LITTLE ITALY — More than two years after a fire forced County BBQ to close its doors, the Taylor Street barbecue spot is back in business with a new look — but the same taste.
The Michelin Bib Gourmand-recognized restaurant, run by DMK Restaurants, reopened at 1352 W. Taylor St. after Christmas, said Michael Kornick, co-owner of DMK Restaurants.
Known for offering regional BBQ styles ranging from Chicago to Texas, County BBQ’s new menu is “very close” to its pre-fire menu, Kornick said.
“The menu is about 90 percent the same. There are couple of things that we used to do that we aren’t doing today,” Kornick said. “It’s the same team behind the original.”
“I believe all the great things we did before are back and better than ever,” he added.
The restaurant menu includes Texas brisket, Chicago-style rib tips, pulled pork and St. Louis-style spare ribs, with entree prices ranging from $11-$14. Guests can also get cocktails, beer and wine at the Taylor Street eatery.
Instead of the full-table service offered before the fire, County BBQ now offers counter service at the reopened restaurant.
“We feel like part of providing BBQ at a value — and the way BBQ is perceived nationally — a less service model is more appealing to guests,” Kornick said.
The restaurant also features a newly remodeled kitchen, allowing the team to expand their catering reach while continuing to serve guests at the restaurant.
In August 2016, a fire broke out in the County BBQ building forcing the restaurant to close. At the time, DMK Restaurants said it would take several weeks before they would be able to reopen.
But the restaurant ended up being closed for more than two years.
“It was a really long process … it took a lot longer than expected,” Kornick said. “It was a 47-year-old restaurant [building]. There was a lot of work to be done to rebuild a new restaurant to meet both the demands of our audience and the regulatory process.”
But the team is proud to bring the restaurant back, Kornick said.
“We are really proud of what we were able to rebuild and we hope it resonates with all of our existing and new clientele,” he said. “We hope to be here for another 20 years, if all goes well. We feel like we are a fabric of the neighborhood.”
County BBQ opened in July 2013 in the former Genarro’s, a longtime Little Italy staple. It has about 40 seats inside and an outdoor patio.
Specializing in smoked meats and whiskey, the restaurant was named to Michelin’s Bib Gourmand list three years in a row.
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