OUR RATING: Do It!
When you see smoke billowing out of the chimney at the corner of 53rd Street and Dorchester Avenue on the South Side, that’s when you know this barbeque shanty of a shack is in business. But not just any barbeque. The specialty is hickory-smoked ribs dipped in their special sauce, but if ribs aren’t your thing there’s plenty of other barbeque-smothered protein on offer here, including chicken and their downright sassy burgers.
Adam: Ah, the old Ribs ‘n’ Bibs. I must take a moment to thank those intrepid dormitory-mates who led me out on my first foray to this late night BBQ joint, almost 5 years ago now, that combines all the spicy goodness of the open fire with the home feel of the ranch (as well as super reasonable prices). The options seem endless, but there are some standards that you can’t miss that make for the best Hyde Park experience.
If burgers are your game, your only choice should be the Texas burger. A 1/2 lb. with fries, a small pot of coleslaw, and a whole lot of character, you’ve got to make sure that you ask for the BBQ sauce “on top” for the full effect. The slab of meat is huge, although it’s sometimes customary to order both a Bronco and a Texas burger, for the big of appetite.
If you’re still hungry after this monster meal, a side of onion rings, which are crispy and well cooked, goes down well. If burgers aren’t really your thing, try the Frontier Fish, basically the same as the burger, other than with tartar sauce instead of the BBQ variety. Craving beef? The BBQ Beef Dinner is a bit like getting the Texas burger, except on each side of the bun is a mound of shredded, beefy, BBQ infused deliciousness.
What about their ribs, you say? Well, I honestly don’t know of anyone who’s had them, as the other offerings are so good. But if you have the money to spare (up to $17.95), get them and let me know what you think. I also hear great things about the gunslinger – a sausage sandwich with fries, but alas, I have not sampled it.
And don’t be surprised if you have to endure some meat sweats to get through this lot – it’s standard procedure.
Alicia: Admittedly, I am not an aficionado of Ribs ‘n’ Bibs cuisine like Adam here, but I do enjoy some good barbeque, and I commend RnB for their long lasting establishment in Hyde Park since the mid 60’s, originally opened (and still owned) by the Schoenberg family. The space is super small with limited sidewalk seating outside, so if you visit during a cold spell, your only real option is to either order takeout or get some delivered. Considering the fact they are open quite late, this is a great late-night munchies option.
Everything is old-Western shanty style here, from the Saloon-font on the outside to the itsy-bitsy lobby inside where you stand in line and wait to order next to a stack of wooden logs just waiting their turn to enter the smoker behind the counter. But its character has a Chicago feel to it, with pictures covering the wall of local celebrities and politicians, including, of course, Barack Obama, who seems to have his image pasted in most of the local haunts in HP.
Perhaps I’ve had a better burger than my usual Bronco Burger charbroiled hamburger. And perhaps I could do without their slaw. But their tangy sweet-and-spicy barbeque sauce that smothers most of their menu items will do me just fine when I’m in the area and craving some barbeque.
Final Thoughts: If you’re just being introduced to the wonders of barbeque, Ribs ‘n’ Bibs is a great place to start. If you’re at U of C, you’re insane not to have tried this yet. If you’re further afield, we think it’s worth the trip. So enjoy a concert at Mandel Hall and grab a Texas burger on your return. Clash of cultures? Only you decide!