I ended up back in Chicago again this weekend for work. I picked up another job working at Toyota Park in Bridgeview. Initially, I was supposed to get a hotel room by Midway which is a stone’s throw from Bridgeview, so I got on-line to start looking to see if there were any 24-hour restaurants nearby. My search brought to a dining out in Chicago message board. It didn’t really answer the question I was looking for, but this thread introduced me to Chuck’s Southern Comfrots.
I was worried about construction in Indiana so I left much ealier than I needed to. I ended up geting to Bridgeview about three hours before my 1:30 CST call time. I drove around the area for a while hitting up malls, Best Buy’s and Circuit City’s looking for Mario Kart. Finally, I got hungry and remembered there was a BBQ joint on 79th and Central and I was pretty close to there.
Chuck’s is located on the corner in a small building that is home to a couple other businesses. There are a few parking spaces right in front and to the side and there are signs ttelling you to park in back if everything’s full. As soon as I opened the door to my truck, I could smell the BBQ. I miss that smell. Why is it there are no BBQ places in Lansing?! When you walk inside Chuck’s, you’re immediately punched in the face with the smell of pork. There’s a carry-out counter along the right side wall then the dining room off to the left. The sign said seat yourself so I found a small table near the back. There’s probably a couple dozen tables at most with three rows of booths and scattered tables inbetween and around.
A guy came over to my table with two menus in hand. I was earlier enough they were still serving breakfast, but had just started lunch too. I took the lunch menu and he went to get my drink. While he was doing that, the waitress came over to get my order. I wasn’t super hungry and my stomach was tied up in knots due to nerves about my upcoming gig. I ordered the pulled pork sandwich which came with choice of two sides. Being the adventerous type I am (note sarcasm) I got french fries and macaroni and cheese.
My waitress wasn’t gone more than five minutes and already she was coming back with a plate of food….a HUGE plate of food. The slow smoked pork was piled on to an oversized hamburger bun. The meat was dripping with a sweet barbecue sauce. I opted to go for the hot BBQ sauce, but I didn’t taste much heat. This sandwich was falling apart. It was so good and so sweet it was hard to put down. It wasn’t the kind of sandwich you would want to order on a first date. It was good BBQ….sticky and falling all over the place. I destroyed the three napkins the waitress brought me. The sauce was amazing. I kept reading they were voted best sauce or best BBQ by different Chicago magazines and I can definately see it. At one point, I was getting full so I pulled the meat off and ate that. I started looking at the bun and realized I was wasting sauce, so I took my fork and started eating just the bun which was drowning in that sweet, delicious sauce.
As good as the sandwich was, the sides left a lot to be desired. I’d hate to say the fries were the worst I’ve ever had, but I don’t not finish fries. I had four or five and left the rest to be destroyed. They were nice and krispy on the outside, but the middle was almost raw. Not very appetizing. The mac ‘n cheese was good, but bland. It was just mac ‘n cheese with a little black pepper cracked on it. I finished that I was just hoping for something better. That message board I found this place on said the chef at Chuck’s got his start under Rick Bayless of Topolobampo. For those of you who don’t know, Rick Bayless is Chicago’s answer to Bobby Flay. They’ve even battled each other on Iron Chef: America, so I expected a little bit more flavor.
The waitress came with my check which was about $10. Not too bad for great BBQ. I was hoping to kill an hour or so with my lunch adventure, but the whole thing took twenty minutes tops. If I had to compare it to my favorite Chicago BBQ joint Smoque (review HERE), I’d still give the edge to Smoque because there sides were outstanding. BBQ alone is really close. I’d have to go with ribs from each to be sure, but I really liked Chuck’s sauce. I can’t wait to head back to the south side of Chicago. I really miss good BBQ and I still think it’s sad I have to go to Chicago to get it. Chuck’s is worth the side trip if you’re in the city or the five minute cab ride if you’re at Midway. Don’t pass this up….just get different sides!