My family and I got to have dinner at Q-BBQ, an eatery just south of Ogden Avenue at 70 S. LaGrange Road.
We had visited downtown LaGrange before, and been impressed with its assortment of local shops and restaurants. Almost by design, the chain places like Chipotle, Noodles & Co. are all clustered around Ogden Ave. north of the Metra tracks. There are also plenty of big boxes and drive-through joints further south near Joliet Rd. But the village has done a good job keeping an all-local vibe to its main downtown. So when I got the invitation to try out Q-BBQ as guests of their PR firm (full disclosure), we came right on down.
My first thought was that this was an upscale place that just happened to have a Bar-B-Q menu, so I was concerned about the dress codes. No problem, we immediately learned. It’s a very informal spot that shares parking space with a hot dog place. Just place an order at the counter, then take a seat and let the server find you.
As the world about ‘Q has spread into the burbs, so has some of the minor details like side dishes. Q-BBQ had the usual sides like baked beans, mac and cheese, and also green beans cooked with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and “Q-Puppies” cooked in peanut oil. My wife tried the ribs, but couldn’t get behind the crusted barbecue sauce. But we agree that because BBQ is such a nebulous style with a dozen regional variations, there’s always something someone might not care for. I tucked in to some dry smoked Carolina pulled pork. It was quite tender, with a delicate smoke flavor that let the meat stay in the foreground. Me being me, I tested the meat in each of their house barbecue sauces, which included a South Carolina mustard sauce and a Carolina vinegar sauce, which I don’t think is a common part of the repertoire ‘round here. But of course the CQ-Spicy Sauce wins out with me.
They happened to have a special on “burnt ends” of chopped brisket, so I had to go in for seconds. Burnt ends are one to those dishes over which regions squabble, though I favor the Arthur Bryant Kansas City origin for no supportable reason. Anyway, the Q version was great: a bit crunchy, with a mix of blackened and pink parts.
The kids managed in their way; my 10-year old was happy since his favorite cheese is the “macand” variety. The three year old girl managed with some chicken tenders. At the age of 18 months she demolished a sparerib like Pebbles Flintstone, but she’s gotten more picky since then.
Since this is a beer blog, I will have this graf on topic: the beer selection is all bottled, but does have some range. Behind the supplied signs for MGD, there was a cooler with some Sam Adams, the New Belgium Ranger IPA and… Hamm’s in a can for $2? I know, it’s another former brand leader now in the SAB/MillerCoors portfolio, and Q-BBQ is at least one step past subscribing to cliché hipster cheap beer that is PBR, but I admit, I ordered it. And I liked it. I had a mouth full of hot sauce, but this was a decent thirst quencher, and I couldn’t detect any corn or adjunct, just good old light malt. I’m intrigued enough to hunt down a sixer. When I do (not that easy in this town) I just might offer a roundup of cheap beers I actually like.
Meantime, the family offered their thumbs up on Q-BBQ. And on a walk through downtown afterward that included a stop at From Scratch Bakery for frozen custard.