Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Pork Shoppe

There are many barbecue spots that have opened in the last few years in Chicago and while I like barbecue and do try to visit the different places to see the different ways people do the same things, there are actually a few spots that are close to where I live that I haven't been to.  I reduced that number by one recently when I visited The Pork Shoppe.  When I go to a barbecue place, I will choose the same thing, a half rack of baby back ribs.  Unfortunately, while all barbecue places do ribs, some of them have found their specialties in something other than ribs.  The Pork Shoppe is located close to one of the major six-corner intersections in the city.  There is a counter just inside the door and a small dining area beside the counter that will seat about 30 people.  The room is done in dark wood and seems to reference Texas.  The walls are decorated with old license plates and beer logos.  There are a couple of tables at the back of the dining room which has the plasticware, the barbecue sauces (Sweet, Tangy, and Spicy), and a roll of paper towels. 

Unlike many of the barbecue places around town, this place has a liquor license.  The beer and bourbon lists are on boards behind the counter.  The beer is mostly mass market but they also carry Shiner Bock and Brooklyn Lager and there are six different bourbons.  The food menus are paper takeout menus that are on the counter in front where you make your order.  In addition to the ribs, The Pork Shoppe also carries pulled pork, pulled chicken, brisket, and house cured pastrami.  With the meals, you are offered two sides.  I had fries and cole slaw as my sides.  The fries were very good.  They seemed to have been double fried because they were crisp on the outside and soft on the inside and they were coated with coarse-ground salt.  The cole slaw was different than standard cole slaw in that it had raisins and apples in addition to the standard cabbage, carrots, and a mayonnaise based sauce.  It was also very good.  It was nice that the ribs were served dry so I was able to try all of the sauces which, while all tomato based, were very different.  I think I liked the Carolina style best.  The ribs themselves, while they didn't taste bad, seemed to be a little dry.  They weren't too bad but I am not sure that I would try them again.

The staff at The Pork Shoppe seemed very friendly and the sides were good, but if I were to return here, I am not sure that I would have the ribs again.  I am still interested in their pulled pork and their brisket tacos so I will probably return.      

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