I don’t know your dad, but if he’s anything like mine, he’s Phil Dunphy in Tim The Toolman Taylor’s body. He loves wearing tight white undershirts out in public, he just learned what emojis are (insert hair flip emoji here), and he calls me once a week to reset his iTunes password. I wouldn’t call him trendy, but I would say that the man knows good food. And when he met Twin Anchors, it was a match made in heaven.
Dads everywhere can rejoice because there is finally a respectable establishment where they can tuck that white tee into some Levi’s and hunker down over a rack of ribs with no shame. That’s not to say that the crowd at Twin Anchors is redneck, it’s just that anything goes here. Bros night out, Midwest tourists, 50th anniversary celebrations, gangs of yo-pros - come one, come all. Twin Anchors is Chicago’s mini melting pot, and they bring us all together with their Chicago-style ribs.
Twin Anchors has been a Chicago institution since 1932, and it doesn’t care cater to “the scene.” They won’t break into the Eater Heat Map anytime soon with their pumpernickel bread baskets, neon beer signs, and laminated menus, but that’s the charm. You’re instantly transported back to a simpler time circa 1999. It’s got that neighborhood feel, the staff is warm but efficient, and you’re not afraid to get a little saucey with their tender, juicy ribs. Be warned though, the ribs are Chicago-style, meaning it’s not even technically considered barbecue. The ribs are slow-cooked rather than smoked, so they fall off the bone but lack some of the traditional smokiness that you might be used to.
Ten years ago, you could have earned some local cred by bringing your out-of- town buddies here. But now, it’s less of a hidden gem and more of a well known secret (when you land a cameo in The Dark Knight you’re officially no longer “off-the-radar”). Even with the odd location between a schoolyard and apartments, tourists love it, and Chicago natives swear by it. The space is small and they don’t take reservations, so plan on a hefty wait Fridays or Saturdays. But you can also swing by on a warm Tuesday evening to hang on the patio and get a taste of what Chicago ribs are all about.
Zesty baked beans with bits of pork. Pork on pork on pork.
A plate of some solid crispy rings. They’re onion rings. It’s hard to go wrong.
Their own take on creamed spinach with a kick of pepperjack cheese. It has spinach, so it counts as your vegetable for the night.
Slow-cooked Chicago style pork ribs with your choice of homemade sauce (zesty, mild, or the sweet and spicy Prohibition). Say what you will about Chicago-style ribs, you can’t deny their sauce domination. Half slabs are for weenies, so get a full order smothered in sauce with a side, cole slaw, and pickle for $23.
Half of a slow-roasted chicken that’s meaty, tender, and well seasoned. If you don’t think you can handle a full rack, go halfsies with the rib and chicken combo accompanied by the house sauces. We recommend mixing the prohibition and zesty.
Half pound of Angus with cheese and the fixings. I don’t get it, but some friends swear by this burger. Personally, I wouldn’t stray from the ribs.