At Robinson's, your opinion of the experience will likely depend on which way your barbecue tastes lean. It may seem a tad presumptuous, but the name of this barbecue joint is actually inspired by a legitimate, albeit outdated, ranking garnered from Mike Royko's 1984 rib-fest.
Almost a de facto take-out joint thanks to a small storefront space and little attention paid to comfort on the interior, Robinson's nevertheless has a nice patio out back that serves its purpose in good weather. However, for most true rib aficionados, you could be distributing the goods from a dumpster as long as the sauce makes the cut, which may be why Robinson's containers are so easy to spot at the comfort and convenience-challenged environment of Taste of Chicago. Tangy to the brink of vinegary, the ribs here will unquestionably get your mouth watering, but diners craving a hefty, smoky taste will leave unfulfilled. Nevertheless, the meat is tender and juicy, and the smell is hard to pass up as it wafts out onto the street. BYOB, with a corkage fee on a case-by-case basis.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Mark Loehrke