At Penguin Ed's homemade cookies meet the perfect rack of ribsBookmark this
Penguin Ed's Bar-B-Que has come a long way from its humble roadside beginnings. Getting his start smoking barbecue from a trailer at the crossroads of Crossover and Mission Blvd over 25 years ago; the emperor penguin himself, Ed Knight, and his more-than-just-barbecue business have grown to include three restaurants now across Fayetteville. Each location is unique, with a different atmosphere and different items on the menu. Their perfectly-smoked, tender, juicy barbecue and signature sauces have been winning awards and returning customers since the beginning, but you can get way more than barbecue from Penguin Ed's. They make praise-worthy burgers, hot wings, fresh salads -- even breakfasts, on the weekend -- and don't get me started on their cookies.
The restaurant concept began with a limited menu and the intention of serving home-smoked barbecue to the working lunch crowd. The story behind the penguins is a little more bizarre. During what was possibly a heat-induced daze caused by the cramped and over-heated conditions of the original food-trailer, Knight decided to make a paper-mache emperor penguin colony. Whether it was just delirium or all part of a master plan, we may never know; but Knight had had a long-standing admiration for the way penguins share the good and the bad together to survive. Shortly after opening their first brick-and-mortar location, they really began adding to the menu. Ed's daughter, Audrey, began making cookies with her grandmother's family recipe to sell in the restaurant, and it wasn't long before the barbecue crowd fell in love, and the recipe needed to be scaled up to meet the demand.
Nowadays, a full breakfast menu is available on weekends from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Penguin Ed's Mission location, complete with pastries from their bakery. Amber "Frosty" Halzle has been Penguin Ed's in-house baker for nearly half a decade, and she really knows her stuff. Knight just can't say enough about his master baker. "I am truly in awe of her," says Knight. "[Amber] has taken it to a whole 'nother level! Jut her ability to hold a standard, and her tenacity," he continues, "she just goes above and beyond the call of duty." Arriving at 6 a.m. every morning, she diligently and meticulously begins her day baking Audrey's cookies. "You really can't be mad about getting up early to bake cookies," she laughs. Halzle knows how important the cookies are to Ed and his regulars, and after explaining how she is sort of a control freak, she adds, "when you bite into that cookie, you want it to taste just like you remember. We make them fresh every morning, and consistency is everything." Halzle is passionate about baking, and she literally holds the key to Audrey's secret family recipes.
Her favorite, like so many of Ed's cookie-lovers, is the Chocolate Chip Toffee Pecan; but she let me in on a little secret: the Neiman Marcus is the best "breakfast" cookie, and it goes perfectly with a cup of coffee.
Although their barbecue brings in most of their business, many people swing by just for the cookies. They're really that good. Call ahead to get a custom cookie cake made fresh in any of their 11 flavor varieties and iced with scratch-made icing by Frosty herself. The M&M cookies are popular with kids, and they make everything from double chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin to white chocolate apricot and snickerdoodles on the daily.
If you happen to be near Penguin Ed's B&B location, go all-out and get a couple of their unique fried pies and take home a dozen of Audrey's cookies.
Check out penguineds.com or visit their Facebook page to see each location's weekly specials, study their full menu and cookie flavors, or request a catering event.
Penguin Ed's West: 6347 W. Wedington Dr.
Sunday-Thursday 10:30 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Friday-Saturday 10:30 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Penguin Ed's B&B: 230 S. East Ave.
Monday-Thursday 10:30 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Friday & Saturday 10:30 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Sunday 10:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Penguin Ed's Bar-B-Que: 2773 E. Mission Blvd.
Sunday-Thursday 10:30 a.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Friday & Saturday 10:30 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Breakfast Saturday & Sunday 7:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.