I had the pleasure of attending the Pond Street pop-up event over this past weekend hosted at Po’ Boys Restaurant. It was great to see an established restaurant help an aspiring restauranteur and chef. The folks at Po’ Boys should really be commended. I didn’t know anything about Pond Street until I attended this event.
Based on my experience, I’ll be looking for future Pond Steet events and enjoy learning more about them and their great food. My wife and I have always been huge Po’ Boys fans and go as often as we can. You can read my review here.
First up on the pop-up menu was Pond Street’s hot ham and cheese ($13) with fries included. If this was any indication of what Pond Street puts out, you are never going to get a garden variety anything from them. Calling this a hot ham and cheese is like calling Pebble Beach just another golf course.
The sandwich was made of cured and cherrywood-smoked ham, spiced tomato jam, horseradish aioli, and Irish white cheddar cheese on a poppy seed brioche bun. Let’s start with the brioche bun. Sometimes I find brioche buns too dense and large that they overtake the other ingredients. This brioche bun was light and fluffy and allowed the wonderful flavors to come through, yet it didn’t fall apart. The smoked ham had an amazing flavor, and the Irish cheddar was perfectly melted.
The balance between the tomato jam and horseradish aioli was great. My wife is not a horseradish fan, but she loved this sandwich. The hint of horseradish flavor was tasty without it taking over the entire sandwich. The fries were excellent: crispy on the outside, soft and warm on the inside. They were seasoned well and a good complement to the sandwich.
The second pop-up feature was a 10 inch Po’ Boys dillfredo pizza ($13). A creation of Andy, one of the owners, it was a thin crust pizza with creamy garlic alfredo, muenster cheese, and sliced dill pickles. I love when people get creative like this. I also believe when you find unusual combinations that work, the results are far superior to traditional flavors.
The thin crust was perfect as we have come to expect from Po’ Boys. The flavors worked fantastically together. Disclaimer: I’m a pickle fiend, so I figured I would love this. I have a dill pickle flavored sunflower seed and potato chip issue, along with just eating dill pickles by the jar. The tart of the pickles on this pizza worked in great contrast with the creamy garlic alfredo sauce and muenster cheese. The pickles were sliced like pepperoni — and a generous amount. If you have never tried Po’ Boys pizza, do yourself a favor and get one. I was so hooked on their wings and rib tips, it took me years to try their pizza. Once I tried it, I immediately regretted those lost years.
You can’t go wrong in supporting both Po’ Boys and Pond Street. Both make wonderful from-scratch food and are locally owned. I hope to see more Pond Street pop-up events and try more of what they have to offer. I haven’t tried it, but I did see a picture of their fish sandwich, and it looked amazing. Kudos to Po’ Boys in hosting this fun and wonderful event.
Follow Pond Street on Instagram for updates on future pop-ups in Champaign-Urbana.
Po’ Boys Restaurant
202 E University Ave
W-Su 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.