Hours: Dinner: seven days
Saturday & Sunday brunch
Open late: Friday & Saturday till midnight, other nights till 11
Pizzeria and barbecue from the people behind Lincoln Park's Bricks.
The Oyler Pit, a legendary wood-burning rotisserie barbecue smoker, is not often seen outside of Texas. So it's surprising that the one in use at Big Bricks, the North Center pizza/barbecue joint from Bricks owner Bill Brandt, received so little fanfare. Or perhaps not: Oyler or no, this one is putting out unexceptional barbecue. It's not a crime in the least, but the thickly rubbed ribs—which produce a nice spicy bark—are nonetheless very hammy, almost cured-tasting, and somewhat mealy, as if they've been overcooked, though they don't seem to take on a terrific amount of smoke flavor. The pulled pork picks up none whatsoever, though it certainly is juicy, almost as if it's been braised. Chicken, however, seemed to take to its massage pretty well, its relatively delicate flesh absorbing a nice amount of smoke, while still maintaining its juiciness. Another nice thing, the beans are positively loaded with that pulled pork. I'd be happy with a big old bowl of those. Apart from a 20-beer tap list, the rest of Big Bricks menu mirrors that of its subterranean Lincoln Park forebear: garlic shrimp, "slutty ravioli" stuffed dates, a taco of the day, some salads, and of course the specialty pies, such as the notorious, raw chile-topped "painful," the meat lovers' "Ditka," and the artichoke-dominant "brickhouse." Alas, the doughy thin crusts fail to synchronize with their toppings—it's just stuff on a cracker. Read the full review >>
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