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Drive-Thru Barbecue and Doughnut Oasis Opens Tonight On Northwest Side

Earl's Drive-Thru BBQ, which will also have a beer garden, already has a cult following in Jefferson Park


Starting at 6 p.m. tonight, Northwest Side eaters won't even have to leave their cars for barbecue, doughnuts, and more treats. And the place will have a beer garden too.

Art Wnorowski, who also owns Lokal in Wicker Park and Lincoln Park, picked up his licensing for Earl's Drive-Thru BBQ today and is going to just unlock the doors for its first service this evening. Judging by the excitement on the restaurant's Facebook page, the restaurant's gaggle of pre-opening fans won't mind the impromptu opening. "It's going to be fun," Wnorowski says. "The neighborhood is going crazy for this right now. It's pretty wild."

The craziness could be the result of a number of facets at Earl's. It could be the drive-thru. It could be the selection of barbecue that will be smoked on site, dressed with Memphis-style rubs, Georgia-style mustard sauce and Carolina-style vinegar sauce, including baby back ribs and tips, pulled pork, smoked chicken, BBQ tacos, and a barbecue spin on a house-smoked Maxwell Street-style Polish sausage. Or it could be the house-made doughnuts, ice cream or shakes.

Earl's Drive-Thru BBQ

It could also be the forthcoming beer garden, which Wnorowski is planning to debut in the large parking lot this summer. Until then, folks can eat in the 30-40 seat dining room, in their cars, or take home from the drive-thru—which will be open until the wee hours on Saturday nights. Earl's won't serve alcohol at the start.

Or it could be that Jefferson Park has been pining for more interesting restaurant concepts such as Earl's. "I think the neighborhood is perfect for (Earl's)," Wnorowski says. You can drive through or sit inside beginning this evening.

Earl's Drive-Thru BBQ, 4835 N. Austin, open 7 a.m. until 9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays; 7 a.m. until 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; drive-thru open until 3 a.m. on Saturdays; (773) 719-7494.