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  • Leon's BBQ

    Post #1 - July 29th, 2004, 8:28 am
    Post #1 - July 29th, 2004, 8:28 am Post #1 - July 29th, 2004, 8:28 am
    I recall seeing a new place opening on Ashland close to Fullerton called Leon's BBQ. Does anyone know whether this is related to the southside Leon's BBQ?
    MAG
    www.monogrammeevents.com

    "I've never met a pork product I didn't like."
  • Post #2 - July 29th, 2004, 8:31 am
    Post #2 - July 29th, 2004, 8:31 am Post #2 - July 29th, 2004, 8:31 am
    It is an outpost of Leon's from the south side. I tried some ribs and hot links a couple of weeks ago and was very underwhelmed.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #3 - July 29th, 2004, 8:58 am
    Post #3 - July 29th, 2004, 8:58 am Post #3 - July 29th, 2004, 8:58 am
    Melissa, here's what I said about the new Leon's soon after it opened. This followed up on another poster's pan of the place. (It's a franchise owned by someone who worked at one of the original Leon's. Smoke has yet to pour from the chimneys at the Ashland store, by the way.)

    Quote:
    I've been long anticipating the opening of Leon's new place on Ashland & Fullerton


    Me too, and I also had ribs, tips, and links from the new Leon's yesterday. While I don't think I'd be quite as critical as you are about the offerings, I do agree in general with your negative opinion.

    First, I'd point out that this Leon's, a franchise, is about the same as the south side Leoni, with the exception, in my opinion, of the original which has an operating aquarium BBQ.

    First and foremost, where's the smoke? The new place clearly has an impressive ventilation apparatus, obvious from the street. Much more than is needed for a regular kitchen operation. I like to think that this was not constructed just for looks.

    However, I was sad to neither see nor smell any smoke coming from the stacks at 8:30 on my way to work, at 5:30 on my way back, or at 7:00 when I walked in. The place didn't even smell smoky inside. This leads me to one easy conclusion: the meat was brought in from Leon's central bad BBQ facility somewhere on the South Side. My sincerest hope is that that will change.

    My half slab of ribs actually showed some signs of smoke; the problem was instead that it was quite dried out, a sign of old age at a place that just opened its doors at 3 pm. Not good.

    The tips were a little better, though also less smoky and, problematically, apparently "cured" with nitrates, a commonly cited problem assumed about Leon's.

    Now, I liked the links, and always do from Leon's. The very course grind, heavy dose of pepper and less sage than others is a combo I like. The links get "grilled" a little more than BBQ'd at most places anyway, so these forgiving wursts were not so offensive, to me at least.

    So, I'm also not in any hurry to return, at least until I smell smoke.

    I also agree that service was clueless, the refusal to do dry, sauce on the side is unforgiveable, and that the sweet sauce is bad. I asked for hot, which is ok at other locations, but did not get it.

    I was disturbed that this franchisee would leave the "grand opening" to a group of well-meaning but clueless Mexican guys who I really doubt worked at a SSide Leon's or any other BBQ place before based on their lack of very basic BBQ knowledge.

    Folks generally rave about Leon's fired chicken and fish, in my experience, so that might be worth a shot.

    In sum, the new Leon's really is nothing like Lem's or Honey One or BA, etc. Not even close. And it's not as good as less good, but still real BBQ, places like Uncle Bub's, Chuck's, Fat Willy's and Smoke Daddy (I said it). And, God forgive me, I even enjoy the "North Side Ribs" at Biasettis and the baked Asian ribs with chile, lime, fish sauce and hoisin at the new bar Neybours more than Leon's ribs. Or the beef ribs cut the wrong way at innumerable Korean, Colombian, and Argentine places. Or the ribs at Fogo de Chao, even. But I might stop by for links and wings in a pinch, maybe more if I smell smoke.
  • Post #4 - July 29th, 2004, 10:17 am
    Post #4 - July 29th, 2004, 10:17 am Post #4 - July 29th, 2004, 10:17 am
    JeffB wrote:Melissa, here's what I said about the new Leon's soon after it opened. This followed up on another poster's pan of the place. (It's a franchise owned by someone who worked at one of the original Leon's. Smoke has yet to pour from the chimneys at the Ashland store, by the way.)



