We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.

Shemwell's Barbecue Downtown

Map updates are paused. Zoom in to see updated info.
Reset zoom
Updating Map...
Get directions
1102 Washington Ave, Cairo, IL 62914-2048
+1 618-734-0165
07:00 - 19:00
Closed now
See all hours
Mon - Sat 07:00 - 19:00
More Info
Add Photo Write a Review

40 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year
Showing 40: English reviews
Carbondale, Illinois
Level Contributor
12 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
Reviewed 5 March 2017

My husband love's shemwell's, i haven't ever really liked their barbecue, would usually get a hamburger. Recently when we went, I decided to try the shrimp and it was tasty. Went back last week and they were out of shrimp, so needless to say, I just picked up something at the convenience store across the river. The service is mediocre.

Thank proimageteamil
Sikeston, Missouri
Level Contributor
53 reviews
49 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 January 2017

My husband likes the BBQ, I love the Catfish. It is always a win win for good food and service. Thank you !!

Thank 4wheaties
Cape Girardeau, Missouri
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 December 2016

A must stop for Pork BBQ, served hot and delish on a bun or toast. The smoke cooking is still done with Hickory, as it has been done for over 50 years.

1 Thank jimblakemore2
Alexander, Illinois
Level Contributor
28 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 November 2016 via mobile

Good local food. They have beef pork chicken, and fish. Call ahead if you want brisket they usually run out pretty early. It's a small place it's been around for a long time and for good reason

1 Thank bluto359
Sikeston, Missouri
Level Contributor
53 reviews
49 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 November 2016

We have been there many times and Love the BBQ and Catfish We have never had a bad meal there, and service. A must try if your in the area.

1 Thank 4wheaties
Cairo, Illinois
Level Contributor
20 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 October 2016 via mobile

Has a great variety of food the barbecue pork/ beef/ and turkey is really good they have the best onion rings I've tasted also the staff of young ladies are nice

1 Thank grandma212
Newport, Oregon
Level Contributor
34 reviews
21 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 October 2016

At the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers lies the almost deserted town of Cairo, Illinois of Huckleberry Finn fame. Although the town is almost gone, the food at Shemwell's is still mighty good.

1 Thank Fezlo
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 4 October 2016

I live 30 miles away, eat bbq all over the south, even lived in MS for awhile. Hands down, Shemwell's is my favorite. My brother comes home and never, ever misses going to get at least one bbq. They've been there for years, and will be there much longer. No yuppie stuff, no garlic butter on the bread, it's not... More 

1 Thank Jess M
Level Contributor
45 reviews
27 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 August 2016

The epitome of a small town restaurant! Kitsch without having to work at it. The food was fabulous with large portions, friendly service, and surrounded by locals. Cairo might as well be the South when it comes to BBQ excellence and Shemwell's doesn't disappoint. Can't remember but I think they only take cash.

Thank Jay M
Greenwood, South Carolina
Level Contributor
30 reviews
16 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 August 2016 via mobile

We were very disappointed. No real turkey, you can't serve smoked lunch meat and they serve 3 day old pork shoulders.

Thank StPaul82

Travellers who viewed Shemwell's Barbecue Downtown also viewed

Been to Shemwell's Barbecue Downtown? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing
Improve this listing

Restaurant Details

Rating summary
  • Food
    4 of 5 bubbles
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
American, Barbecue
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Restaurant features
Takeout, Seating
Good for
Cheap Eats, Local cuisine, Child-friendly
Open Hours
07:00 - 19:00
07:00 - 19:00
07:00 - 19:00
07:00 - 19:00
07:00 - 19:00
07:00 - 19:00
Location and Contact Information
  • Address: 1102 Washington Ave, Cairo, IL 62914-2048
  • Location: United States  >  Illinois (IL)  >  Cairo
  • Phone Number: +1 618-734-0165

Questions & Answers

Here's what previous visitors have asked, with answers from representatives of Shemwell's Barbecue Downtown and other visitors
2 questions
Ask a question
Questions? Get answers from Shemwell's Barbecue Downtown staff and past visitors.
Posting guidelines
Typical questions asked:
  • Do you have gluten-free options?
  • Is there a dress code?
  • Do you allow dogs on the outdoor patio?