Day 1 (Odometer Reading: 150,136)
Seeing a menu with a Greek salad, gyro, and a full rack of ribs didn’t seems to make a whole lot of sense- in our minds we feel that we have a pretty good idea of who was going to make the best barbeque and where. That being said, the Greek BBQ joint, a longstanding BBQ spot not on the BBQ belt is something we must understand if we wish to offer barbeque in the north.
With plans to leave at ten in the morning and an actual departure time of shortly after one o’clock, you would think that we would have made time for lunch but we hadn’t. As restaurateurs, we are used to eating about once every ten minutes and the cupcakes lovingly made by Stehpanie needed to last more than a day. So, as we crossed the Illinois border we headed toward Publican Quality Meats in Chicago. Unfortunately, as we drove into town on January first we realized that they were not open. We then stopped at Tiger Direct to pick up some equipment for the trip and asked them to recommend the next best thing. That happened to be Gemato’s.
Gemato’s looks to a remnant of a long lost Hardee’s or other chain, the décor seemed to remind us of the old west. We ordered a bit of everything at the order window and waited for our food. Their ribs, a favorite of Mary Ann (a regular customer), were good but we favored the chicken. The ribs fell of the bone, thought we are not sure yet if that is a sign of great BBQ, and seemed to have a smoke flavor that penetrated all the way through the meat. The chicken was not overcooked and had a great mix of sweet and spice. Everything was cooked over an open wood flame which may have been the cause of an overcooked brisket that we didn’t finish and a pulled pork that needed more moisture to bring out the flavor. Everything had a light brushing of their tangy and thin bbq sauce, which you could also buy by the bottle and there was a small side of fairly typical l side of fairly typical coleslaw.
Gemato’s left us looking forward the barbecue of the south. Still, we left with full bellies and excitement for the adventure ahead.
In what seemed like no time, we rolled over to mile 150,394, forward to rolling into our beds.
Written by Tyler