    That was my experience as well. Absolutely no evidence of smoke whatsoever. I even asked them directly if the ribs were cooked there or brought in. The counter guy emphatically stated that they were cooked on premise. I then asked him where the smoker was located (since there is no evidence of it behind the counter). He said it was in the back room, but when peeking into the back room when the door would occasionally open, I couldn't see anything that looked like a smoker.

    I had forgotten about not being able to get the sauce on the side. I asked for it that way and the order taker even wrote it down, but when the ribs arrived, they were soaked in sauce.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #5 - August 6th, 2004, 8:54 am
    Post #5 - August 6th, 2004, 8:54 am Post #5 - August 6th, 2004, 8:54 am
    While heading home from work last night about 6:45 p.m., I noticed (and smelled) plenty of smoke coming from the Leon's on Archer near Sacramento. Of course, it was a mandate to stop! The smoker was going full-bore. A crew of 4 men were at work, rather than the usual staff of 2. Lots and lots of slabs in the smoker, with a good fire below, and one man using a hose to spritz the fire. I ordered the usual (large tips, hot sauce on the side) and they were really, really good. Meaty, smoky, tender, and with just a little bit of fattiness. Dare I say it? Yes, they were much better than the tips from Honey 1 that I tried a few weeks back. I usually find this Leon's location sans smoke from the roof and without meat in the smoker, but last night was different - and delicious. And for $6.47 I get 2 meals out of the deal, because it's a good-sized serving and I can never finish it. Even the fries and Wonder Bread tasted better. While everyone has their faves and their biases when it comes to BBQ, I wanted to share a positive Leon's experience with the LTH'ers.
  • Post #6 - April 29th, 2007, 4:01 pm
    Post #6 - April 29th, 2007, 4:01 pm Post #6 - April 29th, 2007, 4:01 pm
    alisonmackenzie wrote:While heading home from work last night about 6:45 p.m., I noticed (and smelled) plenty of smoke coming from the Leon's on Archer near Sacramento.


    Just happened to be driving by and the same thing happened. First the smell of hickory then brakes. :)

    No time to stop and eat but I grabbed a pic...

    Image

    Leon’s BBQ #4
    4550 S Archer Ave
    (773) 247-4171
  • Post #7 - April 29th, 2007, 7:34 pm
    Post #7 - April 29th, 2007, 7:34 pm Post #7 - April 29th, 2007, 7:34 pm
    That's encouraging. I stop at that Leon's about three or four times a year, but I only get links.
    "Fried chicken should unify us, as opposed to tearing us apart. " - Bomani Jones
  • Post #8 - October 11th, 2017, 11:51 am
    Post #8 - October 11th, 2017, 11:51 am Post #8 - October 11th, 2017, 11:51 am
    Denzel Washington Viral Video Leads Leon's BBQ To Reopen In Woodlawn

    https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/2017101 ... n-woodlawn
    "At a formal dinner party, the person nearest death should always be seated closest to the bathroom." George Carlin
  • Post #9 - October 12th, 2017, 4:06 pm
    Post #9 - October 12th, 2017, 4:06 pm Post #9 - October 12th, 2017, 4:06 pm
    I recall a Leon's BBQ on Clark just north of Fullerton. (Maybe the '80s)
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #10 - October 12th, 2017, 7:14 pm
    Post #10 - October 12th, 2017, 7:14 pm Post #10 - October 12th, 2017, 7:14 pm
    Sweet Willie wrote:I recall a Leon's BBQ on Clark just north of Fullerton. (Maybe the '80s)


    Yep, east side of Clark just north of Fullerton, I think it opened in the late 70's and closed in the mid 80's.
    For what we choose is what we are. He should not miss this second opportunity to re-create himself with food. Jim Crace "The Devil's Larder"
  • Post #11 - October 12th, 2017, 9:37 pm
    Post #11 - October 12th, 2017, 9:37 pm Post #11 - October 12th, 2017, 9:37 pm
    Several years before that there was a location right in the heart of Cabrini-Green, either on Chicago Avenue or Division. I was at Columbia College at the time and we would occasionally drop in there and pick up a few slabs. Back then my metabolism was so high a full slab and a pile of fries constituted a single serving.

