Lem's, the famous Bar-B-Q House, is known for its rib tips and hot links. In 1954, two brothers, Bruce and Myles Lemons had a dream. A dream for their ... More
Lem's, the famous Bar-B-Q House, is known for its rib tips and hot links. In 1954, two brothers, Bruce and Myles Lemons had a dream. A dream for their future, a dream of hope, a dream of destiny... It was a dream of entrepreneurship. With this dream, they opened their first store on the south side of Chicago. Myles, a formal chef created Lem's original Bar-B-Q sauce and its magical spices. Once people had a taste of the secret sauce, they kept coming back for that unique flavor. And as a result, Lem's Bar-B-Q House was a success! After fourteen successful years the company decided to open another location. Myles and Bruce idea of having a second location;included their brother James, also a formal chef. In 1968, the second Lem's Bar-B-Q House opened in the historic Chatham Neighborhood.
I live on the north side of Chicago, and there are some decent rib joints in my neighborhood. Decent, but not really memorable. Lems is, by far, the best. Their sauce is great, and the ribs are phenomenal. If you've never been there, tell them so and ask for suggestions. Be sure to ask for sauce on your fries. You won't regret it!
If you are used to ribs that are boiled until they almost fall off the bone. Thrown in an oven, smoker or over charcoal to get sort kinda like great ribs. Then Lems isn't the place for you. They can be hit or miss. But their miss is better than 90% of the rib joints in Chicago. The neighborhood can be a little intimidating, the waiting area is small and the service can be abrupt. Clues: If you don't bother the neighborhood, it won't bother you. Try and go to Lem's at an off peak time or wait in your car until the line goes down. They are fast! When you go in, make eye contact to get the fastest service. And since they are fast...know what you want and don't stand there and sing the Ahhhhh song!
I must throw in a disclaimer to my fist statement. I discovered for the past 3 years now, Lem's has quietly started boiling their ribs. Since I've been eating them since the 80's I can tell the difference. Does it take away from the taste? When you have all the other elements going for you like the wood and sauce. An old shoe would taste good! Now if someone could explain to me why haven't they franchised? Give me a Lem's franchise, put a live band in there, place it near a college. And then hire one of the ladies from 75th street to smack the college kids around a little bit! What an atmosphere!
I've only been to Lem's three times since I've lived here in Chicago the first visit reminded me of down south bbq the smell the small shack was placing me back home. The ribs were off the chain I was crying it reminded me of Memphis.
The second time it was the worst I ever had in my life, the sauce smelled of vomit( that happens when you add oil to your sauce to make it last.) and the meat was tougher then leather. I called back to complain the lady told me to come back and she would personally correct the problem, I did, she didn't.
The third time was about a year and a half ago it was ok nothing like the first time but better then the second. Like the person said before hit or miss.
Lems has a very long reputation as a great bbq joint.However there time has come, and gone.Over priced tough,dry meat has been my experience the last couple of years.The arrogant attitude doesn't help either.The way the owner acts you would think he has the only bbq joint in Chicago.Uncle Jhonnie's tops this place with it's friendly staff alone...plus the q is much better tasting ,and priced better.
Lems! OMG...you brnging back memories. I remember my Step-Fathers Aunt living across the street in a little apartment and that flashing sign keeping me awake at night when we visited with her. I dont know about hit or miss, but that was the best bbq and the sauce...OMG...have you ever got the tips/w/the fries, and they have the sauce all over the tips , the fries and the white bread....that was some good stuff. I hope when I'm there for the taste ,and I stop by, that it'll be a HIT and not a miss. I remember that big guy too, and for nostalgia's sake,,who cared about the lobby only holding a handfull of people...it was worth crowding in there and waiting..even when it was cold.
Yes i know my family have been eating Lem's ribs since the early 1970 the ribs are just as good now as they were when my mother grandmother use to treat her to Lem's ribs now my mom and my grandmother treat my brother and i to Lem's BBq and they are finger licking good and the meat is very tender you don't need teeth to eat them cause my great grandmother she also still eat Lem's BB
Q and she have no teeth so yes they are the best and the customer service have not change everone give you respect and a great smile when you come to Lem's the food is always hot and fresh the fries are golden brown and the chicken is alway fried fresh just like at home yes Lem's #1 in America love that Lem's BAR-B-Q HOUSE Chicago very own he have done a great job #1 service to all that eat a Lem's
Yes I agree with the previous reviewers its a hit or miss . I live in Los Angeles now but I come home every year and stop by Lems during my stay not like it used to be ,the one that used to be on 59th State was good in the 1980's and 75th was also but over the years not like it used to be (the real big guy that used to cook :). I will still try them when I go home in August 2008.
i have been eating at lem for over thiry years since moving store #2 to 75th street. they have the best meat for cooking bar-b-cue and if their sauce was better, they would be the best in the whole city. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK . WE WILL GET OUR BAR-B-Q ONLY FROM LEM'S.
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