Meat lovers might be excited to know a rib and burger joint with branches across London is opening a restaurant in Croydon’s Boxpark.
Chicago Rib Shack is due to launch at the pop-up food and drink mall in early February although an exact date is to be confirmed. There are currently five Chicago Meat Shacks – in Clapham, Stratford, Aldgate East, Twickenham and Leeds.
Established in 1985 in Knightsbridge, Chicago Rib Shack serves up thickly coated barbecue ribs, plus burgers, lamb and chicken. Vegetarians and vegans aren’t left out either – there’s a barbecue jackfruit burger and a Cajun bean patty. If you love your fries loaded then you have a choice of five varieties including “Dirty” with cheese and gravy, and McFly with fried chicken, spicy sauce, fried egg and ranch dressing. Ribs are prepared using a secret dry spice rub and then smoked over applewood. They are then glazed to order with your choice or barbecue or spicy sauce. From the rib selection you might choose Baby Back Ribs described as lean and lightly dry smoked, or beef ribs, which have been smoked for 18 hours with a dry herb rub and described as “tender and weighty”. Perhaps you might go for the St Louis ribs or ribs and wings.
Those who fancy mixing things up can order three small plates for £15 – you can choose from chicken wings, chicken strips, pulled pork spring rolls and spiced potato cakes. Beefburgers include the Big Mic with bacon, American cheese, shaved pickle, iceberg lettuce and a secret sauce. You can wash it all down with a milkshake – including alcoholic “hard shakes”, a float made from a fizzy drink and ice cream, classic American craft beer, cocktail or homemade ice tea or lemonade. There’s a kids’ menu too.
Chicago Rib Shack executive chef Michel Djunga said: “Every morning I wake up I can’t wait to check the quality of our ribs and fresh steak mince for our burgers. I take the delivery personally and prepare the top secret recipe of the herbs and spices that we first rub into the meat prior to cooking. I then leave this to marinate whilst I prepare our home-made barbecue and spicy sauces. I think what sets us apart from other restaurants is that I use my grandmothers influence in the spices, we only use the very best meat suppliers, and our ribs are the most tender in the country.”
The Croydon Boxpark branch will be the first of three new proposed branches due to open this year and the first of Chicago Rib Shack’s new-look venues. It will feature long central tables for sharing, booth seating and tables and chairs too and finishes of riverted steel, timber, Metro tiles, metal meshing, vibrant colours and displays in cages. Spokesman Alex Rayner described what you will be able to expect from the surroundings when you walk inside. He said: “Chicago Rib Shack Boxpark is going to redefine the fun and excitement of the diner experience. Not only amazing, fresh, authentic ribs, burgers, sides and excellent veggie options, but an incredible all-round drinking and dining experience. Iconic artwork on the walls will create a real ‘theatre of food’. Our bar will have milkshakes on tap, craft beers and authentic American pinball machines. Street art and vintage style posters will adorn the open-plan kitchen where you will see our lovingly marinated and spice rubbed ribs getting the VIP charcoal cooking treatment.”