    Buddy
  • Post #12 - October 16th, 2017, 12:59 pm
    Post #12 - October 16th, 2017, 12:59 pm Post #12 - October 16th, 2017, 12:59 pm
    Dave148 wrote:
    Denzel Washington Viral Video Leads Leon's BBQ To Reopen In Woodlawn

    https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/2017101 ... n-woodlawn

    dnainfo wrote:He said since Washington was close to 82nd Street and Harper Avenue at the time, he could have been looking for the locations that used to be at 8259 S. Cottage Grove Ave. or 1640 E. 79th Street.

    Finney said after the video got people talking about Leon’s again, the family decided to reopen the Woodlawn location at 1528 E. 63rd St., which closed in 2010.

    Finney said that although that probably wasn’t the one Washington was looking for, it was the location that could be opened the soonest, with an expected opening date of Nov. 22.

    There never was a Leon's Bar-B-Que at 1528 E 63rd (a bit west of Stony). In the early 2000s Leon Finney Jr – son of the celebrated Chicago pitmaster – opened Tre's Pancake House at that location. I wasn't aware Tre's lasted until 2010 (in this 2006 post, I noted it had closed). I visited only once (over ten years ago), but I remember it was a sit-down breakfast and lunch spot, nothing at all like his father's classic takeout-only Chicago barbecue houses. It's not clear from anything I've read if the immediate plans are to reopen on 63rd as something like Tre's or if they're aiming for something more like the old Leon's Bar-B-Que that Denzel Washington was looking for.

    mbh wrote:
    Sweet Willie wrote:I recall a Leon's BBQ on Clark just north of Fullerton. (Maybe the '80s)

    Yep, east side of Clark just north of Fullerton, I think it opened in the late 70's and closed in the mid 80's.

    The Lincoln Park Leon's opened in early 1983, largely fueled by Leon's success at ChicagoFest, where they sold barbecue beginning in 1980. Leon Finney Sr and Jr realized that many of the folks buying ribs at the Navy Pier music festival would never make it to the South Side, so they partnered with former alderman Bill Singer to open a Leon's on Clark Street (I thought it was almost as good as the South Side ones). You could write a book about the Lincoln Park Leon's, Jesse Jackson's threatened boycott of ChicagoFest in 1982, Mayor Byrne's appointment of Leon Finney Jr to the CHA board, and other topics touching on the racial politics of the time.

    BuddyRoadhouse wrote:Several years before that there was a location right in the heart of Cabrini-Green, either on Chicago Avenue or Division.

    From 1980 to mid-1983 there was a Leon's on Milwaukee Avenue, midway between Chicago and Division. It was run by Cleon Berry, one of Leon Finney Sr's sons. Cleon had another even-shorter-lived place on Chicago Avenue that's probably the one you're thinking of. It seems Berry started the business with his father's blessing, but the arrangement soon soured, leading Finney to disavow the two "Leon's" and take legal action. Cleon Berry quickly left Chicago and opened Leon's Bar-B-Que of Northbrook in July 1983 with a "suburbanized" menu (in the words of his lawyer-partner). "We made your product white," he is quoted as saying, and admitted they left extra space on the sign to add a C in front of Leon's in case Finney sued again.
  • Post #13 - March 9th, 2018, 12:25 pm
    Post #13 - March 9th, 2018, 12:25 pm Post #13 - March 9th, 2018, 12:25 pm
    The legendary Leon's Barbeque and Grill is returning to the South Side - and people lined up along 63rd Street all day Thursday waiting for its official opening.

    http://abc7chicago.com/food/leons-barbe ... e/3191461/
    "At a formal dinner party, the person nearest death should always be seated closest to the bathroom." George Carlin
  • Post #14 - March 9th, 2018, 5:25 pm
    Post #14 - March 9th, 2018, 5:25 pm Post #14 - March 9th, 2018, 5:25 pm
    threadkiller wrote:That's encouraging. I stop at that Leon's about three or four times a year, but I only get links.


