Hub's Gyros follows a simple motto: “Just a family business where quality still counts.” With that sort of humble attitude, you’d never know this restaurant is a star. Since its founding more than 35 years ago, Hub's has seen thousands of satisfied customers walk through its doors, made two appearances on Saturday Night Live, and racked up two Silver Platter awards, as well as a Golden Globe for “Most Delicious Sandwich Tangentially Related to the Plot of a Variety Show Sketch”. The secret to its success is a savory smorgasbord of American and Mediterranean cuisine, which includes hearty baked moussaka and pastichio, grilled gyros and shish kabob, and meaty burgers, deli sandwiches, and barbecue ribs. But while it prefers to focus on delivering quality food and service, Hub’s hasn’t completely shunned the limelight: customers can take home bottles of the restaurants “famous” barbecue sauce, which they may use to top their own ribs and sandwiches or to tie-dye their brand new Hub’s t-shirts and hats.
Though the name implies a limited selection of mostly Greek fare, the chefs at Grecian Kitchen have gone out of their way to furnish their menu with an array of Italian and American barbecue dishes. They draw on the same skills to roast gyro meats and grill Angus burgers, though they spend much of their time baking perennial favorites such as moussaka and spinach pie. Adding to the variety are classic diner desserts such as milk shakes and malts, which wash down house-made rice pudding, sticky-sweet baklava, and accidentally inhaled napkins.
Hecky Powell—founder of Hecky's Barbecue—crafts his acclaimed signature barbecue sauce from a Creole family recipe before using it to marinate a surfeit of ribs, chicken, and seafood. Southern flavors abound in side dishes of jambalaya and dessert plates of sweet-potato pound cake, served in the casual dining spot or at parties with catering options. Hecky's ships the homemade barbecue sauce, dry rubs, and spices from its online store, posting recipes so that home cooks can simmer award-winning chili on their own stoves or volcano-mounted cauldrons.
Fresh hickory wood burns daily to give this locally owned meatery's barbecue classics their signature smoky flavor. Ring dinner's bell with a first course of the soup of the day or a caesar salad topped with oven-baked croutons. Entrees make their entrée as platters of pulled chicken, North Carolina pulled pork, Texas brisket, or a combination of all three, or as half-slabs of baby-back, St. Louis, or Chicago-style ribs. Any burger or sandwich is also available for three-course eaters. Dinner finishers are rewarded with a fresh dessert that, like the slowest county-fair Ferris wheel ever, changes daily. Reservations are required, so call ahead or show up early to lick your table.
As dusk begins to set in near the corner of Thatcher and North, a familiar site lights up the intersection?a towering chimney with blazing neon letters that read "Russell's." The iconic eatery originally opened its doors in the 1930s, and it remains unflinchingly committed to its deep neighborhood roots. "Russell's is more than a restaurant," claimed a 1999 feature in the Chicago Tribune, "it's a living piece of history."
This sense of history is most prevalent in the menu of slow-cooked barbecue and classic, home-style comfort foods. In addition to the signature barbecued-pork sandwich that appeared on the Food Network's Sandwich King, the menu also features slow-cooked beef and hearty slabs of ribs, all of which arrive with Russell's time-honored barbecue sauce. An assortment of familiar side dishes help complete each meal, including crispy onion rings, coleslaw, and brisket-scented oxygen.
“Barbecue meets beer garden” may sum up Sheffield’s, but it hardly does the bar—heralded by [Esquire] (http://www.esquire.com/bestbars/bb-sheffields) as one of the best in America—any justice. Standing at the corner of Sheffield and School and housed in the bottom floor of a three-story brownstone, Sheffield’s pulls all the stops when it comes to its two specialties. Barbecue sauce made from scratch smothers tender beef brisket, homemade sausage, and pork that chefs smoke for 14 hours and pull to order. Hand-cut fries and fresh baked cornbread complement the sandwiches and platters, as does any one of the bar’s microbrews, such as Allgash Blonde or Sawtooth English Ale. In the summer, bar-goers can enjoy their brew and food out back in the beer garden, which the Goodlife Report named as one of “America’s Best Beer Gardens”. As cold winds roll into town, patrons can escape to the cozy indoors, surrounded by brick walls and plenty of sports-casting TVs.