A couple weeks ago some friends and I spent a nice day over at Top Golf. We had some beers, hit some golf balls, and enjoyed some delicious, yet dumb, single-serve nachos. What I failed to mention in that previous post about that day was that after we ate the nachos and were totally unsatisfied, we decided to head down the street to Sweet Baby Rays Barbecue Restaurant for some dinner.
We ended up going to the Sweet Baby Rays Restaurant in Wood Dale because it was closer to where we were, based on GPS, but this may have been a mistake. I think most of us were expecting a sit down restaurant, like the other location, but instead this was more of a “pick up your food at the counter and seat yourself” type of establishment.
And that’s not by any means a bad thing, or a reflection of the food itself, it’s just not really the atmosphere that some of us were expecting I think. Although it’s our fault for not researching a bit more I guess. We just knew that the other location was an actual sit-down BBQ restaurant, so we assumed that this one would be too… it’s not.
As we pulled up to the restaurant we were kind of put off by its outward appearance, but that definitely didn’t deter us from going inside. Once inside we stepped up to the counter and ordered our food.
For those unfamiliar with Sweet Baby Ray’s, it is an award winning BBQ sauce that you can purchase all over the country at your favorite local grocery store. And if you’re in Illinois you can also enjoy their delicious food as well, at one of their restaurant locations. I definitely recommend giving the BBQ sauce a try if you’ve never had it before. It’s a thicker sauce, more on the sweet side, that goes well with pretty much anything you can throw at it. I even dip my french fries in it from time to time, it’s that good.
Sweet Baby Rays Barbecue Food
As we approached the counter we were a little overwhelmed by the menu options, but most of us had an idea of what we wanted. I ordered the ribs and pulled pork combo with cornbread and mac & cheese, as did another one of us. And I believe others either got just ribs or just pulled pork, but I can’t remember exactly. What I do remember though is that one of us couldn’t decide what he wanted so he got the $30 Sweet Baby Ray’s Ultimate BBQ Platter which came with Alabama pulled chicken, pulled pork, Kansas City burnt ends, St Louis ribs, turkey, Texas sausage, corn maque choux, green chili mac n cheese, honey kissed cornbread, and his choice of one other side… it was a shit ton of food for one person, but it looked damn delicious.
After a few minutes our orders started to be called at the counter one by one and holy shit did that Ultimate Platter come with a lot of food… As for the rest of us, I would say every combo platter had just the right amount of food for a single person. My combo had a half slab of St Louis style baby back ribs, a good portion of loose pulled pork (not on a sandwich), a small bowl of mac n cheese, and a chunk of corn bread.
I have to say, despite this place not being the sit-down restaurant we were expecting, the food was damn good. Everything on my plate was delicious, I can’t say a bad think about any of it… but… I am a fan of the Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce. If you’re not a fan of the sauce, you may not enjoy it as much as I did, but they do have a variety of other flavors of their sauce that you can use if you don’t like the sweetness of the original.
I completely devoured my plate by the time we left, as did pretty much everyone else. Hell, one of us even got up and ordered more food to go for later that night, it was that good.
Oh, that Ultimate Platter? It won the battle of man vs food that night and one of our buddies ended up taking a bunch of it home, but there was a pretty big dent in it by the time we left, so it was a hard fought battle.
So if you’re out in the Wood Dale area and looking for some decent BBQ, I would definitely recommend checking out Sweet Baby Ray’s restaurant. Just remember, if you’re looking for a sit-down establishment, head over to the location in Elk Grove Village instead, but the Wood Dale location is perfect if you’re just looking for a quick bite to eat and you don’t want to bother with waiting for a table, sitting down, placing an order, tipping a server, etc..
What other BBQ places have you guys enjoyed outside of the city of Chicago? We’re well aware of most of the big named BBQ joints within the city limits, but let us know in the comments if you’ve hit up a suburban BBQ joint that puts those city folk to shame. We’d love to try them out!