Eating Outdoors in the Summertime

Thu. July 19, 2018 12:00 AM
by Jerry Nunn

It was that time of the year again for the annual gathering of Windy City Smokeout for almost three full days of BBQ and country music in July.

After having covered the festival for several years I was ready for it. I arrived early on Friday afternoon when the place opened. While still a sunny day, there were plenty of shady spots to hide under and enjoy delicious samples.

Returning to my Tennessee roots, I made a bee-line to Martin's Bar-B-Que made in my hometown of Nashville, Tennessee. Once I weeded out the fact that employees from Lettuce Entertain You wore red and the others wore black I was I soon talking about pulled pork to some expert new friends.

They steered me in the right direction to Sam Jones BBQ. It was perfect for a hot day thanks to the chopped pork sandwich. The pastrami pork belly from Hometown Bar-B-Que was definitely a show stopper also.

Big Gay Ice Cream had some delicious dessert shipped in from New York. The heat did cause the owner some problems early on and limited his menu, but if you like sass with your cream that was the place to be!

There were plenty of options without barbeque such as Bub City's burger and Sprinkles Cupcakes.

Real Good Juice Co. had hilarious humor in their signage and some refreshing spirits but unfortunately filled the glass with so much ice that it didn't leave room for the drink. Something else worth noticing was Dino's Tacos was a bit hidden towards the back so their flow was slow, which they fixed on the second day by opening up the front area.

Some big improvements on the festival had the organization moving the ticket pick up across the street and not in front, to cut out the long lines, although this allowed a back up in traffic nearby for pedestrians to walk to the Smokeout.

The music lineup was fun although a big loud, but smartly kept to one end of the setup this year.

Look for more space next year with the popularity of the Smokeout causing it to possibly move to a new location. Stick to for updates.

Another fun outdoor event happened on the same weekend with MORA at the Promenade in Bolingbrook. A Hawaiian Luau was thrown right outside the doors of the hopping restaurant complete with an all you can eat buffet, a DJ and dancers.

The owners were onhand to greet guests and assist the staff. The place was bustling as diners bit into the buffet. The salmon was an unexpected standout and will make people return for more.

MORA Asian Fusion really is the place to be with their Dragons Whip Cocktail made from Filipino rum. Known for its sushi, make sure to check out the samurai with lobster, salmon, jalapeno, avocado and spicy mayo next time you visit.

Visit try lunch, brunch or dinner today!