New Vernon Hills barbecue joint hits the spot with customers
Vernon Hills-7/29/12, Sun./Real Urban Barbecue Gina Booth, General Manager of Real Urban Barbecue shows off the Hungry Home Recker, a 7 pound BBQ sandwich to a patron ordering thier food Sunday at Real Urban Barbecue. | Joe Shuman~Sun-Times Media
NAME: Real Urban
SPECIALTY: Menu includes ribs, pulled pork, brisket, turkey, sausage, chicken and sandwiches and features homemade BBQ sauces
LOCATION: Vernon Hills Town Center, 1260 S. Milwaukee Ave., Vernon Hills
HOURS: Mon.-Thurs., 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Fri. and Sat., 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
CONTACT: www.realurbanbbq.com or call (847) 613-1227
Updated: September 10, 2012 6:10AM
VERNON HILLS -- People are waiting in line to get a taste of barbecue ribs, chicken, brisket and other items at Vernon Hill’s newest barbecue restaurant.
Real Urban Barbecue opened in mid-July at the Vernon Hills Town Center shopping center at the northwest corner of Milwaukee Avenue and Route 45. Despite being open a short time, is already a hit.
“We’re already at capacity in terms of how much barbecue we can produce on a daily basis,” said Jeff Shapiro, owner of Real Urban Barbecue. He estimates the restaurant goes through between 1,400 to 1,500 pounds of meat on an average day.
The Vernon Hills restaurant is Real Urban Barbecue’s second location. The first Real Urban Barbecue, sometimes referred to by customers as RUB, opened in downtown Highland Park in 2010, and Shapiro decided to open a second location because of the success of that restaurant. The Highland Park location has been frequented by area celebrities such as Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau, Chicago Bears player Chris Williams, and former Chicago Bulls player B.J. Armstrong.
“We’ve got a got a good fan base out there,” said Shapiro.
A soft opening for the Vernon Hills restaurant was held on July 16 and the restaurant celebrated its grand opening weekend July 27-29. The grand opening weekend included a ribbon-cutting ceremony by Vernon Hills officials and local business leaders on July 27, and there was a live radio broadcast by The Score AM 670 radio station on July 28 with giveaways, games and other activities.
Real Urban Barbecue’s menu features slow-smoked items like ribs, pulled pork, turkey, brisket and chicken, slowly rotated on Cookshack smokers, and featuring homemade barbecue sauces.
Shapiro said all of their sauces are original in-house recipes. Sauces include the original sauce, a sweet and tangy sauce along the lines of Sweet Baby Ray’s; a Texas-style sauce, which is more of a bolder, hot sauce; a Piedmont sauce, a vinegar-based sauce; and a mustard sauce, made with different types of mustard.
“Every sauce has it own meat that it goes the best with,” he said.
Entrees also include a choice of 16 different side items. Popular side dishes include golden corn bake (warm corn bread), sweet potato souffle, balsamic glazed green beans and smoked baked beans.
The restaurant also offers barbecue sandwiches, as well as soups and salads. Refreshments include soft drinks, beer and flavored teas.
Several customers who visited the Real Urban Barbecue in Vernon Hills were impressed by the quality of the food.
“It was very delicious and fresh,” said Sherri Thomas of Vernon Hills, who went to lunch there for the first time with friend Dorothy Carter of Vernon Hills. Thomas tried the pulled pork along with sides of sweet potato souffle and cranberry bread pudding.
“I think it stands up to any barbecue place around here,” said Carter. “I like the variety of sauces and like the variety of sides too.”
Mary Ann Giannetti of Libertyville stopped at the restaurant in Vernon Hills for lunch and had the mini-sandwiches of brisket and pulled pork.
“The best part about it is eating it,” said Giannetti, with a laugh. “It’s very tasty, not dry.”
For customers with a particularly hearty appetite, the restaurant also offers a nearly 7-pound “Hungry Home-Wrecker Throwback Sandwich.” The sandwich’s huge bun is topped with 1.5 pounds of house-smoked andouille sausage, 2 pounds of pulled pork, and is layered with Texas hot sauce, a pint of coleslaw and six ounces of the restaurant’s “Brain Buster” pickles.
Shapiro said about 50 people at the Highland Park restaurant have tried the challenge to eat the entire sandwich at a single sitting and seven people so far at Vernon Hills but so far “nobody has conquered it yet.”