Monday, October 25, 2010

Ole' Hardwood Opens in the South Loop

Ole' Hardwood: The Gastro-Smokehouse at 1351 S.Wabash Ave. is open for business. The new South Loop restaurant opened three days ago in the space formally occupied by Utopia.  

Ole' Hardwood at 1351 S. Wabash Ave.

My friend Elizabeth and I stopped in to check out the new space so I could take some photographs to post on this blog. We weren't planning on eating there, but General Manager, Alexander Carlin invited us in. It was hard to refuse such an offer and I'm happy to report we didn't. According to the restaurant's Web site, "Ole Hardwood is a Gastro-Smokehouse combining traditional styles of barbecue, meat smoking, and wood plank cooking in a contemporary setting . . ."

A half slab of oak wood-pork "St Louis-Cut" ribs with a side of buttermilk onion strings

After we were seated, sweet potato chips were delivered to our table. You may eat the chips plain or dip them in three different dipping sauces provided. As an appetizer, we ordered the fried okra with cucumber-dill yogurt sauce. The okra was fresh-tasting and remarkably non-greasy.

Since smoked ribs are a big part of the menu items offered, we decided on the oak wood-pork "St Louis-Cut" ribs with a side order of buttermilk onion strings. The ribs were moist, tender, and falling off the bone...and most importantly delicious. The onion strings, like the okra, were light and not at all greasy.

Grilled bananas, chocolate ganache, peanut butter crumble and bacon ice cream!

For dessert, we ordered the grilled bananas (at the recommendation of our server) with chocolate ganache, and peanut butter crumble and bacon ice cream. Yes, I said peanut butter crumble and bacon ice cream. It sounds like an odd combination, but it compliments the fried bananas and when topped with chocolate ganache, how can you go wrong?

If you're interested in finding out more about this new addition to the South Loop, including their menu, check out their Web site by clicking here.


  1. I agree with your review! The food is excellent and a welcome addition to the South Loop. I'm looking forward to many returns!

  2. The food was delicious and the staff is friendly and gave great service. I will be back. Elizabeth

  3. Glad to see they got their menu up on the website.

  4. So excited that they have vegetarian options, too. Hooray!

  5. Thank you so much for coming in! Can't wait to have you back. Don't forget about my free wine tasting friday's at 4pm.

    Alexander Carlin
    General Manager Ole Hardwood

  6. I can't believe the RedEye ignored dessert in their recent review...the grilled banana with chocolate ganache and peanut butter crumble bacon ice cream was awesome.

  7. Check out this story by Carson Krislov:,_short-lived_South_Loop_BBQ

  8. The Chicago Journal piece you referenced was linked in my most recent post "Ole; Hardwood Fire Deemed Incendiary." The Journal article is well worth reading. I'm sure they'll be more on this story in the near future.


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