This year’s Ribfest promises to be have more food options than ever – vendors will be slinging everything from shortribs and pulled pork to funnel cakes and fried root beer floats. More than 25 food vendors are serving up ribs and/or some form of BBQ, with another 10 offering palate cleansers like Elvis Bread Pudding. Check here for the complete menu and links to restaurants.
|Amit & Ali Philly Ice
Manager: Amit Shah
Menu: Steak/Chicken Philly Sandwich, Samosa, Ice Cream
|Armands Pizzeria – 4159 N. Western Ave. – (773) 463-5200
The first Armand’s Pizzeria opened in Elmwood Park in 1956. Now the Italian standby boasts seven locations. While they may be better known for their pizza and cannoli, the Northcenter eatery also offers baby back ribs.
Manager: Gary Vartabedian
Menu: Pizza by the Slice
|Big Bricks – 3832 N. Lincoln Ave. – (773) 525-5022
Inside the heart of this Northcenter pizza joint beats the heart of a 4,200-pound wood-burning BBQ pit. Big Bricks co-owner Bill Brandt promised us he would be a “big player” in the restaurant’s debut at Ribfest.
Manager: Bill Brandt, Jeff Bush
Menu: Ribs, Cole Slaw, BBQ Beans
|Black Dog Gelato – 850 N. Damen Ave. – (773) 235-3116
Black Dog Gelato serves unique artisanal gelato and sorbet along with gelato sandwiches, pies and novelties. A second location is set to open soon in Roscoe Village.
Manager: Jessica Oloroso
Menu: Gelato and Sorbet Cones
|Black Rock Pub & Kitchen - 3614 N. Damen Ave. - (773) 348-4044
Black Rock boasts great food just off the Roscoe Village beaten path. It’s a bar in the front, with a cozy fireplace area in the back with comfy couches.
Manager: Matt Golden
Menu: Pulled Pork Empanadas, Bacon Fat Popcorn, Maple Bacon Donuts, Basil Lemonade, Cherry Limeade
|Blue Bayou – 3734 N. Southport Ave. – (773) 871-3300
A slice of New Orleans in the heart of the Southport corridor. Signature dishes include Cajun Classics, Southern Fried Chicken and anything with crawfish.
Manager: Jeanne Sheldon
Menu: Ribs, Gator Sausage, Dirty Rice, Beignets, Cornbread
Manager: Jim Bokowski
Menu: Funnel Cake, Corn Dog, Lemonade Shakeup, Hamburger, Curly Fries, Brats, Italian Sausage, Cheese Fries
|BrownTrout - 4111 N. Lincoln Ave. - (773) 472-4111
Using sustainable ingredients, BrownTrout cooks up unique dishes in a sophisticated environment. Owner/chef Sean Sander even grows his own herbs on a rooftop garden. The menu at this Northcenter bistro changes constantly, so don’t expect to eat the same meal twice. Check out a new Tuesday night Farmers Market at Browntrout.
Manager: Sean Sanders
Menu: BBQ Hog Roasted Sandwich, Lake Trout Sandwich, Chicago Falafel Dog, Corn on the Cob, Fries
|Byron’s Hot Dogs - 1017 W. Irving Park Rd. - (773) 966-1205
Byron’s is such a Chicago institution, they’ve served up dogs for President Obama in the White House. They also make some of the best fries in Chicago — add cheese or celery salt for an extra kick in the gut. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better spot for a smoky, charred burger or a Chicago-style dog.
Manager: Mike Payne
Menu: Ribs, Hot Dogs, Brats, Polish Sausage, Burgers, Fries
|Chase Root Beer
Manager: Kent Chase
Menu: Root Beer Black Cows, Hot Dogs, Hamburgers, Fried Candy Bars, Twinkies, Chocolate Covered Bacon, Fried Root Beer Float
|Chicago BBQ Company - 6546 Windsor Ave., Berwyn - (708) 795-5500
They claim to have the best barbecue in the country, and they compete in rib festivals across the country. How do they rate at Ribfest? Chicago BBQ specializes in low and slow smoking. Say hello to Spare Rib, their mascot in a pig costume.
