Now, this isn’t a ranking of the best barbecue in Chicago, but instead, simply the ones that have received the most votes. In some cases, the verdict was quite negative! But oh well, the people have spoken. Since the top five all received six or seven reviews, we will let the rating be the final arbiter. The best review for each restaurant follows. So:
5) Calvin’s BBQ, with 6 reviews and an abysmal rating of 2.5:
Bad choice, should’ve bought the lotto - If you want attitude, so-so food and a punishing experience, then you belong here. I tried the pulled-pork “world-class” sandwich and I think the name is correct for a third-world place in a first-world country…not so good. Rib tips were maybe less than average. Service gets a zero from me and if you want to know why, just visit this place and it will be obvious when they short you on your food, your taste, but not the cost, Calvin’s website states that “…if you don’t really like people, you’re in the wrong business…” well guess what Calvin, either you change your staff or delete this from your webpage, because it’s not happening dude. Most importantly, looks like Calvin needs to go back to St. Louis for retraining immediately if not sooner. [Ed.: haha]
4) Fat Willy’s Rib Shack, with 6 reviews and a rating of 3.5:
Was a huge fan of Fat Willy’s in the beginning. Absolutely LOVE their spicy bbq sauce. Recently, however, I notice the prices are high and the service is low. I called for delivery on evening and was rudely put on hold (had to hang up and call back 5 times) before being told that delivery orders aren’t taken until 5pm (it was 4:55). Overall - the cold and soggy food that arrived was very expensive, in my opinion. Two sandwhich dinners for $30.00. Will be trying some over, more down-to-earth bbq joints from now on.
3) Smoque BBQ, with 7 reviews and a rating of 3.5:
The only thing missing…is a bigger dining room with an actual wait staff. We went here on a Saturday night and the place was PACKED! Not that I mind rubbing elbows with strange people at a picnic table…but they have the volume to warrent a bigger space. That said, the food was DELICIOUS!!! I had the pulled pork sandwich with fries and mac & cheese. YUM! Love the fact that it’s BYOB. A great value, too.
2) Bar-B-Que Bob’s, with 6 reviews and a rating of 4:
Opened in 2005, this simple little rib joint has 3 folding plastic tables and 6 or 8 folding chairs… friendly store front atmosphere… and slow (attention to detail) service. This place has the best ribs… pork and beef, super greens and beans, and killer cornbread. Typical of a lot of small rib joints there is no diet pop. Oh well… try it! It’s great.
1) Honey 1 BBQ, with 7 reviews and a rating of 4:
Honey 1 has amazing ribs and excellent sauce. Their hot links are also very, very good with the right amount of zip. My only (small) complaint is that the pulled pork sandwich, while delicious, is tiny and seems overpriced at 8 bucks. Overall, this is the best BBQ I’ve had in Chicago and I HIGHLY recommend it.
We’ll buy Honey 1’s rank, at least. Also, four of five are on the Northwest Side, which shows a bias. Next time: South Side BBQ!