Chef Charlie McKenna (formerly the sous chef at Tru and Avenues) opened Lillie’s Q restaurant in July 2010 specializing in award-winning competition BBQ, Southern favorites and sides in Bucktown as a homage to his family’s deep cooking roots. McKenna has competed on the competition BBQ circuit with his father and friends the last 10 years, and the team won the prestigious Memphis In May BBQ competition in 2007 in the whole pork shoulder category and placed in Top Ten every year from 2006 through 2010 and finished 12th in 2011. McKenna opened an outpost of Lillie’s Q in Destin, FL, with his parents in 2008. At Lillie’s Q in Chicago, McKenna is smoking pork shoulder for pulled pork, tri-tip, baby back ribs, and chicken in two custom built smokers over peach wood and lump charcoal. McKenna began cooking Southern favorites and sides with grandma Lillie and his mother at an early age and those standouts make their way onto the Lillie’s Q menu via shrimp & grits, pimiento cheese, fried pickles, boiled peanuts, Brunswick stew, baked beans, macaroni & cheese and banana pudding. Lillie’s Q features moonshine-based specialty cocktails (like the “Morning Lillie” that’s a play on a Bloody Mary and the “M&M&M” that’s a mint julep riff), 10 All-American craft drafts and a rotating selection of All-American craft bottled beers. In December of 2014, Charlie opened up a Lillie's Q in Brea, California with restaurateur Joe Manzella of TAPS Fish House & Brewery and The Catch Restaurant fame.
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