We walked into this Chicago institution and were transported back 50 years.; the place literally oozes the nostalgia of tavern-type supper clubs of my youth. Wood-paneled walls, tile floors, little basket of cellophane-wrapped crackers, Sinatra on the jukebox…. the only thing missing was the cigarette smoke. And speaking of Sinatra, Ol' Blue Eyes himself is purported to have been a big fan of the trademarked, slow-cooked ribs - and so that's what we ordered.
OMG. They were fall-off-the-bone heaven and served up with a choice of sauces. They let us sample all three: the winner was spicy-sweet Prohibition: so good we bought a bottle to take home. Our entrees were served up with a choice of potato, onions rings or old-school creamed spinach, cole slaw and a big dill pickle. Washed down with a couple of brews from the bar (good selection), it doesn't get any better than this.
The building is circa 1880's and the restaurant has been around since 1932 so it's no Johnny-come-lately. The old gal is also a bit of a tramp with a colorful past that includes a stint as a speakeasy during the prohibition era (thus the name of our favorite sauce). Frankie wasn't the only big name to tuck into a plate here either; the guest roster includes Joey Bishop, Conan O'Brien, "Da Bears" Mike Ditka, Goldie Hawn, Nick Nolte and Emeril Lagasse, to name a few.
It's cozy and doesn't take reservations so go early or expect to spend some serious time at the bar. Open 7 days a week but lunch served only on Saturday and Sunday - see website for hours. Steaks, sandwiches, salads, take-out available, and they have a kid's menu.
Favorite Dish: Ribs!!
Twin Anchors has the best BBQ ribs in Chicago. It doesn't matter whether you have them with their original or zesty sauce, these are not to be missed. Twin Anchors is kind of a Chicago legend in its own right and on any given day is mostly filled with locals. I'm not quite sure how it has managed to avoid the tourist circuit, but its all the better because of it.
As a side note, the movie "Return to Me" was filmed here, Frank Sinatra was a regular whenever he came to the city, and other famous Chicago faces have been known to stop in or order carry-out. Need proof? The memorabilia is scattered across the walls.
This is the place to go for ribs in Chicago. The restaurant is in an old brick building on a quiet street in Old Town. The main part of the restaurant has a big wooden bar, where you will wait for a seat (the restaurant does not take reservations for parties under 6 people). There are a few televisions at the bar where you can watch the Cubs, and the rest of the room is decorated with pictures of Chicago and newspaper articles written on the Twin Anchors itself. The Rat Pack reportedly eat here often. It also has comfortable leather booths. The back of the restaurant has regular tables and houses the busy kitchen.
The Twin Anchors' claim to fame, aside from the food, is being the site of the film Return to Me, in which the bar serves as the setting for the Italian restaurant, curiously named O'Reilly's, where the character played by Minnie Driver works as a waitress. Director Bonnie Hunt who also plays a part in the movie chose the Twin Anchors in part because she is a longtime patron.
Favorite Dish: The restaurant is known for its baby backed ribs. As I am not a huge rib fan, the barbeque chicken works fine for me. They give you extra bbq sauce (go for the zesty) on the side for dipping!
In 2002, Twin Anchors was voted Best Ribs in Chicago Magazine's 2002 reader's poll, and was selected as having the best barbeque in the entire city in the Zagat's Chicago restaurant survey