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Inside Carson’s Ribs New Riverside Location, a Revamp of an Old Favorite

Carson’s new location opens on Friday after 41 years

Carson’s in Streeterville
Barry Brecheisen
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.

It’s a new era for Carson’s, The Place For Ribs, as the restaurant has moved from its flagship location in River North to a riverside location in Streeterville, a short walk from Navy Pier. The new location opens on Friday, and owner Dean Carson feels the riverside space will wow loyal diners. For 41 years, Carson’s has served baby back pork ribs and thrived with a bustling carry out operation. Now there’s more reason to dine in.

Carson knows Chicago’s restaurant scene has changed over the four decades and his restaurant was in need of a face lift. That’s why they’ve taken over the prime restaurant space that’s been vacant for two years at 465 E. Illinois Street. They’ve remodeled the space the once housed Quay.

While the River North Carson’s was a dark den, reminiscent of a cavernous steakhouse, the new location welcomes sunlight. The windows along the riverfront open up so diners can watch boats pass by. A modern white-topped bar greets customers with white leather chairs. Hopefully they’re resistant to barbecue stains. There’s also a fancy fireplace in the middle of the space.

Walk through the photos below. While other Chicago pit masters have been around longer, Carson’s — with its multiple locations — deserves credit for making ribs more popular in the city. Check out the restaurant’s next chapter starting on Friday.

The familiar Carson’s logo, now on brick.
The bar is wide enough to enjoy a slab of ribs.
The old photographs and autographs from the River North location have made its way to Streeterville.
Let’s hope barbecue sauce doesn’t stain those white seats.
The space, with its white tablecloths, chairs, and walls, is brighter than the old location.
The fireplace warms both sides of the restaurant.
The former tenant’s old carpet has been replaced with hardwood floors.
The view from the rear of the main dining room.
The back table is reserved for larger groups.
Diners have a view.
Wave to the boats.
The booths are stacked next to the exposed brick wall.
The windows do swing out.
The curtains reveal a private dining space.

Carson's, The Place For Ribs

465 E. Illinois Street, Chicago, IL 312-280-9200 Visit Website