Chicago Tribune - Barbecue Restaurant Opening Downtown

Barbecue restaurant opening downtown

Q-BBQ in La Grange plans to open a downtown Naperville location in May. (Submitted by Q-BBQ)

The smell of smoked meats will be wafting into downtown Naperville months before Ribfest even begins this year.

Q-BBQ plans to open a new location in mid-May at the corne of Main Street and Van Buren Avenue in the former Jilly’s piano bar location.

Owner Michael LaPidus said his restaurant offers authentic food in a chic atmosphere. He opened a Q-BBQ in La Grange about two and a half years ago, but said he has always has his eye on Naperville as well.

“Naperville reminds me of a neighborhood of Chicago,” he said. “It has a lot of local restaurants and boutique shops, some national tenants and the population of a neighborhood in the city, but it’s far removed from the city and it just has a great atmosphere.”

Patrons at Q-BBQ will be able to fill their plates with brisket, pulled pork, pulled chicken, ribs, sausage and chicken wings. Meats are smoked for hours, LaPidus said, until they are falling apart.

The meats also can be enjoyed on a sandwich such as the brisket sandwich topped with coleslaw, crumbled bleu cheese and Carolina mustard sauce served on a toasted brioche bun.

“I’m a foodie, and what I wanted to do was Q it up a notch,” LaPidus said.

For a side dish, Q-BBQ serves homemade coleslaw, Mac-Q-Roni with six cheeses, baked beans, Q-Puppies and more.

Q-BBQ also offers meat by the pound and caters. LaPidus hopes to turn his smoked meats into popular party dishes replacing the traditional Chicago staples like beef and mostaccioli.

The restaurant will be hiring staff members from the area and LaPidus hopes workers and patrons alike will feel a sense of ownership in the eatery.

“One of the greatest things you can witness is customers coming to Q and bringing friends and family from out of town and they’re taking ownership of our system, our menu,” he said.

Not everyone has taken a sense of ownership at Q-BBQ’s current location in La Grange. A neighboring boutique recently closed and blamed the restaurant’s smoke for ruining its inventory. LaPidus said he doesn’t believe his restaurant contributed to the shop’s demise, but doesn’t see any issues in the Naperville space regardless.

The Naperville spot has extra ventilation from when cigarette smoking was allowed indoors, and he had made plans to install a state-of-the-art exhaust system prior to the controversy. The restaurant also will be framed by concrete walls instead of wood, he said, and shares a wall with another restaurant instead of a store.

“Being a good neighbor is important to us,” LaPidus said. “And part of that is the community not only likes our food, but our business model.”