Eli’s Barbecue,  Riverside, Cincinnati, OH

I had the good fortune of eating at Eli’s on Riverside today, and was not disappointed. The menu is not fussy and the food is good. The basics are pulled pork and sliced turkey sandwiches, ribs, and hotdogs. The hotdogs struck me as weird then I reminded myself,  we’re in Cincinnati,  however they are serving all beef hotdogs which to me is a touch of blasphemy in Porkopolis.

The pulled pork came with a splash of their one and only sauce,  a reasonably thick red with a gentle kick. What we liked about the pork and the ribs is that neither was overly sugar coated. The pork was peppery, but not biting with cayenne or black, I presume the majority was white pepper. Whatever the mix, it is good. 

The ribs had a unique flavor. I kind of think it’s poultry seasoning, or at least a healthy dose of thyme and sage. They are dry rubbed and super tender; we highly recommend the ribs and pork, though no one tried the turkey. 

I and my son give the beans 2 thumbs up. They are fully savory and the cumin is a defining spice. We highly recommend them. The slaw was good, I’ve had better and I’ve had worse, again not heavy on the sugar which I appreciate, but certainly creamy and crunchy. The macaroni and cheese was not my jam,  as my son likes to say these days. It seems some joints want to try to make a nostalgic take on, with their own twist, of Stouffer’s mac and cheese, but they should all stop and just make good mac and cheese. This tasted like it had a sharp white cheddar, but had that gooey, starchy consistency of underwhelming freezer aisle mac. I say pass, unless of course, that is your jam. Wish I had tasted the jalapeno cheese grits instead. Mashed potatoes are also on the menu. I didn’t even consider them, never seen such a thing at a bbq restaurant. I fund that offering a bit odd. 

The atmosphere is good,  lots of drawings on the wall, of local Cincinnati celebrities and sports folks, among others, and Star Wars characters. Some antiques in the window and a record player spinning LPs. Today it was bluegrass covers of Metallica, but there was a bin full of records for staff to play.  There is a small inside dining room and a lot of picnic tables outside under a roof. We would definitely mane return trips to Eli’s. They have 4 locations, I recommend you try one. 

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