Photo by David Colburn
Tom LeMaster cuts the ribbon June 6 for the grand opening of Big T’s Fine Foods in Pontoon Beach. (From left) Gavin Modrusic, Nick Modrusic, Judy Modrusic, Faith Parther, Pontoon Beach Trustee Linda McFarland, Police Chief Christopher Modrusic, Tom LeMaster, Mayor Mike Pagano, Trustee Steve Freese, Darin Chiropractic Marketing Director Brandi Bissey and Economic Development Director Ben Motil.
PONTOON BEACH — An enthusiastic crowd — including trustees, Pontoon Beach Mayor Mike Pagano and hungry patrons — gathered on June 6 outside the newest tenant of the Oakmont Shopping Center for the ribbon-cutting and grand opening of Big T’s Fine Foods.
Following a long-standing interest in creating delicious dishes for the public, Big T’s is Glen Carbon resident Tom LeMaster’s first venture into the restaurant business.
“It’s something I’ve talked about for 10 or 15 years with serious consideration,” LeMaster said. “I ended up on disability at work and needed something to do with my time. Pontoon Beach is a good place, so I went for it.”
A family-owned business, Big T’s is staffed by LeMaster’s wife, Darla, and children Dylan, Dalton, Destiny and Dawson.
“I wanted to sell things that everyone else in the area isn’t selling,” LeMaster said. “We’ve got a variety of finger foods — or bar foods — and our signature sandwich is called the Boss Hog.”
Described as “the boss of all roast pork sandwiches,” LeMaster said the sandwich caters to hearty appetites and goes hand in hand with the Big T’s emblem of the pig with a chef hat and silverware in each hoof.
Other menu highlights include Big T’s Burger, a double bacon cheeseburger; the Big Dyl, a chicken and bacon sandwich served on a bun with ranch dressing; toasted ravioli; double-dipped Dirty Wings in four flavor choices of buffalo, teriyaki, lemon pepper and garlic parmesan; chef salad with six dressing choices of ranch, poppy seed, honey mustard, Italian, French and Thousand Island; and freshly made sweet treats for dessert.
Peering down the road himself, LeMaster has big plans for Big T’s.
“I hope I can supply a huge service to the village ... I’d like Big T’s to be known the way Fast Eddie’s is known in Alton someday,” LeMaster said.
The restaurant, 4020 Pontoon Road in Suite 1D of the Oakmont Shopping Center, is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For information, call (618) 501-4130 or visit bigtsfood.doodlekit.com or facebook.com/BigTsFood.