“The food is good, but I smell like smoked meat when I leave there.” – a girlfriend of one of the guys.
That was the only word of mouth we needed to hear to know that Eli’s BBQ had to be our next stop.
To me, smelling like smoked meat is a pleasant perk to be savored for as long as you can. I rank smelling like smoked meat right up there with smelling like a bonfire or the exhaust of a classic car with some open headers. (You know, before all that smog emissions crap came into play.) Every man should be blessed enough to smell like these things at least once a year. But I digress…
So back to the barbeque… Eli’s BBQ is located down on the East End of Cincinnati at 3313 Riverside Drive. If you think you’re getting close, keep your eyes peeled because you may just drive right past it. Operating out of an old row house, Eli’s is understated and easy to miss. Once you’ve been, however, you’ll be dying to come back.
When you walk into Eli’s, it is like taking a step back in time. Reminiscent of a little roadside BBQ joint lost in the 50s, the inside is small, smells like smoked meat, and offers a record player and an assortment of classic records to play while you eat. Keep in mind, the seating is limited so if the weather isn’t nice enough to sit outside, it may be a little crowded inside.
You order in the back, and the menu is limited and almost perfect. A pulled pork sandwich is the calling card for Eli’s, but a big ol’ hot dog or a plate of rip tips also stand as good options. A list of sides can be paired with the main meat dishes for only a few dollars more. For under $10 you can get a main dish and two sides. Not bad at all. Just an FYI… They accept three forms of payment: cash, check, and Reds tickets. I believe in my heart of hearts they truly would accept any of these three forms of payment. Keep your plastic cards at home.
If you’re sitting outside, which I highly recommend, you have a couple options. There is a patch of grass you can have a picnic on or there is a larger field filled with picnic tables. I’m not quite sure if the field is Eli’s or a city park… Either way we took our cooler of beer over to a table and set up shop.
I can imagine no scenario more masculine than chowing down on BBQ while drinking beers from an iced down cooler at a picnic table on a warm summer night. I feel a country song just longing to be written… “Somethin’ bout a BBQ joint,” or “BBQ crawl”… I’ll keep working on it.
Oh, and I almost forgot the newest addition to Eli’s: a soft serve ice cream truck! So while the BBQ and beer consumption showed everyone around how masculine we were, six guys sitting at a picnic table with soft serve ice cream cones showed the world just how comfortable we are with our masculinity.
A dinner of tender pulled pork and delicious sides served outside while drinking beers you brought from home might be the most perfect meal ever conceived. Ice cream just puts it over the top. If there is one place you eat outside this summer, make it Eli’s.
For more information, hours, and catering options visit their website