A few months ago, driving west on 115th Street, we stopped at a red light and the car was enveloped in a large cloud of hickory smoke. We had just come from an all-you-can-eat session at Queen of the Sea but the smell was still tempting. One doesnt soon forget an experience like that and I recently got back to I-57 Rib House, on the banks of I-57 not far from where it splits off from the Dan Ryan. The building is a converted gas station painted red with an awning that shelters a large pile of split hickory logs.
The menu is pretty much standard Chicago BBQ: ribs, tips, links, and fried chicken but also sides of okra, beans, and slaw. One nice menu feature is the add-a-wing ($0.50 each, limit 2) or add-a-link ($2.50). We tried the ribs and links (why, oh why didnt we get some okra and beans?). The small end of the small half was nearly perfect, charred but not burnt, moist but not fatty, with lots of smoke. As we got farther into the bigger ribs things got fattier but still very meaty. The large section of hot link was very good, with a rather loose texture and plenty of red pepper flakes. Hot sauce, very generously applied, was decent but a little on the sweet side. Fries were ordinary.
Overall, based only on a single visit, Id say I-57 is well above average and worth another trip. If anyones thinking of visiting, let me mention several nearby attractions. Depending on how you approach, the Pullman Historic District is not too far away (around 111th and Cottage Grove). As for restaurants, a block or two east of I-57 is a jerk chicken place, Jamaican Flava, that was crowded and looked promising. Just west, on the other side of I-57 next to the train tracks is a little white building, Best Bar B Que, that was pumping out the smoke. It was crowded too and I ducked in to look at the menu. Pretty much the usual but they had fish and the prices were lower than at I-57.
I-57 Rib House
1524 W 115th St
Sun-Thu noon-midnight; Fri-Sat noon-3am (?)
Best Bar B Que
1648 W 115th St
about 1400 W 115th St (north side)
Hey Zim I was trying to look up Jamaican Flava in the phone book without success but came across this one I never heard of. Sounds right up your alley.
Jamaican Jerk Chicken & Vegetarian Food
8216 S Kedzie Av