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Friendly Forest Park hole-in-the-wall that puts a vintage aquarium smoker to good use.

Our Review

The western burbs are not famously a high bastion of barbecue, and I'd been scraping by with the local Famous Dave's until I belatedly stumbled across this humble but vastly superior hole-in-the-wall in Forest Park. Proprietors Bart and James Moccio started out there peddling Italian beef (it's still on the menu), but then installed a vintage aquarium smoker and took the menu south. The Saint Louis-style ribs are the piece de resistance: deliciously but not too assertively smoked, not too dry, and wonderfully toothsome even without the excellent sauces (we prefer the hot to the mild). The lean and savory house-made hot links are also terrific, as are the kitchen-cut and twice-fried french fries, the spicy mustard and turnip greens, and the meaty pork and beans. The smoked brisket sandwich is honest but unremarkable, the rib tips have been hit-and-miss—on occasion I've found them too fatty to be any fun—and the dense, dry corn bread has been consistently joyless. Portions are enormous, so I've yet to make it as far as the dessert menu, but the sweet potato pie certainly looks legit. The ambience is plain—plastic tablecloths and cutlery, paper towel rolls on upright dispensers—and the service not just friendly but ebullient.

Cliff Doerksen

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Price: $
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