The owner of Batter & Berries, the beloved brunchy black-owned Lincoln Park restaurant, is opening a barbecue spot in the South Loop. Chef/owner Derek Rylon is partnering John Mauro, the owner of La Cantina Grill, which is also in the South Loop. They're opening Rylon's Smokehouse at 67 E. Cermak Road and are looking at a late-September opening date, according to a news release.
Rylon said he wants to deemphasize smoke, as he feels it often overwhelms the flavor of meats at many barbecue spots. Instead of starting brisket in a smoker, he'll start it on a pit grill and then move it in the smoker. Meats will be finished with a house barbecue sauce, and Rylon is also working on sauces from different regions in the U.S.
Chicago is still at a deficit when it comes to barbecue spots, as Pork Shoppe and Dinosaur Bar-B-Que have closed in recent weeks. Rylon started cooking at restaurants when was 13 and over the last 25 years he's worked at Shaw's, Gibsons and The Capital Grille. Batter & Berries has become a popular breakfast and brunch destination near Lincoln and Diversey in Lincoln Park after opening in 2012, drawing celebrities including former Bulls point guard Derrick Rose. Check back later for more details on the menu and space as Rylon and Mauro get closer to opening.