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Review: T-Bob’s Barbecue

T-Bobs Inside - 500 Wide.jpg

Carol and I are planning another of our canonical nerd parties for later this month, which requires a fair pile of food. We’re tolerable cooks but we’re not foodies, and the skill of putting together enough chow for thirty-odd highly educated and culturally sophisticated eccentrics was not a gene we received. So once again, we’re looking at catering.

Which means we’re thinking about T-Bob’s Barbecue. I’d have Ted (the “T;” Bob has been gone for some time) cater the party like a shot. Only snag: He’s at Algonquin and Elmhurst Roads, which is…1,100 miles away. So it goes.

Ted At Counter - 500 Wide.jpg

When Carol and I are in Chicago, we have an emerging ritual of piling over to T-Bob’s with my sister and Bill after they drop the girls off at school, for a late (or for us, often second) breakfast. Wonderful place, the sort of one-off eatery we don’t have many of here in the Springs. It’s got deli-style blackboards and daily specials and…egad…Diet Mountain Dew. Better still, the guy who owns the place is, as often as not, the guy you see behind the counter.

Much good stuff here. Obviously, the barbecue, which comes highly recommended from afionados whom I trust, like Bill. (For still-unknown reasons, nearly all barbecue sauce from all sources disagrees with me, as much as I enjoy it.) I’ll personally vouch for the pulled pork, which you can get as a conventional sandwich or a wrap. Ditto the fried catfish, which is about as good as catfish gets, and swims rings around any other fast-food fish I’ve ever tried. Excellent fries and cornbread.

Given that we’re there mostly in the morning, I generally have scrambled eggs, bacon, and hash-browns, and although it’s easy to say you can’t do those badly, trust me, you can. Not here. The eggs are done and the bacon is crisp, the hash browns just brown enough. Coffee’s very good, though in truth, I generally cave to temptation and have Diet Mountain Dew, even with breakfast. (I don’t drink it at home anymore, so having it at all is a bit of an event, given that Carol and I eat out maybe three times a month.) Bob’s got a number of other things you won’t see in fast food contexts very often, like pulled chicken, cane-sugar sodas from Mexico and baked sweet potato.

Open 8:30 AM to 8PM, 9PM on weekends. Caters (sigh.) Highly recommended.


  1. Bob Fegert says:

    Mmmm, I love BBQ
    I like Chicago as well, grew up not far from there in Rockford.
    A shame the town has gotten a bit rowdy of late.

    re the cane-sugar sodas, you can often find them around the Passover holidays. During Passover, Jews are forbidden to eat a category of grains known as kitniot, which includes corn/corn syrup.

    Corn syrup is nasty stuff… some say that HFCS is a poison.

  2. TRX says:

    > conventional sandwich or a wrap

    You might want to check out some “North Carolina style” (as I’ve heard it described…) barbeque. It typically uses vinegar as a base instead of molasses, and is often served in a gravy boat with “Texas toast” on the side. I first encountered it in Atlanta. You could order various other sides instead of toast.

    It’s tangy instead of sweet, and you eat it with a fork instead of between buns. No place near where I live makes it, of course…

  3. Tom Roderick says:

    Baked sweet potato has been a staple of the diet around here forever. In fact if you are having pork roast or similar, you often have it with baked sweet potato. Although I have eaten it all my life, until recently it was mostly slathered in margarine. Now that I use real butter on it a whole new world has emerged!

    Sweet potato fries are a relatively new item down this way, and when done well are wonderful.

    The ham radio club I belong to meets at a BBQ place before the monthly meeting (sometimes two hours before!) and they serve the pulled pork with no sauce, but have at least half a dozen kinds on each table. They also have fried Okra that is so close to home made that, if I am honest about it, I can’t tell the difference

  4. Woodrow Stool says:

    With all due respect, visiting a Chicago BBQ establishment, regardless of the time of day, and ordering eggs instead of BBQ, must egregiously violate some universal law of the universe, period.

    You have been warned.

    1. My lower tract already warns me any time I order barbecue anywhere. Alas, by that time it’s too late…

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