One of the best things about Chicago is that you can travel anywhere in town to try delicious food. You can travel to foreign cultures as well as America’s best food destinations. We really didnt have to venture too far to enjoy some good ole down home bbq. Now BBQ , as I have found out is not a style of cooking, but a language of food. Whether you are in Memphis, Kansas City , or Texas… each region has their own version of this kind of food. The “John Barleycorn” family has recently opened their own version of BBQ. Old Crow Smokehouse opened in December and has been gearing up for that Chicago ritual, opening day at Wrigley. They have also been allowing Chicagoans to think summer with a delicious menu of down home yummies. Old Crow is also fortunate to have a real food “star” at the helm.
Tony Scruggs started out life as just another misplaced worker when his shop closed. His story is one of the most inspirational stories that is guaranteed to get you to reach for your dreams. Even though he is in his fifties, he has embraced his passion for food and made one of his dreams come true. He managed to make it through the hundreds of aspiring chefs to make it to Master Chef Season Two. “I take my food and what I love and make it into something that everyone loves.” he smiled. We were anxious to try some of that deliciousness, since we had first sampled his heavenly brisket sliders at Biz Bash back in November. Was it worth the wait? We were dying to find out.
Perusing the menu, we chose a few starters. Since Old Crow is located in the heart of Wrigleyville, they also prided themselves on their homemade cocktails as well. Homemade is definitely the word with the intoxicating Front Door Punch. Made with blackberry moonshine , st germain elderflower liqueur, lemon sour, and club soda, it was an absolute fruity delight. Kudos to the bartender for this delicious concoction that tore Jen away from her precious Pepsi. After a few sips, Tony brought us the prelude to the feast that was to come. “Poutine” is a Canadian dish that has made it south to the States. It has also become the “It” food of the moment. Tony seems to have nailed it with his own version. He takes the fries and then instead of adding the cheese curds , he adds some in house Worchestshire cheese with the gravy. He also adds his own touch by covering the mixture with his own creation, the BeerBQ sauce. Jen never finishes her fries, except tonight. That should testify to just how goood it was. Any bar can feature jalapeno poppers , but Tony makes them his own once again with his very special red onion remoulade. It’s the perfect compliment to any dish. It was also good with the beer battered okra. Gave it a little spice. Next came the meat and that is what BBQ is all about. The ribs fell right off the bone and that means good eatin. The chicken had to be the juiciest chicken I have ever had because the middle was moist and tender. The burger was a whopping half a pound and had some chopped smoked brisket in the middle of it. You don’t have to worry about going away hungry, there’s no chance of that . Each meal comes with a cornucopia of sides. We got to try some of them like the original sweet potato buds with bleu cheese and the summer pickles. The pickles reminded me of the ones my mom would can in the summer. Tony made them that way with his special vinagrette. Crunchy and saucy.
You can’t end an experience like this without trying desserts. If you are on a diet, maybe it would be a good idea to pass by the desserts…Nah I don’t recommend it. Tony’s desserts are just as lip smacking as his sauces. It is pure down home with the flaky baked peach turnover. Big, luscious peaches wrapped in a flaky puff pasty. Top it with ice cream and you have a winner. Have a chocolate craving? We got the toasted s’more pie. It is just like the goodie from camp, except bigger. The crust is made from graham crackers, topped with marshmallow creme, and don’t forget the milk chocolate. Mmmm…
Old Crow is located at 3506 N Clark, right down from the Friendly Confines. If you want great , gourmet barbecue right in Wrigleyville, come on in. Tony will be glad to serve you right up.
Won’t go hungry here. All of the meals come with a healthy helping of sides. These include originals like the sweet potato garnished with bleu cheese and old favorites like macaroni and cheese. Oh and very plentiful helpings of meat as well
Sit a spell as you sip on delicious cocktails like this Front Door Punch. The cocktails here are from handcrafted moonshines and they are yummy. Perfect while you sit and listen to live country music on the weekends at Old Crow.