, sales, cooking. I’m learning stuff I would never learn in the classroom.”

The restaurant, open since April, offers ice cream, sandwiches and drinks.

“Business has been great. The community was ready for a change. We went for a new approach. Our menu is different. People have responded well.”

TJ said he has been quite surprised to find ice cream sales drop off in the recent withering heat.

“I learned through research that nationally people stop buying ice cream after the temperature goes over 95,” TJ said.

“I guess people worry about ice cream melting when it is that hot. What we’ve been selling much more of is slushies.”