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Smalls Smoke Shack, One of Chicago’s Best Barbecues, Has Closed To Reconcept

They’re veering toward more traditional Filipino cuisine

Smalls Smoke Shack is closed to reconcept.
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

Smalls Smoke Shack, home of the St. Louis P Parada-style ribs—one of the country’s most-essential barbecued items to try—is reinventing itself. Joaquin Soler closed the tiny Filipino-influenced barbecue restaurant about two weeks ago, reported Chicago. He’s readying a new restaurant, which should open within the month, and will serve more traditional Filipino items which feature Soler’s tasty smoked meats.

While Soler toys with changing the restaurant’s name, he did tell the magazine that the new place will incorporate the meat and three format, a throwback to cafeteria-style eating. This ensures items will travel well, as dining inside Smalls’ cramped quarters is often a challenge. Those in the know take their food next door to Lizard’s Liquid Lounge.

There’s definitely an increased interest in Filipino food in Chicago, home of one of the biggest Pinoy populations in America. The surge in popularity could be, in part, due to Filipino companies like Jollibee and Seafood City opening eateries in the area. Soler acknowledges more customers seem interested in food from the Philippines.

But Smalls’ food goes beyond the island nation, serving bibimbap and other items with rotating specials. Expect to see pancit and other items when they reopen.

Check back for more on the new Smalls in the coming weeks.


4009 N Albany Ave, Chicago, IL 60618 (312) 857-4221 Visit Website