Sunday, September 15, 2013

eli's bbq

Hello, gluten-free friendees!

A couple weeks ago, Scott & I tried Eli's BBQ on Eastern Avenue for the first time.  It's a pinkish, unassuming building with a couple white tents off to the left.  The first time you see the tents, at first glance, it almost looks like a family reunion is going on.  It's just so cozy.

You might not know Eli's by name, but if you're in the Cincinnati area, you've probably seen their pig sign.

Inside is a funky, eclectic mix: a record player, alphabetized records, and currently a display of artwork of historical figures that has a very Western feel.
They get out into the city a LOT.  Here's their weekly schedule of appearances:
The menu is written on the wall, and the place is cash or checks only (or Reds tickets) -- no cards!!  Here are close-ups of their menu items, for your viewing pleasure.  
So, if you're gluten free, what can you have?
  • They call the hickory-smoked pulled pork without a bun "pork-with-a-fork".  Cole slaw comes on it free of charge, if you'd like.  
  • The cole slaw, jalapeno cheddar cheese grits, and mashed potatoes -- which are mashed then fried on the grill* -- are the safe side items.  
  • $5 buys a sandwich, $8 buys a sandwich & 2 sides.  
*Nothing gluten-containing is cooked on that grill.  

The BBQ sauce and baked beans are not gluten-free at this time; both have some soy sauce.  A manager informed us that they are working on changing to a wheat-free soy sauce.  (I'll update when I know this has been implemented.)

The drinks available are Mexican Coke (with real sugar), Orange Crush (with real sugar), and Ale 8 One, all in 16-ounce glass bottles.  Diet Coke is in cans.

They're very easy going.  We were told there are customers who bring in drinks, vegetarian pizzas, salads, their own barbecue sauce -- the list goes on!  

When you order, you can choose to sit inside or out.  If you eat in, you're handed a little pig sign stuck inside a glass Coke bottle.
The food was awesome.  Here's my meal: pork-with-a-fork topped with yummy (onion-free) cole slaw, mashed potatoes, cheddar cheese grits, and a Mexican Coke.  Hiding behind my paper is Scott's sandwich-topping cole slaw that he requested on the side.
They're all about eating local.  The restaurant got its start at Findlay Market about 10 years ago.  Now it's really "where the music, the FOOD, and the people simmer together and create a great atmosphere."  In June of this year, Eli's was named to Travel & Leisure's "America's Best New BBQ".

Basically it's our new favorite barbecue joint.  That's saying a lot.  As in, when we have a big catered event, they'll be at the very top of our list.  That yummy.  And I'm hoping that writing this post means we'll go again this week!

Happy eating :)

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