For meat lovers, BBQ lovers, beer lovers, and lovers of life, Mitte’s Chicago Williams BBQ should definitely be on your list of places to eat out.
My fascination with American BBQ started with the Travel Channel’s Man v. Food, a TV show where corpulent comedian Adam Richmond eats his way across America’s favourite pig-out hotspots. It’s food-porn. Watch it. It’ll make you hungry, or horny, or both.
There’s something truly special about taking a cheaper cut of meat, like ribs, and giving it love, attention, and 24 hours in a smoke-house, to produce something world-class. It’s not fine dining but it tastes good, has heart, and who needs a knife and fork anyway?
Chicago Williams BBQ began with a pilgrimage to America. Over a two week period, the team ate at three or four different BBQ eateries a day, sampling some of the continent’s best fayre, sourcing inspiration for their own restaurant back home. On 19th November 2012, Chicago Williams BBQ opened its doors.
When I heard about a BBQ shack right here in the Hauptstadt, I said goodbye to my family and went in search of meat.
Chicago Williams BBQ is situated in Mitte, but don’t let that put you off. I didn’t reserve a table and when I got inside the place was full and buzzing. Luckily, we were seated at a long wooden table alongside another group of happy carnivores. At Chicago Williams BBQ, sharing is caring.
Each guest is treated to a small cup of complimentary corn chowder. It’s warm, creamy, and surprisingly delicious. The bar stocks an interesting range of beers – strong and hoppy German ales that really fit in with the American theme, and demonstrate how the US’s craft beer revolution is making its mark on Berlin. Ask the guys at the bar for recommendations – their enthusiasm for the beers make them taste even better.
The menu consists of American BBQ classics, such as BBQ ribs, beef brisket and pulled pork; famous US sandwiches such as the Reuben (pastrami) and the Philly Cheese Steak; and, last but not least, the sides, including creamy mashed potatoes and gravy, homemade BBQ baked beans, and coleslaw. Most people around me opted for the meat platters, where you get to choose three types of meat from the BBQ menu and one side for a set price per person. One table, in a moment of BBQ meat frenzy, ordered a super platter with every type of meat available. Lucky bastards.
After much deliberation, we ordered the more conservative platter of ribs, pastrami, and sausages, with coleslaw and baked beans. We weren’t left waiting long, but I was hungry and excited. The illustration of a cow butcher’s chart on the wall started to look delicious. Whilst I waited, I sampled the two homemade BBQ sauces: one hot, one not. Both sweet and smoky. The hot one is fiery and torched my taste buds off long before the food even arrived.
The ribs are sensational. They’re sweet, sticky and fall off the bone. After eating them, I can really see why God chose those particular morsels to construct Eve out of. Heaven.
The whole meal was great and, whilst eating, I had the realisation that everything there can be broken down into two taste categories: meaty and sweet. The rich, meatiness of the flame-licked ribs and the sweet smokiness of the BBQ sauce. The salty, savoury pastrami and the sugar-laden coleslaw. In the case of the baked beans, they were both meaty and sweet due to the thick molasses sauce and the chunks of pork within. But after a while you realise it’s okay, and perhaps they’re the only food groups that actually matter.
Photo courtesy of Brent Riddell
It’s worth mentioning that the service at Chicago Williams BBQ is excellent. From the free starter, to the banter at the bar, to the round of Jägermeisters that suddenly appeared on everyone’s tables, the staff are an absolute joy. In fact, when I wasn’t licking BBQ sauce off my fingers, I was answering high-fives from the waiter as he refreshed my beer with another delicious recommendation.
Is Chicago Williams BBQ an authentic taste of America? I’m not too sure. Whilst I don’t think you’d find strips of pastrami on the same plate as BBQ ribs in Kansas City, Chicago Williams BBQ is an excellent place to get a little taste of some of America’s best flavours.
Sadly, I’ve never made my pilgrimage across the Atlantic to experience the real thing and, on a part-time blogger’s wage, I probably won’t get to do so for a while (the wage, for those interested, is 10¢ cents per Facebook like… so get liking). For this reason, I can’t wait to go back to Chicago Williams BBQ to try the brisket and the pulled pork.
Chicago Williams BBQ. Berlin loves you.
Chicago Williams BBQ
Hannoversche Str 2
Nearest Station: Oranienburger Tor