This Sunday is Father’s Day. Celebrating this special event will be close to 72.2 million fathers.

Growing up, I was lucky to have a dad that, well, made life interesting. His personality was larger than life; funny, compassionate and, of course, wise. Not only was he my dad but also my best friend. Sadly, we lost him much too early.

When my dad, B.J. Moore, was alive, Father’s Day was a huge holiday. He would dress up in his blue T-shirt, blue shorts and blue baseball cap. All day we would refer to him as “Junior Bluebird.” It was a great time at our house, cooking out and playing games.

Just a little history about Father’s Day

• Sonora Smart Dodd, of Spokane, Wash., decided to honor fathers after hearing a sermon about Mother’s Day. She also wanted to pay tribute to her father, William Jackson Smart, who was a widower who raised six children on his own.

• Father’s Day holds a special place in the heart for single dads, a demographic that is on the rise. In 2017, there were 2 million households led by a single father, a 900 percent increase from the 1960s.

• Like most holidays, it does come with a cost. Spending on Father’s Day will account for an estimated $15.5 billion in sales, according to the National Retail Federation. This includes cards, clothing, gift cards and electronics.

What plans will you have with your dad this weekend? If you’re not cooking out, why not take him out to dinner? Here are just a few suggestions that will make him and his tummy happy.

A restaurant I recommend is Tom’s Tavern & Restaurant in Kempton. It’s a wonderful Sunday drive through the winding backroads to Kempton.

With a population of less than 250, there is one attraction I’ve heard about, read about, wrote about and love — get ready — it’s time for Tom’s “all-you-can-eat-meat buffet” for Father’s Day. This is homestyle cooking at its best, fresh and served piping hot.

The buffet is by reservation only Sunday. Seatings are: 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. On the menu are Tom’s delicious homemade soups and a full salad bar along with desserts.

For entrees, I recommend you try the smoked beef brisket, absolutely fabulous. Also, there’s grilled steak kabobs, barbecue back ribs, their signature fried chicken, mostaccioli, cod and Italian seasoned pork chops.

I love the hand-breaded fried chicken. It’s quite similar to the chicken my grandma used to make for us — tender and crisp. The smoked brisket is tender and has an excellent flavor; the barbecue pork is amazing. The sauce is homemade, perfect not too spicy or too sweet with just a touch of tangy.

If you like mashed potatoes and gravy, these are some of the best, and they’re real. Don’t eat too much because there is a dessert bar. Price for the buffet is $19.95 for adults, $7.95 for children 6-10 and kids younger than five eat free.

Tom’s Tavern is at 221 Main St., Kempton. Call 815-253-6407. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday to Saturday. The kitchen is open 4:30-8:30 p.m. Sunday. The bar is open longer hours.

Treat Dad to lunch or dinner at Hoppy Pig in Bradley. They have some of the best pub grub around, not to mention a great selection of beer.

One of my favorite appetizers is their new bacon wrapped poppers with seasoned cream cheese. Trust me — anything wrapped in bacon is amazing. Another item I recommend is their crispy brussel sprouts. Even people who make faces when you mention brussel sprouts will have to agree that these are delicious.

For an entrée, I suggest the cider-brined pork chops with bourbon, orange and sugar cane gastrique, served with a side of sea salt potatoes. Or try some tender baby back ribs, smoked with apple-wood, and sous vide for 18 hours. Either of these entrees will make Dad feel like a king.

Finish the meal with one of their fantastic desserts like their bourbon fried Twinkies, or deep fried brownie sundae.

These suggestions are for adults only: a caramel crunch shake made with Buffalo Trace, Heath bars, caramel and whipped cream; chocolate covered cherry shake made with Dr. McGillicuddy cherry vodka, chocolate and whipped cream; or their adult root beer float made with root beer whiskey, Abita root beer and Rumchata.

Have a wonderful day with Dad and make every day a Father’s Day!

Tinker Parker can be reached at 815-802-5101, at bestbites@daily-journal.com, or follow her at Facebook.com/ TDJBestBites.

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