Evanston >Food & Dining > Merle's Barbeque
1727 Benson Ave, Evanston, IL | Directions 6020142.049391 -87.683222
Great Beef Ribs! – We have been Merle's regulars for a long time. We are beef rib fans and if you like beef ribs, you'll get great ones here. The ribs are big, meaty, lean and give you a bit of a fight on the bone - definitely not boiled before smoking. Merle's has the leanest beef ribs we've found. There was even one time when when they wouldn't serve them because the quality wasn't right. The sauces are great - try the Texas sauce on the beef ribs and there is a nice selection of sides.
REAL GOOD BBQ – With a student going to NU, we've frequented quite a few places inthe Evanston area. Merle's seems to be one that we come back to. The service has always been great, and the St.Louis ribs are fantastic. Give this place a try.
Best Barbecue We Can Find... – I have been going to Merle's since they first opened and called themselves: Merle's Rib Palace...and you can't keep myself or my husband away!
The barbecue ribs are out of this world! Always tender and falling off the bone. I like the tangy sauce and hubby likes the sweet sauce.
Their chicken is always tender and the portions are generous. We almost always get the rib/chicken combo and we can never eat it all!
More Texas than Carolina – First ten or so visits my friends and I couldn't veer from the "Barnyard Platter" (ribs, chicken, pork chops, multiple choices from the side order list).
As much as I like their St. Louis style ribs with dry rub, I can't say enough about their smoked chicken.
Try the "Catnips" fried catfish appetizer, fresh and not greasy.
Oh, and to the reviewer that claimed he couldn't get extra sauce - there are always bottles of two types of bbq sauce (vinegar based and sweet bbq) on every table.
Back room is a bit darker and built to accomodate large groups.
This Western-style barbecue hangout is popular with families and college students from nearby Northwestern University. – The Scene
The theme is country western, with walls decorated with album covers by the likes of Tammy Wynette, Tanya Tucker and Elvis. Corny sayings dot the menu, including the restaurant motto: "BBQ so good, it makes you wanna slap your pappy." It's a loud crowd, so if you're looking for more conversation-friendly decibel levels, request a booth.
Hickory-smoked barbecue is the star. A favorite starter is the smoking wings, which are smoked then fried and sauced up. If your group is ravenously hungry, get the Barnyard Platter--a huge tray with two kinds of ribs, chicken, pork chops and side dishes. The pork ribs are offered either wet (with sauce) or dry (spices rubbed directly into the meat). The chicken is marinated--not sauced--and juicy. A star among the side dishes is the mayo-free slaw: chopped cabbage in a tangy vinaigrette dressing.
As authentic as Taco Bell – If the entire marketing of a restaurant rides on claims of authenticity, it ought to be held to a high standard. My girlfriend and I, recent transplants from NC, visited Merle's hoping to find a spot we could return to for a "home" fix. We were sorely disappointed. The bbq isn't even close, the bun way off, no extra sauce, and the ultimate offense: no sweet tea! The wait staff was less than helpful, mocking my handwritten suggestion that sweet tea be added, asking each other why we moved to Chicago if we wanted "real Southern food." (They were standing five feet away!) My fried chicken was brown instead of golden, causing me to question how often they change their oil. I waited months to write this review, and I still get angry thinking about it. We'll drive 30 miles to Red Hot + Blue before ever eating there again.
Merle's is solid across the board – I have dined at Merle's several times and never been disappointed. It doesn't have the ambience of Carsons in Deerfield, but it's a lot more fun. Definitely a great place to take a family.
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