The Blue Duck Barbecue Tavern provides top quality ingredients, scratch-made food, and exceptional service delivered in an inviting, energetic and fun atmosphere.

The Name and Concept

The name "The Blue Duck Barbecue Tavern" is inspired by the comedy Billy Madison. In a classic scene, Billy colors a duck blue simply because he wanted to see this everyday fowl in a different color. At The Blue Duck, we aim to do the same thing:  deliver a familiar and approachable product in exciting and unexpected ways. In this case that product is barbecue. In addition to traditional barbecue plates, we will offer our house-smoked meats in a unique variety of appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches, tacos, and rice bowls.

To complement our fare, we feature draft beers from regional microbreweries, dozens of domestic and imported craft beer bottles, high-quality wines, domestic and imported whiskeys served in craft cocktails, and an additional full liquor selection.

The Atmosphere

We are located at 212 SW Water Street (The River Station) on downtown Peoria’s RiverFront. The Blue Duck will occupy the space that is best known as being the former home of the old Cattlemen’s Clubcar. Steeped in the rich history of Peoria’s transportation past, the building was originally home to the Rock Island Depot and served the Chicago and Rock Island Railroad from its construction in 1899 until the “Peoria Rocket” ran its final passengers in 1978, during which year the building was added to the National Register Historic Places. The building began its transformation into a restaurant destination with the opening of the River Station restaurant a few years later in 1981, which remained a Peoria mainstay until its closing in 2000.

At The Blue Duck, we aim to inject life and enthusiasm into the resurgent RiverFront District with an exciting restaurant destination. The interior of the restaurant features a 13 foot ceiling with exposed metal beams, and dramatic reclaimed barn wood spanning the majority of two interior walls. Large flat panel televisions, a high-end sound system, interesting artwork, and high-end lighting will support our stated goal of providing an inviting, energetic, and fun atmosphere.   

The brains behind the duck

Kavan Shay has been interested in food his whole life and has spent the last four years, while working in Chicago, critically tasting the many different varieties of food and closely monitoring what makes restaurants and bars successful. He has taken that knowledge and carefully crafted a menu and concept around those pillars of success. He has spent countless hours perfecting his meat selections, tromped through forests to select the perfect local wood for smoking, and has rubbed a seemingly infinite amount of pork butts to test his special spices. All of this labor is for the love of preparing wholesome food and the shared experience a great meal can give to diners.  Kavan is especially honored to open his restaurant in Peoria, his hometown, as a way to show his appreciation for a very special city.