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Chicago Area BBQ

King James Bbq - West Chicago, a roadhouse find?


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King James Bbq - West Chicago, a roadhouse find?

dickson d | May 25, 2003 12:49 AM

If you go to a restaurant and then look for information on it and cannot find anything, anywhere, on the web, does this make it a unique find? Probably not, and I have finally found it at Metromix, anyway, but it was not easy. The signs all say barbecue, but the listings are just King James.

I was wandering towards my home from a Soccer tournament in St. Charles at 830 on Friday, having consulted with my wife and determined I was on my own for dinner and free to chow. My target was ByBy's, for their excellent mexican offerings (search for previous postings, it is worth it), but between the DuPage airport and a freight train, my path was hardly direct. And I was worrying that ByBy's would be closed. Somehow I ended up in front of this restaurant that said King James Barbecue, with an all wood sort of roadhouse look, and it seemed right to check it out.

Inside is a bar, which was well lit and fairly busy, and a restaurant - maybe 20 tables/booths in a sort of barn-like room, with a salad bar, which was almost empty. The menu offered a full range of barbecue choices, a couple of types of ribs (St. Louis and regular, I think), chicken, pulled pork, brisket, and some non-babrbecue offerings which I barely glanced at. They also had a Friday fish fry going, which sorely tempted me to partake of the joys of good fried fish in a country setting, but I wanted to try barbecue. So I asked the waitress what the best thing was, besides fish, and she pointed me to the pulled pork sandwich first. Then when I hesitated (I had really planned on a slab of ribs, and was disappointed she did not sell them, being the most expensive item on the menu and all), she suggested the brisket as an alternative. So I went with the brisket sandwich, admittedly not the best measure of a barbecue joint, but it was recommended.

The sauce was quite good. A tangy, vinegary, southeastern style, which is my favorite. Could have had a little more tabasco, and/or horseradish for me, but definitely good stuff. The brisket was too chewy, not smoky enough in flavor. Decent meat, and acceptable, but no more. I like my brisket tender, and my ribs chewy, and they were not there. I was offered the salad bar with my sandwich, and I took it - nothing special, but nothing bad either. The sandwich roll, and the rye and white bread they served were pretty fresh and crusty - I could have been happy just dipping bread in a bowl of sauce with a side salad. I got a pretty decent meal for maybe $7.

I figure I have to go back and test the pulled pork, and ribs, since I like the sauce, and I need to know if it is a good (I hope) fish fry joint. Plus I sort of liked the place, nice roadhouse feel, so I would like to find if there is some food they are good at.

I guess I must have looked pretty scruffy that evening (or maybe the other employee who interrupted me while I was changing into pants in the parking lot had warned her about this weird guy), as I look back, because she steered me to one of the cheapest items on the menu, then when I asked if I they had a minumum for a charge card, she said, "whatever you have to do." Anyway, I thought she was looking out for me.

good value, atmosphere and decent service. food tbd.

King James
1200 W. Hawthorne Ln, West Chicago

That's the address, but I swear I found it on Powis road, just before it dead ends on the east side of the DuPage airport.


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