Manager: Ann Haggerty
Menu: Rib Sampler, Pulled Pork, Smoked Sausage, Baked Beans, Cole Slaw, Dinner Roll
Manager: Tod Curtis
Menu: BBQ Rib Tips, Chicken Legs, Rib Sandwich, Gyros, Chicken Pita, Breadsticks w/Marinara, Corndogs, Hot Dogs, Brats, Cheese Fries, Chicken Nuggets, Lemonade Shakeups, Smoothies, Floats
Manager: Dan Cordis
Menu: Cordis Brothers BBQ Baby Back Ribs, Rib Sampler, Bagged Chips, Can Lemonade
|Corner 41 Bar & Grill - 4138 N. Lincoln Ave. - (773) 327-3500
This Northcenter joint perfectly straddles the line between sophisticated and cozy. They serve up great beef dishes from burgers to filet mignon. There’s pork, too. Baby back ribs are one of their specialties. They’ve won the Northcenter rib contest three times – so watch out competition!
Manager: Al Pourbovali
Menu: Rib Sampler, Baby Back Ribs, BBQ Chicken
|Glutton Force Five – (773) 594-2114
What do you get when a couple of competitive eaters team up on a food truck? Glutton Force Five. Ribfest fan faves Pat “Deep Dish” Bertoletti and Tim “Gravy” Brown serve up the kind of over-the-top food you’d expect from guys who live to stuff their faces.
Manager: Tim Brown
Menu: Elvis Bread Pudding, GF5 BBQ Bowl, Walking Taco
|Horseshoe Barbecue – 4115 N. Lincoln Ave. – (773) 248-1366
Their barbecue brings a bit of Texas style to Northcenter. On the weekends, it’s a lively nighttime hotspot, with bluegrass and rockabilly bands. Stop in and try one of their barbecue pork sandwiches.
Manager: Mike Masud
Menu: Ribs, Pulled Pork, Sweet Tea
|Johnny Van’s Smokehouse
Manager: Johnny Van Etten
Menu: BBQ Ribs, Chicken Quarters
|Jury’s Restaurant - 4337 N. Lincoln Ave. - (773) 935-2255
This Northcenter standby serves up bar staples along with steak and seafood specials. Jury’s burgers have been consistently listed among the best in Chicago.
Manager: Mike Grunfeld, Lori Jones
Menu: Ribs, Burgers, Iced Tea
|Kettle Kabin - (224)-723-7171
The Kettle Kabin cooks up kettle corn and cinnamon roasted nuts. The company started in the northwest suburbs of Chicago three years ago, cooking up natural, authentic treats, making roasted nuts in a German roaster.
Manager: John J. Monroe
Menu: Kettle Korn, Roasted Nuts
Manager: Torrance Ly
Menu: Egg Rolls; Grilled Chicken or Orange Chicken w/Veg. Rice; Lemonade; Corn Dogs; Deep-Fried Oreos, Snickers and Twinkies; Chicken Tenders w/fries; Chip Fries; Cheese Sticks
|Lincoln Restaurant - 4008 N. Lincoln Ave. - (773) 248-1820
One of the founding members of the Northcenter Ribfest in 1998, the Lincoln is famous for Old Abe’s large visage gazing over Lincoln Avenue. It’s also the home of the Lincoln Lodge comedy show. Typical diner fare dominates the menu. Pancakes are their specialty.
Manager: Tony Athans
Menu: Baby Back Ribs, Rib Sampler, Rib Sandwich, Corn, Funnel Cake
|Mrs. Murphy & Sons Irish Bistro - 3905 N. Lincoln Ave. - (773) 248-3905
This snug Irish bistro in Northcenter offers great Irish staples like corned beef and shepherd’s pie, made with a contemporary twist. But they’re also quite proud of their ribs, made with a whiskey marmalade barbecue sauce and served with bleu cheese slaw.
Manager: Brian Murphy
Menu: Ribs, Pulled Lamb Sandwich, Curry Fries, Guinness Ice Cream, Honest Teas
|PitchFork - 2922 W. Irving Park Rd. - (773) 866-2010
Partnering great barbecue with great whiskey, PitchFork is a friendly corner saloon in Irving Park. They offer pulled pork, brisket and barbecue chicken. Try out their fried Oreos for dessert.
Manager: Pete Mazzone
Menu: BBQ Baby Back Ribs, Rib Sampler
|Real Urban Barbecue – 610 Central Ave., Highland Park – (224) 770-4227
With specialties like Red Neck Tacos and Burnt Ends Sandwich, Real Urban Barbecue makes a great case for heading to the suburbs. Brisket is smoked for 14 hours and pulled pork for 12 – totally worth the wait.
