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Myron Mixon's First Chicago BBQ Spot Opens In June In Wrigleyville

By Ariel Cheung | May 25, 2016 5:45am | Updated on May 26, 2016 10:33am
 Smoke Show BBQ will feature an interior designed by Frank Fontana when it opens in June at 3801 N. Clark St.
Smoke Show BBQ will feature an interior designed by Frank Fontana when it opens in June at 3801 N. Clark St.
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Provided/Frank Fontana

WRIGLEYVILLE — Break out the bibs, because the winningest man in barbecue is firing up his grill in Wrigleyville next month.

Myron Mixon, the brash star of Destination America's "BBQ Pitmasters" show and a barbecue legend, is coming to town to open up shop.

Mixon's Smoke Show Barbecue will open at 3801 N. Clark St. — the old Piano Man location— in late June, bringing his world-class barbecue to Chicago for the first time.

"Not knocking anybody in Chicago right now, but the barbecue they've got is not like what we've got," Mixon said. "I'm not a Johnny-come-lately barbecuer. I was born and raised in it."

The world champion barbecue chef has the credentials to back up his claim to Chicago's barbecue throne. Mixon most recently captured his fourth world championship in Memphis earlier this month, adding it to 20 years of trophies and almost 200 grand championships.

While Mixon is keeping most of Smoke Show's menu under wraps before the opening, he promised his beloved cupcake chicken will be in the Wrigleyville restaurant.

Renovations have begun inside 3801 N. Clark St., where "BBQ Pitmasters" star Myron Mixon will partner on Smoke Show Barbecue. [DNAinfo/Ariel Cheung]

"The menu will be all mine," Mixon said. Many of the entrees and sides will be adapted from recipes Mixon created for his cookbooks and cooking classes.

The restaurant will have a "dramatic feel" of Chicago grit meshing with Southern charm, said designer Frank Fontana.

The 4,500-square-foot venue will seat almost 200 people, with 40 tables, three large booths and a bar area, he said. Fontana used distressed wood and bricks from the Clark Street building in the restaurant's design.

Central to the eatery will be three of Mixon's high-grade smokers, Mixon said.

"We want it to be very in line with what's going on in Wrigley, but have that feel of a warm welcome, put-your-feet-up Southern hospitality," said Fontana, host of HGTV's "Design on a Dime."

Mixon said he's looking forward to attending Smoke Show's grand opening and sharing his barbecue with Cubs fans and Wrigley neighbors. 

It's a new venture for Mixon, whose father handed down family secrets and started Mixon's grilling education when Mixon was 9 years old.

Myron Mixon (center) won his fourth world championship earlier this month ahead of opening Smoke Show Barbecue in Lakeview in June. [Provided/Dwight Badger]

"I thought everybody had to do this growing up, but apparently not," Mixon said with a laugh. "I was kind of born to do this — it's my heritage."

Don't expect Mixon to live by the "low and slow" rule of thumb either — a motto he declares to be for amateurs. "Hot and fast" can be just as delicious, but it all depends on the seasonings, applying sauces at the right times and knowing just the right time to take the meat off the grill, he said.

"It's not just turning the knob on and walking off," Mixon said. "That's half-assed barbecue. You have to do the best you can every time."

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