Over two years, D’Andre Carter has transformed his barbecue business Soul & Smoke from a fledgling suburban food truck to one of the most sought-after spots in the city for tender spare ribs, juicy pulled pork, and smoky rib tips. That evolution reached new heights in June when Carter unveiled a new dine-in outpost at Rockwell on the River — an expansive event space that also houses Metropolitan Brewing, Judson & Moore distillery, and Metropolis Coffee Co. at 3057 N. Rockwell Street.
The neighborhood is familiar ground for Soul & Smoke. In 2021, Carter opened a to-go-only ghost kitchen on Spaulding Avenue — the new counter service outpost allows fans and newcomers to get facetime with the team (an impossibility with takeout and delivery) and enjoy sweeping views of the Chicago River.
The first tenant to offer food inside Rockwell on the River, Soul & Smoke has also used the space to introduce Beer for the Soul, a Belgian pale ale created in partnership with suburban beer maker Sketchbook Brewing. The Avondale ghost kitchen closed with the launch of the Rockwell restaurant, which is now the business’ sole hub in the neighborhood for pickup, delivery, and catering.
Carter opened Soul & Smoke’s first to-go location in Evanston during the early stages of the pandemic and quickly garnered a following for both his smoked meats and good works: over the years, he’s partnered with José Andrés’s charity World Central Kitchen (WCK) to feed underserved Chicagoans and first responders; participated in WCK’s initiative to bring free food to voters near especially busy polling places, and donating a portion of profits from his bottled barbecue sauce to families in need. Meanwhile, he’s also snagged a residency at the mammoth food hall, Time Out Market Chicago, in Fulton Market.
Look around inside the red-hot barbecue spot in the photos below.