Pulaski and Irving Park Road
So I'm sure everyone has their favorite barbeque joint, and every city claims to have the best BBQ. Chicago is not one of those cities. Although I believe Chicago to be the hardest grubbin town out there, it is not well known for their BBQ. Yet, Smoque is some of the best BBQ I have had, and definitely worth a visit when in Chicago. Introduced to me by my buddy Thomos, Smoque claims to make "Chicago style" barbeque. In their manifesto, Smoque claims to want to "open the eyes of Chicagoans to what BBQ can be, celebrate BBQ as the American cuisine in all its variety and splendor," and join the "crusade to forge a strong Chicago BBQ tradition." Now that is a cause that my fellow HG contributors and I can really get behind.
So I stopped by Smoque the other day with my buddy Ethan and the first thing you see is a line out the door along the side of the building. This was on a Wednesday night. This seems to be normal for this place as the two other times I have been here I have endured these kinds of waits. I agree with you, this is some bullshit. This can be directly attributed to the Check Please! phenomenon. For those of you that don't live in Chicago, Check Please! is a show on Channel 11 hosted by the always mind-numbingly boring Alpana Singh. In this program, 3 Chicagoans come in and discuss their favorite restaurants. Although this sounds like a television program that HG can get behind, we cannot support this program as we feel the concept is good, but the execution (and the host) is terrible. Anyways, any restaurant that is featured on this program immediately becomes the most popular restaurtant in Chicago. So, we true Chicago HG fanatics live in fear of our favorite places being featured on this show, making it so that we cannot ever eat there anymore on account of the long wait times (take, for example, Kuma's Corner). This has now happened to Smoque, so plan on 30 min waits when attempting to dine here.
Luckily, on this night, I got to experience this wait with a hungry Ethan, which can be quite hilarious. Ethan hates yuppies and squares, and Smoque is a magnet for them (another consequence of the Check Please! phenomenon). Everyone inthis line was a combination of the two. Hearing Ethan's rants about the clientele and the wait made it worthwhile. Oh, and the food was amazing.
We had the sandwiches, which are either chopped or sliced brisket, pulled pork, or a combination of the two. As Im sure you may have guessed, we had the combo. Delicious tender meats, covered in their tangy and slightly spicy barbeque sauce. They make a fantastic coleslaw that you just jam right on top of your sandwich. A huge bag of hand cut fries provide the perfect accompaniment. I heard the mac and cheese is great, but as I waited in line, I saw that the serving was tiny, so I decided to pass. Sandwich, fries and slaw, all just under 10 bucks, so the price cant be beat. All in all, a great meal with an annoying wait.