The owners of Lockdown Bar & Grill, the popular burger restaurant and bar across from the Empty Bottle in Ukrainian Village, over the weekend quietly debuted their new barbecue restaurant next door. For now, Lockdown Smoked, The Joint Next Door, is open only on weekends serving ribs and meats from pitmaster Paul Samojluk. Samojluk has been entering local barbecue contests and hosting pop-ups over the last couple of years.
The space has room for 10 seats and was previously used for the original Lockdown’s to-go operations. It’s got a separate kitchen, but hasn’t been used in about eight months, said Lockdown GM Tiffany Kane. Lockdown first opened that space in 2014. Patrons can bring its food into the original Lockdown space, sidewalk, or new back patio.
Samojluk won over Lockdown co-owner Peter “P.J.” Zonis with food served at a pop-up held at the dearly-departed Anologue. On Lockdown Smoked’s Facebook page, it points to pitmaster Myron Mixon has an influence. Mixon, who teaches students from his Georgia estate, opened a restaurant last year in Wrigleyville. Samojluk took classes there in 2010, and went on to form Top Shelf BBQ and entered competitions. It’s been his dream, like many on the barbecue circuit, to open his own restaurant. He also makes homemade cake balls, Paul’s Balls.
While Mixon’s restaurant hasn’t won over critics on Clark Street, Kane said Samojluk’s food will give the area a delicious and rare option for smoked meats in the neighborhood. Kane said the menu (see below) will be tweaked. Right now it has baby back ribs, brisket, and pulled pork. The brisket and pulled pork can also come as sandwiches. Photos on Facebook show the meat prepared in a Big Green Egg smoker.
There’s hope that they’ll eventually open six days a week, but those plans are fluid, said Kane. Take a look at the menu below, and start making those plans on the weekend for some barbecue along Western Avenue.
Lockdown Smoked Meats, The Joint Next Door, 1022 N. Western Ave., (773) 451-5625, open 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday; 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday