It’s felt like barbecue weather of late, so Nick Kindelsperger calls out what he considers the nine best barbecue spots in Chicago—by which he means, within the city limits:

Our barbecue foundation remains the Black-owned operations on the South Side, where many pitmasters use aquarium-style smokers, so called for their rectangular shape and glass sides. Fueled entirely by charcoal or wood, the bare-bones contraption requires the kind of hands-on attention that takes years to master. Though you’ll be able to score pulled pork, whole racks of ribs, turkey legs and occasionally brisket, the rib tip and hot link combo reigns supreme. Chicago has its own unique style of barbecue, and this is it.

But just as barbecue has exploded in popularity all over the country, we’ve seen a wave of new pitmasters who have looked to other barbecue regions for inspiration, whether it’s the dry-rubbed ribs of Memphis or the meltingly tender brisket of Central Texas.

FWIW, I’ve been to eight of the nine—and like seven out of those eight.


Speaking of barbecue, Steve Dolinsky on a place carrying on the tradition of Uncle John’s late pitmaster Mack Sevier, which was passed down to a protege, Garry Kennebrew, and now his daughter Aja:

South Side barbecue tradition is alive and well at Uncle John’s, which occupies a sliver of a space between a cellular store and a taco joint, in a Homewood gas station parking lot. Aja Kennebrew took the reins from her dad after he retired recently; the lessons have been passed down.

“What wood to use, the recipes for the hot links…” she said. “Low and slow. You have to be diligent to mind the fire so it doesn’t burn your tips. So it’s not exactly easy. It takes some experience. It takes a few years to get it just to where you want it.”

Incidentally, I saw an ad from The Infatuation that said something about foodies being willing to spend an hour on the Dan Ryan for great food. I was trying to think where The Infatuation would be going that far south—Maple Tree Inn, in Homewood? Maybe… but Dolinsky has given us another candidate. If you check out Uncle John’s in Homewood, be sure to keep an eye out for trendy twentysomethings who read The Infatuation.


Titus Ruscitti was just in Paris again—I say again because I took one of his suggestions for North African food there, Urfa Durum, when I went in, I think, 2018, and loved it. So listen seriously:

Paris is one of the worlds most visited cities and many like myself come especially for that food and wine. It’s probably the best dining city in Europe due to its depth, only London can compare. Food is very subjective so some people might like eating Italian food in Rome or Spanish food in Madrid better than French food in Paris but Paris has better non native options than the rest of Europe as well as all of the wonderful French food. The other reason the food scene in Paris is so sensational is that there’s a respect for ingredients in France that few other places seem to match. I’m not just talking about the Michelin starred spots either but the local type places too including the bakeries of course. France is rather small in size but it offers a large bounty of locally produced ingredients and a lot of those end up at Paris’ specialty food mongers and the city’s many markets. It’s one of the top five food cities in the world as far as I’m concerned and I’ll mention many of the reasons within each description. Let’s eat!


For years, much of it under Chef Dean Zanella, 312 Chicago was one of the best Italian restaurants in town and also one of the best restaurants in the Loop. It’s been closed the last three years but Eater reports that it’s coming back:

A spacious, 280-seat affair that’s well-located for theatergoers and politicians from nearby City Hall, 312 Chicago has polished up its dining room, bar, tasting room, and mezzanine without straying too far from its original design. Black and cream tones run throughout the space, complimented by dark wood fixtures and an open kitchen with a chef’s table where patrons can engage with the restaurant’s new chef, Italian native Marcello Florio. Customers can also expect the same striking city views through large windows that fill the spaces with sunlight.

By the way, speaking of Dean Zanella, he has a new project: he and James De Marte, who had Pisolino on Belmont, are opening an Italian cooking school in that space, Tutore.


