Smoke Chic

Pork Shoppe goes beyond classic barbecue

If there's one thing Chicago isn't lacking, it's barbecue joints. But West Belmont's new Pork Shoppe makes a mighty fine argument for its existence.

Exhibit A: Local beef, pork and chicken, smoked over hickory, apple and oak.

Exhibit B: A rustic-chic look, with antique mirrors and farm tools.

Exhibit C: Unusual twists, like pastrami made with pork belly instead of brisket, and ribs in a Southwestern-style dry rub laced with a secret ingredient (think: North Africa).

The menu is short and meaty: ribs ($11 for a half-rack), pulled chicken ($4.50; prices per quarter-pound), pulled pork ($6), 24-hour smoked brisket ($6.50), and steak ($5), quick-smoked to a rosy medium.

Order meat alone or on a sandwich bun; house-made sauces–tangy, sweet and spicy–come on the side.

The pork belly pastrami ($5)–which tastes like a richer, silkier incarnation of the deli classic–is an occasional special that's not to be missed.

Pair it with sweet jalepeño cornbread ($3.50) or burnt-end baked beans ($4). To drink, there's a rotating list of bourbons and canned beers.

"We're just keeping it simple, and takin' our time," says chef Jason Heiman–which is the motto of all great barbecue, no doubt.

Pork Shoppe, 2755 W. Belmont Ave.; 773-961-7654 or porkshoppechicago.com