Though it may be one of the bazillion (or so) barbecue openings this summer, Chicago Q in the Gold Coast feels a little different. Perhaps it’s the striking dining room or the hoard of competition trophies displayed proudly up front. It could also be that they serve St. Louis-style ribs and “competition-style” ones, which are babied and only available in very limited qualities. Did we mention the Kobe brisket? Anyway, we were able to get a look inside, chat with head chef Lee Ann Whippen, and see what other surprises were in store.
The marrying of fine dining and barbecue isn’t exactly a new development, having been explored by Blue Smoke in New York for a while now. But this is the first of the new crop of barbecue restaurants to invade the Gold Coast and Old Town area, which are home to such classic Chicago rib joints as Twin Anchors, The Fireplace Inn, and Carson’s. These institutions have fallen from critical favor in the past years, even if they are still packed with people. We’ll have to wait to see what happens once people start checking out Chicago Q.