For Barbecue it is Barn & Company
It started with a cab ride. I was going home after a few late night libations.
The cab had a small screen that looped reruns of news stories. One of the stories was about Barn & Company, a barbecue restaurant and bar in Lincoln Park. The chef, Gary Wiviott, was demonstrating how he cooked chicken to keep the breast as moist as the rest of the bird. It looked great. It hooked me.
I went. I ate that chicken and was blown away. It was one of the best, if not the best, chicken I ever ate.
I talked to chef Gary Wiviott. He said after the story hit in cabs he was flocked. He could not keep enough chicken in stock. That was almost two years ago.
Barn & Company utilizes the low and slow method of smoking and cooking. Hickory is the wood of choice for smoking meats. Low heat and slow cooking brings lots of flavor while keeping the food moist.
To many in Chicago, chef Wiviott is the pitmaster sensei. The high priest of low and slow barbecue cookery.
I returned to Barn & Company last night with nine friends. Aside from some decor changes, it was the same. It had a public house sports bar atmosphere. Noisy and fun.
We started with appetizers and a couple of orders of the two platters on the menu. Two of our party had the chicken.
I should note the group I was with love food. They are experienced eaters and drinkers. There were no complaints. Actually, once the food came, there was little conversation except pass this or that and commentary on the hockey game.
The Crispy Pickles and fried Mac and Cheese Bites hooked me. The Barn Burners, bacon wrapped jalapenos stuffed with cream cheese and chorizo, were to die for. I am not really a wing guy, but their Smokey wings are exceptional.
This is awesome barbecue. Brisket and pulled pork and that chicken. Man, that chicken. All the flavors are spot on. Nothing, including the smoke, is overdone. All the meats were moist and tender. Portions were more than enough. We all took some home.
You do not have to slop sauce on everything at Barn & Company. The sauces complement the meats. I just used them to dip versus putting the sauce directly on the food. The flavors of meat and chicken speak for themselves. The 7 Pepper Sauce was the star for our group. It had the right balance of heat, sweet, and tart.
The place was crowded. Service was exceptional. The servers were friendly, personable, and efficient, which is all you really ask for when you dine out.
Prices are reasonable for this level of cooking and the Lincoln Park Location.
Barn & Company is a great place to eat, drink, or combine the two while watching your favorite teams.
Barn & Company:950 West Wrightwood Ave
Chicago, IL 60616 Phone: 773-832-4000
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Monday-Thursday 4pm – 1230amFriday 4pm – 2amSaturday 11am – 3amSunday 11am – 10pm
On another note: Chicago lost a great chef, restaurateur, and inspiration to many this past weekend. Chef Jean-Claude Poilevey, owner of La Bouchon and La Sardine, was killed in a 15 car pile up on the Eisenhower Expressway. Condolences to his family and friends.