Manager: Jaime Panico, Jeff Shapiro
Menu: Ribs, Pulled Pork/Chicken/Brisket Sandwich, Mac-n-Cheese, Baked Beans, Peanut Butter Bacon Cupcake, Lemonade, Tea
|Ripasso – 1619 N. Damen Ave. – (773) 342-8799
Bucktown’s newest Italian eatery is quickly becoming as well known for its cocktails as its handmade pastas. Farmhouse dinners and pasta-making classes give diners even more reasons to visit.
Manager: Theo Gilbert
Menu: Polenta w/Braised Bison Shortribs, Rotolo alla Bolognese, Braised Goat/Lamb Ribs w/Bitter Greens
|Robinson’s #1 Ribs - 940 Madison Street, Oak Park - (708) 383-8452
In 1982 Mike Royko claimed he made the best ribs anywhere, and he created a Ribfest to show he could win the contest. He didn’t. Charlie Robinson beat him out, leading to the opening of this Oak Park restaurant shortly after. Their ribs are available with original recipe, hot or brown sugar barbecue sauces. With the the Northcenter Ribfest since 1999, Robinson’s is a perennial favorite!
Manager: Don CeaserMenu: Baby Back Ribs, Rib Tips, Corn on the Cob, Pulled Pork, Pulled Turkey, Pulled Beef Brisket, Turkey Leg
|Rub BBQ Company - 2407 W. Lunt St. - (773) 675-1410
“Rub it, smoke it, eat it!” That’s their motto. Rub BBQ’s meats are hand-rubbed with a special blend of spices, then refrigerated until they soak it all in. Then, the meats are smoked for hours.
Manager: Jared LeonardMenu: BBQ Baby Back Ribs, Rib Sampler, Pulled Pork Sandwich, Pulled Chicken Sandwich
Manager: Yasmina de Heras
Menu: Snow Cone/Shaved Ice, Tropical Fruit, Fruit Syrup, Fresh Fruit, Sugar
|Smoke Daddy – 1804 W. Division St. – (773) 772-6656
Smoke Daddy has been recommended as one of Chicago’s best barbecue spots by Chicago Magazine, Zagat and the New York Times. Their meats are smoked with hickory, apple and cherry woods, and the spot has been a favorite amongst the best blues musicians around.
Manager: Josh Rutherford
Menu: Baby Back Ribs, Rib Sampler, Beef Ribs, Pulled Pork Sandwich, BBQ Potato Chips
|Sola – 3868 N. Lincoln Ave. – (773) 327-3868
The cuisine at Sola blends the indigenous flavors of the Midwest with the preparations, techniques and inspiration from Hawaii’s unique culinary heritage.
Manager: Carol Wallack
Menu: Short Rib Sandwich, Truffle Fries, Malasadas w/Hot Fudge, Lemonade
|Teresa Mittons Concessions & Catering
Manager: Teresa MittonsMenu: Chicken Kabob, Smoked Yams w/Vanilla Sugar, Veggie Kabobs, Lemonade/Shaved Ice
Manager: Tim Dennis
Menu: Rib Sampler, Pulled Pork, Beef Brisket, Baked beans, Cole Slaw, Dinner Roll
|The Fireplace Inn - 1448 N. Wells St. - (312) 664-5264
This Old Town standby specializes in meat – specifically steaks and ribs, both beef and pork. They also offer barbecue meatballs, barbecue chicken tenders and barbecue pizza.
Manager: Juliana Sodre
Menu: BBQ Baby Back Ribs, Rib Sampler, BBQ Boneless Rib Sandwich, Deep Fried Mozzarella Sticks
|Uncle Bub’s BBQ - 132 S. Cass, Westmont - (630) 493-9000
Uncle Bub’s BBQ says their southern-style barbecue is a labor of love. Their meats are smoked long and slow in a specially designed hickory and applewood smoker for up to 22 hours. Their authentic pit-smoked barbecue is perfectly topped with their special sauce.
Manager: Mark Link
Menu: Rib Sampler, Ribs, Pulled Pork, Beef Brisket, Beans, Cole Slaw, Dinner Roll
|Windsor Ice Cream Shoppe – Blackhawk BBQ and Seafood
Manager: Gerry Mendiola
Menu: Ribs, Pulled Pork Sandwich, Ice Cream; Sundaes (20 flavors); Eli’s Cheesecake; Root Beer Floats; Fries; BBQ Turkey Legs; BBQ Pulled Turkey; BBQ Pork Kabobs; Ribeye Sandwich; Fish & Chips