Coming from Georgia to Ohio, I did not expect to find great barbecue–and no, Montgomery Inn does not count (sorry, not sorry, Cincinnatians). But I was introduced to Eli’s last year, and it meets this southerner’s standards for excellent barbecue. It’s a bit out of the way on Riverside Drive, but worth the trip. The first time I went I was cursing Siri because I thought she had taken me to the wrong destination. I did not expect a restaurant to be built inside an old house. However you will know you are in the right place when you see the black pig sign hanging in the front.
I’ve had the ribs before, and the pulled pork, but on this trip I decided to try Eli’s hot dogs. According to the menu, the hot dogs are first smoked on the machine pictured above, then they are quickly deep fried, and finally they are cooked on the griddle. After all that, the hot dogs are dressed with coleslaw, barbecue sauce, and crispy pieces of pork. It’s quite decadent. Good coleslaw in the North too, who would have thought? I ate absolutely everything you see below. The mashed potatoes were so-so, but the baked beans were excellent –smoky and spicy at the same time.
Eli’s was planning on opening a restaurant on Vine Street but decided against it as they did not want to affect the quality of the business. While I’m a little disappointed that there won’t be a closer location, I’d choose to have consistently great food at the old location any day.
Seating is indoors and outdoors, and every once in a while they have free live music. Check out the Eli’s menu here. Sandwiches are only $5, and a plate (sandwich+ 2 sides) is only $8. And they only take cash!