Twin Anchors

Review by: Michael Stern

With its wood-paneled basement rec-room decor, Twin Anchors is a piece of neighborhood culture that is pure Chicago — Frank Sinatra’s hangout when he came to town, and the place that was transformed into “O’Reilly’s Italian Restaurant” for the Bonnie Hunt melodrama Return to Me.

There is a full menu of steaks, chicken and sandwiches, but foodies have staked out this place for just one reason: ribs. They are baby backs, succulent beyond description, tender enough that teeth are optional to eat them, and basted with a wonderful “zesty sauce” that is just hot enough to tease even more sweet pork flavor from the meat. (Mild sauce is also an option.) For the record, this type of rib is significantly different from the spare ribs commonly offered in soul food barbecues, the latter being larger, denser, and a good exercise for healthy dentition. We would not call Twin Anchor ribs soulful; but we would definitely say they’re delicious.

The place dates back to the early part of the 20th century, when it was a soda pop store (i.e. speakeasy) during Prohibition, then christened “Twin Anchors” in 1932 by a proprietor who had twin sons whom he considered his anchors to reality. Today the walls are festooned with nautical nick-nacks and abundant pictures of the Chairman of the Board.

What To Eat

Baby Back Ribs


Twin Anchors Recipes


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