You could smell it. It smelled like hope.
But, in fact, that smell was 850 pounds of pork being smoked over hickory.
It’s an aroma surprisingly similar to hope.
So follow your nose to Sweet Baby Ray’s Smokehouse, Bourbon & Beer, the first city location of the famed barbecue house and sauce maker, now open for your sticky-fingered pleasure.
Taking up residence in the former Uberstein address, this place differs from its siblings in some key aspects. Chief among them: you’re now just a quick saunter from Wrigley Field. If you’re the type who likes to psych yourself up for a Cubs game by laying into a thick rack of Memphis baby backs or Kansas City–style brisket burnt ends, you’re in luck. It’s also a useful place if you need to console yourself after a Cubs game—they have more than 100 bourbons at the ready.
But mostly, just think of this as a convenient spot to entertain friends, family and out-of-towners this summer. You’ll be sitting in a solidly built timber-and-copper-trimmed enclave with a Clark Street–side patio. On the menu: a travelogue of 17 barbecue sauces, ranging from North Carolina to Alabama. And for dessert, some brûléed banana pudding with bourbon-candied vanilla wafers.
Saving you the trouble of dunking your wafers in bourbon.