WRIGLEYVILLE — Talk about pouring it on thick — it being barbecue sauce, that is.
Local barbecue chain Sweet Baby Ray's is setting up shop in Wrigleyville this spring at 3478 N. Clark St., making it the third sweet-sauced joint to pop up in the neighborhood in six months.
Sweet Baby Ray's is different, said Dylan Lipe, the restaurant's director of food and beverage, because it's based on competition barbecue that provides a sampling of different regional styles, from Memphis and North Carolina to Texas and Kansas City.
And why pack into Wrigleyville?
Wrigley Field is "a great Chicago tradition," said Lipe, who will be the Clark Street location's pitmaster. "And so is Sweet Baby Ray's."
Fittingly, the group plans to open the new location — it's first in the city — by Opening Day, when the Cubs play the Milwaukee Brewers on April 8. The menu will be different from the locations in suburban Elk Grove and Wood Dale, Lipe said.
Lipe is a classically trained chef who started with barbecue about six years ago with Sweet Baby Ray's' competition team. He'd grown up with barbecue, and for him, it signals comfort and a return to his Carbondale roots.
"There's something to be said for a food that takes 10, 12 or 14 hours of care to be finished," Lipe said. "Barbecue is something that speaks to people at more than just a food level."