    Hmm... I literally live a mile and a half away from the Archer Ave. outpost of Leon's, but have only eaten food from there twice (and they've been there since at least the early 90s, and I've been on and off in the neighborhood since the late 70s.) I need to rectify that situation. I don't think I've ever tried their links.
  • Post #15 - March 10th, 2018, 6:02 pm
    Post #15 - March 10th, 2018, 6:02 pm Post #15 - March 10th, 2018, 6:02 pm
    Binko wrote:
    threadkiller wrote:That's encouraging. I stop at that Leon's about three or four times a year, but I only get links.


    Hmm... I literally live a mile and a half away from the Archer Ave. outpost of Leon's, but have only eaten food from there twice (and they've been there since at least the early 90s, and I've been on and off in the neighborhood since the late 70s.) I need to rectify that situation. I don't think I've ever tried their links.

    Note that my post was over a decade ago. I haven't been there for at least 6-7 years now, I moved my business to Honey 1 while they were on Western because I could get both links and tips.
    "Fried chicken should unify us, as opposed to tearing us apart. " - Bomani Jones
  • Post #16 - March 10th, 2018, 10:08 pm
    Post #16 - March 10th, 2018, 10:08 pm Post #16 - March 10th, 2018, 10:08 pm
    threadkiller wrote:
    Binko wrote:
    threadkiller wrote:That's encouraging. I stop at that Leon's about three or four times a year, but I only get links.


    Hmm... I literally live a mile and a half away from the Archer Ave. outpost of Leon's, but have only eaten food from there twice (and they've been there since at least the early 90s, and I've been on and off in the neighborhood since the late 70s.) I need to rectify that situation. I don't think I've ever tried their links.

    Note that my post was over a decade ago. I haven't been there for at least 6-7 years now, I moved my business to Honey 1 while they were on Western because I could get both links and tips.


    Sure, sure. The place still seems to get good reviews for the ribs. For the life of me, I don't really know why I don't go there more often, but when the barbecue urge strikes me, I would always end up at Lem's or Uncle John's or Barbara Ann's. Been awhile since I've had any Chicago barbecue. Somehow, having had two kids over the last three and a half years has severely curtailed my appetite and time for food adventures. But with Leon's so near by and with a solid if not necessarily top-tier reputation, I really should patronize the local place. I can't believe it's been there for at least 20-odd years now. My first memory of it in that location would have been early 90s. It may well be older than that, but I first became aware of it while in high school.
  • Post #17 - March 12th, 2018, 2:14 pm
    Post #17 - March 12th, 2018, 2:14 pm Post #17 - March 12th, 2018, 2:14 pm
    Went to Leon's BBQ at 1528 E 63rd street 3/10/2018,grand opening was on the 8th. Stood in line for 45 minutes. Order rib tips, hot links and chicken wings. when I got home and open and began to eat my rib tips, tips had been boiled, no taste to them at all. Hot links and chicken was good. Will not go back there again. Standing in line for 45 minutes, never smell or seem any smoke. Have no idea how they cook these ribs.
  • Post #18 - March 12th, 2018, 6:19 pm
    Post #18 - March 12th, 2018, 6:19 pm Post #18 - March 12th, 2018, 6:19 pm
    Unless you saw the tips being boiled you should not say they were. You can say the taste and texture was as if they had been boiled, but please don't assert facts that you haven't confirmed.

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