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Twin Anchors

The Twin Anchors is probably the best unknown restaurant in Chicago.  It's probably my favorite rib joint in the country, yet friends who grew up in Chicago have never even heard of it.  It has been in business since 1932 and under current management since 1978.  With a 70's vintage  Budweiser sign hanging out front the Twin Anchors doesn't look like much more than a typical neighborhood tavern, but don't let the looks fool you, the ribs are outrageous.  When you walk in the front door you find yourself in the middle of a fairly open room with a long bar to your right and seating on the left and front walls.  The walls are wood-paneled and the ceiling has an odd slope out at the edges, giving the impression that you're in a short, squat single-level building.  When I visited in early April the  televisions at the bar were naturally tuned to  the Cubs and there was a large crowd sitting at the bar cheering on the game.  Seating in the main dining area behind the front room is fairly snug, not dissimilar to what you find at Carnegie Deli, so be prepared to dine with people you've never met before and certainly don't plan on having any private conversation.

I've only had the ribs, that's the only reason I go, and I don't see any reason to stray off the beaten path.  The sauce is as close to what I consider perfect for ribs as I've ever tasted.  Not "too" anything, it's well balanced with a viscosity that sticks well to the ribs but doesn't leave you peeling it from your fingers for hours after dinner.  I'm not a huge fan of fries, but the fries here are an excellent choice, as are the onion rings.  I don't recommend the baked potato for logistical reasons;  your fork will end up coated in sauce (you do eat baby backs with your hands, don't you?) and you'll just spend a lot of time wiping your hands, which can be dangerous.  Any time your hands are away from your plate there's a distinct risk that your dining companions will try to pilfer some of your ribs, which will only upset you, which could lead to an argument, which could escalate into a fight, then the cops come and you get arrested and have to make bail.  Trust me and just avoid all of this by forgetting about the baked potato, it's just not worth the risk.  Good ribs are even better with good beer, and there's no shortage of beer at Twin Anchors.  If you can't find one that suits your taste consider yourself a statistical outlier.

When you're in Chicago you owe it to yourself to stop by for a plate of ribs, you won't regret it!