Now that the last Ribfest in Naperville has come and gone, attracting thousands of visitors to Knoch Park over Fourth of July weekend, it’s time we updated our very popular post highlighting some of the best barbecue places in Chicago’s western suburbs. Especially because our original post featured this year’s Ribfest winner for best ribs, best sauce, and kids’ choice. Uncle Bub’s of Westmont took first place in all three categories, repeating their trifecta win in 2018. We featured Uncle Bub’s when we first published this post two years ago. Proof that we mean it when we say we Live and Love Local!
Here’s our updated post:
The southern states are usually associated with great barbecue, but residents in Chicago’s western suburbs don’t have to go that far to find some of the best and tastiest renditions of this classic American cuisine. When you have a hankering for succulent slow food, head to one of these top restaurants for home cooking that requires big appetites and lots of napkins. Don’t forget to order plenty of cornbread.
Located at 440 East Roosevelt Road in Lombard, Firewater BBQ offers award-winning barbecue dishes and a fascinating history. The restaurant’s origins date back to the Chicago Fire, and the current owners continue using old family recipes for Firewater’s famous barbecue and brews. Guests can enjoy barbecued pork, burgers, tacos, and more made from farm-raised, grass-fed, and antibiotic-free meat. Firewater BBQ also offers scrumptious desserts, including gourmet root beer floats and taffy apple bread pudding.
With a kids menu for families looking to eat in and a take-out menu complete with sides, Firewater BBQ is perfect for dinner when all you have time to make is a phone call.
The chalkboard menu says it all. Q-BBQ on Main Street in Naperville takes slow-cooked meats to a new level with a fresh spin on authentic barbecue traditions. Their technique has been working since 2009 when they opened their first location in La Grange. At the Naperville location, you can sample their award-winning menu featuring chopped brisket (choose from North Carolina vinegar sauce or Memphis-style sweet sauce), burnt ends, and smoked Memphis-style ribs. Side dishes are made from scratch. Our favorite combo is the BBQ baked beans and mashed potatoes with brisket gravy.
Perched on the banks of the Fox River in Yorkville, Southbank Original BBQ is the quintessential, real-deal barbecue joint with outdoor seating, vintage highway signs, a front porch, and a bar festooned with license plates. But enough about the décor. The food is the star attraction here, created slow-food style and from scratch.
At this casual barbecue joint, guests can choose from wood-smoked pulled pork, baby back ribs, tri-tip sirloin, sausage, and chicken. An extra-special appetizer here is the BBQ pork nachos smothered in smoked pulled pork. Views of the river and a kid’s menu make it the most fun to dine in, but the SOB Market will make dinner for the whole family for same-day pickup. With a sweet dine-in deal on Thursdays when kids eat free with the purchase of one adult entrée, we can’t say enough about this unique spot.
Located on the corner of Route 59 and 111th Street in Naperville, Sharko’s BBQ has a pedigree that goes back to the 1930s when family patriarch George Sharko opened a butcher shop in Chicago. Sons Jerry and George went on to build a Chicago-based spice and restaurant business. A Chicago institution since that time, the Sharko famly chose Naperville as the site of Sharko’s BBQ, which opened to rave reviews in 2013 and took top honors at the first Naperville Rib Fest.
Authentic, slow-smoked ribs, turkey, brisket, pork, and chicken anchor a menu rounded out by “jawsome” sides with both traditional selections like mac and cheese and signature sides like spinach soufflé. Their “Pig Up and Go” take-out menu is one of the most robust we’ve seen, with options to feed four people to 75. We welcomed Sharko’s BBQ into our Circle of Friends partner businesses in 2016.
Uncle Bub’s, located on South Cass Avenue in Westmont, has won local and national fame and recognition for its ribs and sauce after being featured on The Food Network and Chicago’s Best. Uncle Bub’s offers a friendly, comfortable atmosphere and expertly prepared barbecue dishes and homemade sides. Guests can also enjoy pecan-crusted catfish, Brunswick stew, and other tasty dishes. There’s a kids menu, too.
Uncle Bub’s has a customer loyalty program called the Bub Club. The more barbecue you eat, the more rewards you get. Founded in 1997, this family-owned business donates to a charity selected each month by an employee and also sponsors the Westmont Park District softball team. Their 2019 Ribfest winnings were also donated to charity.