We had heard rumors of this place for some time and when Steve Dolinsky reported that “Chicago q is the city’s first “elegant” BBQ palace” we knew the time had come. We were delighted to hear that Lee Ann Whippen of BBQ Pitmasters fame was the Chef and Partner, we knew we had yet another special BBQ place in Chicago. Lee Ann has moved to Chicago to make this place something special and that speaks to the mix of authentic competition and Virginia BBQ. Combine that with an atmosphere that you can only find in the Chicago Gold Coast, they did a fantastic job. The decor is like a chic Southern Plantation meets modern casual restaurant space. It is wide open with a cool bar, great dining area and a couple of private rooms including flat screens for watching sports. They also do carry out which they said is a huge part of their business.
Staff was really knowledgeable and this was an important part of the experience. When we mentioned that we owned a BBQ store we were treated to visits from the General Manager as well as Lee Ann herself! Lee Ann was really friendly, shared some of her experience of Chicago and was happy to spend the time and energy needed to make the place a success. Our waiter was awesome too, he was very attentive and even got us a kitchen tour, complete with a look at the smoker! This place is the real deal, a gorgeous kitchen complete with a smoker that is gas fired, but real smoking wood stacked right next to it.
We had to try the Kobe beef brisket and went for the Competition Spare Ribs as well as baked beans, fries and mac and cheese for the sides. BBQ is served with the sauce on the side, one is a mild sauce and the other has a little spice to it. The Kobe Beef Brisket was a little dry for my tastes, but very tasty and had a great smoke flavor. The bark on the outside exposed the Lee Ann Whippen Family signature rub “Pig Powder”, which tells me that it was cooked right but needed sauce to make it delicious. The Competition style Spare’s were so damn moist and pink that they pulled right off the bone. They had a great glaze to them which was tasty and perfectly complimented the rub. When we took our kitchen tour we noticed that each rack is wrapped in foil, just like most do in competition and pulled out of the smoker just before serving to you.
The sides is where you could taste all the love. We have heard that their onion rings are not to be missed, sorry we missed them. The Mac and Cheese was special, not
your run of the mill side dish, and we loved it. Overall, it was great to have something this authentic and special in Chicago. It is a great atmosphere and the prices are reasonable based on the neighborhood and the level of service you receive. They have a balance of southern hospitality and fine dining. You could go there to watch a game in the bar, carry out, have a nice dining experience with friends or enjoy a large party in one of their signature private rooms. Exciting to see Modern BBQ hit Chicago, and to have a real BBQ Pitmaster and a high standard of service complete the experience.
You can book a reservation right from their site, I would recommend one as you never know in Chicago. They are kid friendly, casual dining and have more on the menu than just BBQ (The qBurger sounds out of this world).