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Bar-B-Que owner dies at 85; recipe still secret

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Bar-B-Que owner dies at 85; recipe still secret

If there were a hall of fame for Elgin-bred foods, the Morris Bar-B-Que surely would be in it, alongside the Burns Malt and the Lazarra’s Italian Beef Sandwich. The man who dished up Morris Bar-B-Que to four decades of Elginites has died at age 85.

David Gleason, son-in-law of longtime barbecue shop owner Jack Krabbe, said Krabbe died Wednesday in Denver, Colo. Services will be held Tuesday in Colorado.

“Jack was a real character, a funny guy who always made me laugh,” Gleason recalled Friday. “And their barbecue was so popular! Once, I was at O’Hare Airport and needed to contact him. I tried to find out the phone number of Morris Bar-B-Que in Elgin and the operator said it was an unlisted number.

“Imagine, a restaurant with an unlisted number. I asked Jack about that, and he said that if the number was in the phone book, people would be calling all the time and asking for takeout, and they didn’t have time to deal with it.

“Another time, I told Jack he ought to trim the tree branches because they had grown over his sign. But he just said, ‘Everyone knows where we are. They don’t need to see a sign.’ ”

Gleason believes the legendary restaurant was founded about 1930 by siblings Bill, Harry and Martha Morris. Setting up shop on Villa Street across from what would later become the Colonial Hotel, they sold pulled pork or pulled beef, piled on a bun with coleslaw and various mystery additives, based on their mother’s family recipe.

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