Tom Keith at NewCity on why the kids may all be drinking White Claw, but you should consider a classier, but similarly easy to drink, summer beverage like a shandy:

In theory, shandies (beer mixed with lemonade, originally from Britain) and radlers (a half beer-half fruit soda concoction, originally from Germany) should appeal to the same tastes as do hard seltzers. They’ve been around longer, and the flavor profiles are similar to those of hard seltzers, if a bit more sophisticated. Apparently, though, hard seltzers have a better PR team than do radlers or shandies, and as is generally known, booze companies spend as much (or more) on marketing as they do in the creation of the product itself.


Amy Cavanaugh on why Wilson Bauer and Alice Richter’s Flour Power is “the answer when the only question we have is where to get pasta”:

Bauer comes up with the offerings each day, crafting beautifully textured pastas with a variety of toppings. One day might be reginette with spicy tuna belly, pomodoro sauce, and capers; another, spaghetti carbonara with country ham. The combinations don’t all nail it: Lumache with goat cheese, mushroom cream, and pickled shallots didn’t quite cohere, but chicken piccata sure did, with loads of lemon, capers, and butter.


You may recall hearing about a short documentary about Cambodian restaurant owner Ethan Lim (Hermosa), Cambodian Futures. Well, he’s joining Julia Child, Mister Rogers and Leo Buscaglia as a PBS star—it will be viewable on PBS.com later this month. Eater has a story about it:

The film premiered in March at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival in Missoula, Montana. It’s part of American Masters documentary shorts series called In the Making from Firelight Media. It’s a story of the unique nature of Lim’s culinary voice — he’s a Buddhist, a brother, a son born of his family’s experience surviving the Cambodian genocide and seeking refuge in the United States — that is making its mark on the city’s hospitality industry.


Well, this is an oddball combination even if you’re not convinced that Tiki bars are Satan’s own grass skirt.

Part of the space once home to the Silver Palm in West Town has been converted into a tiki bar — and the former restaurant’s famous railcar dining room will also soon start serving cocktails.

Tiki Tiki at the Silver Palm, 768 N. Milwaukee Ave., has opened in the front part of the former restaurant, just south of The Matchbox cocktail bar, co-owner Gregg Weinstein said Wednesday.

I guess that means the tiki part is not in the old rail car, but still, that’s a lot of themes in not much space. Block Club has the story.


David Hammond and Monica Eng have a book about Chicago foods out—you may have heard this. They talked about it on WBEZ’s Reset here, and with David Manilow at The Dining Table.

Also on The Dining Table—David talks with Ashok Selvam of Eater Chicago about how the popular site works. They start off by talking about the question everyone in food gets—what’s your favorite restaurant? One of the first things I learned as a food writer is that if you’re not prepared for that question, you will go blank at it, so decide on an answer and stick to it. Here’s the thing—what they really want isn’t being told the obvious (Alinea, Girl and the Goat) but a place they probably have not been to, that totally delivers. So however you ask me that question, I can tell you what my answer will be: Daisies. (Also, Elske if they specifically want something posh for an anniversary or something. But generally speaking, you’re gettin’ Daisies from me.)

You’ve had the bowl of soup, now learn how it happens. Joiners Podcast talks to Ramen Lord himself, Mike Satinover.


Chicago’s A Beautiful Rind made a best cheese shops in America list at Food & Wine. (Also happy, though not at all surprised, to see Madison’s Fromagination on the list.)


Last week we had a bunch of writeups about the upcoming Kimski 2.0. I went to a preview for it on Tuesday and tried several of the mo’ Ko than Po dishes—still a little Po, what with pierogi still on the menu, and some pretty American-sounding things like the fried chicken sandwich, the Cheesy Beef which puts gooey yellow cheese all over Bulgogi beef (that seemed to be the hit that night), and lettuce wraps with Heffer’s BBQ brisket and spicy kimchi. I thought the cooking on all these things was first-rate, but the general consensus at our table was that we wanted more Korean flavor, gochujang heat and some Asian food funk, which only the kimchi that went with the brisket really satisfied. It was most surprising that the most traditional Korean dish—chapchae noodles—had the least distinctive flavor. Anyway, I liked it well enough that I hope Won Kim will take the hint that the white people at the table aren’t afraid of the heat and the funk—bring it on! We want the funk!