Last week, a group of friends and I decided to get together and grab food/drinks after work. There are a lot of new, interesting and delicious places that are popping up everywhere, but the West Loop seems to keep hitting it right on the mark. If you are unfamiliar with the West Loop of Chicago, it is directly west of the loop (shocker) and is home to some of the best food/restaurants in the city: Au Cheval (known for their incredible bacon cheeseburger), Girl & The Goat/ Little Goat (Stephanie Izard’s famed dish – pig face), Avec (bacon-wrapped dates), The Publican (Serrano Ham and Beer), RM Champagne Salon, Nellcote, The Aviary, … just to name a few ;)
We all decided that we wanted something low-key, but with awesome food and drinks, so Green Street Smoked Meats it was. I had not yet been to GSSM, but as an avid lover of all things barbecue I was on board.
The first cool thing about this place is that the entrance is in an alley. An alley that has been transformed into an outdoor eating mecca with communal picnic tables and twinkle lights galore. When you enter, you are immediately greeted by a bearded staff member who explains the order of events – get in line and pick out your meat/sides, then go to the bar to order your drinks.
(blurry – I was so excited! … but you get the idea)
The smell inside the building was intoxicating and seeing the giant smokers with chefs pulling out delicious, succulent meats almost made me go weak at the knees – how could I decide what to order?!
Since we went right after work, the line went by fast and before I knew it I had decided on pork ribs with a side of potato salad and house made spicy pickles. – I’m literally drooling right now just thinking about it.
We passed by the bar to grab some margaritas and beers and headed outside to snag a table.
Fist of all, the sides were AWESOME. I could have eaten two containers of the pickles which were not super spicy, but had a good kick from the spice/vinegar combination. The potato salad was light, not overly dressed with heavy mayo and the potatoes themselves were perfectly cooked – love red-skinned potatoes.
The ribs, oh those ribs. Do you see that rub?! They were phenomenal. Juicy and succulent, you bet I took off all that meat straight down to the bone.
I had little bites of other dishes that were around me as well – smoked brisket, broccoli salad, frito pie (oh, yes). Everything was phenomenal and BONUS under $20!
We took our time eating through our plates, going back up to the bar for a second round and enjoying the beautiful weather. I’m fairly certain we could have sat there all night if it wasn’t for that dog at home we needed to take care of at home…
If you are ever in Chicago and are looking for a fun place to grab food/drinks, I highly recommend making your way over to the West Loop. Stroll around, take it all in and wander over to Green Street Smoked Meats for some amazing smoked meats and strong drinks in a causal setting. You won’t regret it!