ELK GROVE - Lance Briggs, the seven-time Pro Bowl linebacker of the Chicago Bears and former Elk Grove High School star, returned to his hometown on Monday to celebrate the grand opening of his new barbecue restaurant.
Located in the Elk Grove Sports Center off Laguna Boulevard, attached to the Pins n' Strikes Bowling Alley where Coach's Bar and Grill used to be, you will find the freshly remodeled Double Nickel Smokehouse; where hundreds of area fans turned out to meet and greet Briggs and celebrate the opening. The Double Nickel paying homage to Briggs' NFL jersey number 55.
Briggs warns patrons that if you come to the Double Nickel Smokehouse, bring your appetite along with you.
"This is not the stop you want to make if you're dieting," Briggs told News10. "This is comfort food; it's a great place with a great atmosphere, it's really, really good food, too. This is now a must stop in Elk Grove"
The turnout for the grand opening was more than was expected, as the restaurant ran out of nearly every main course on the menu, including brisket, ribs, chicken and salmon.
Briggs, who will turn 34 years-old in November, hooked up with fellow Elk Grove High School friend and classmate Cameron Lee as a business partner years ago, but the concept for the smokehouse began at the beginning of the year.
Bears head coach Marc Trestman granted Briggs Monday off so he could attend the grand opening. The three-time All-Pro caught a flight out of Chicago in the early morning hours and after experiencing some delay, he arrived at his new restaurant 12 hours later. He will fly out early Tuesday morning to return to practice in Chicago on Wednesday to prepare for the season opener against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday at Soldier Field.
The following week, Briggs and his teammates come back to California to face the San Francisco 49ers at their home opener at Levi's Stadium on Sept. 15.
Last season, Briggs appeared in nine games, suffering a fracture in his shoulder. He had played less than 14 games in any of his previous NFL seasons.
"We have a lot of talent," Briggs said about the outlook for the Bears upcoming season, which will be his 12th overall. "After last year, going 8-8, we're humble group. I think we just want to work hard and let the chips fall where they may."
The Double Nickel Smokehouse is located at 3443 Laguna Boulevard, Suite 150 and a menu can be found at www.smokehouse55.com
Follow Sean Cunningham on Twitter: @News10Sean