I’m going to try my hand at doing some restaurant reviews (I might as well do something productive with all the places I go).
So first up, Twin Anchors Chicago.
We visited this little slice of heaven last Friday evening after a thrilling day at Wrigley Field. The building has that old town charm that is reminiscent of the Chicago of yesteryear. The building has a rich amount of history. Supposedly it was a “Soft Drink” facility for “the thirsty” during prohibition. When Ole Blue Eyes (Frank Sinatra) was in Chicago, Twin Anchors was his haunt of choice. The 1999 film “Return to Me” was filmed largely at Twin Anchors. Likewise, the bar scene where Harvey Dent confronts a crooked cop in the Dark Knight was filmed at Twin Anchors. Conveniently located at the corner of Sedgwick and Eugenie, this small joint with limited indoor seating and a small outdoor patio is famous for nothing other than the best ribs you’ll ever eat!
Upon arriving, we were told that our wait would be 45 minutes to 1 hour. We sat outside on the sidewalk because the bar was packed. The bar situation is really my only gripe about Twin Anchors. To get to the host station, I had to fight my way through a thick crowd of people watching the White Sox game. Part of the charm of the place is the old school bar, but the host station should really be moved to the front door. We only waited about 20 minutes and we were taken to a seat on the patio. Our server was a delightful woman who (get this) actually liked her job. She talked about how she gets to meet all sorts of people because of the media coverage the old place has had. She was extremely knowledge about the menu and made excellent beer and cocktail pairing suggestions based on sauce preferences.
I had visited Twin Anchors a couple of years ago but my wife and sister-in-law had never been. Our server quickly brought out samples of all three of their house barbecue sauces. The mild was not what you typically think of when thinking of BBQ sauce, it was just ho-hum. The zesty (according to our server the most popular) was just right on thickness and had a nice spicy kick that finished on a sweet note. The prohibition sauce was by far the spiciest as it contained ghost peppers. Despite being so hot, it was not hot just for the sake of being hot. The prohibition sauce was absolutely packed full of rich flavor. But make no mistake, it’ll put hair on your chest.
We all decided to order the chicken and rib combo smothered in zesty sauce with prohibition sauce on the side (it was just too hot by itself) so we could get a fair sampling. We got our meals quickly. The homemade coleslaw native to every dish was crisp and delightful (nothing out of a bag here). My wife had pork and beans as her other side. She described them as authentic with a thick sauce with a combination smoky-sweet barbecue flavor.
I, on the other hand, got the hand-battered onion rings. My biggest gripe about onion rings is when they are overcooked to the point that the whole onion slides out in one bite. These were not those onion rings. They were perfectly double-battered and left the onion crisp. I actually ate the whole side of onion rings before anything else. The slow-roasted chicken breast was juicy and packed full of flavor. The baby back ribs were, to borrow from Food Network, “the best thing I ever ate.” Even though they were completely smothered in the fantastic zesty sauce, there was no worry about having to use fifty wet-naps. They were so tender that the bone just pulled straight through. They were meaty and tasty.
I could go on and on about Twin Anchors. Seriously, I’m craving it right now. It’s totally worth a quick trip up to Chitown just to stop there. Sure you can eat at the fancy places on Michigan Avenue an
d you’ll probably find something you’ll love. You’ll also pay an arm and a leg for it. Forget dining alfresco if you hate being watched while you
eat since there will be thousands of people flying by. So if you’re in the market for an authentic taste of old Chicago in a quiet setting with friendly people, stop on by Twin Anchors. Trust me. You’ll thank me!
In the words of Frank Sinatra as he stopped in to Twin Anchors, “Ribs, and keep ’em comin’!”
Visit Twin Anchors online for more information and a full menu at http://www.twinanchorsribs.com