Since Patch this week featured a new downtown business, this week's Going Back Downtown is going to detour outside the confines of old Des Plaines to the Elmhurst strip, on the very border of the city.
T-Bob's Smoked Bar-B-Q opened last month in the former Dairy Queen at 1165 S. Elmhurst. Having recently spent the better part of two years living in Georgia, I have become afflicted with a craving for good Bar-B-Q. Until now, that just hasn't been something you could find around these parts, and has necessitated a drive into the city.
Into this void T-Bob's has emerged. Unlike many of its barely-trying Midwest brethren, T-Bob's actually smokes its meat on-site. That's right, the meat is the star of the show, not merely a vessel for delivery of high fructose corn syrup in the form of generic sauce.
So far, I've sampled the brisket and pulled pork, and both have been very good. The brisket was moist, tender, and flavorful, and the pulled pork had the right texture. The jalapeno corn muffins offered as a side have some addictive potential, while the cole slaw and potato salad are simple but good. I haven't delved deep into their fairly extensive menu (unusually extensive for a barbeque restaurant) but what I've tried is comparable to the better BBQ places in Chicago, and shows a lot of potential for a month-old restaurant.
T-Bob's is clearly a labor of love and projects a friendly atmosphere. It's something of a feat to transform a standard fast food restaurant into a place with warmth and personality, but it's happened here. Des Plaines is lucky to have yet another category covered in its list of quality restaurants.
For our requisite history lesson: this building started its life as a Roy Rogers Roast Beef and since then has been home to the Blue Chipper Restaurant (1974), Nankin Express, Hyotan, Tokyo Cafe, and for a short time, the first Cousins Subs in Illinois.
T-Bob's website with menu is at http://www.facebook.com/pages/T-Bobs-Smoked-Bar-B-Q/161615533895613