Photograph by Ryan Kurtz
Just a stone’s throw from the Ohio River, Eli’s Barbeque feels like a family reunion where the only shared DNA is a love for smoked meat. Eli’s can hardly handle its own popularity: the line of patrons regularly extends out the front door and overflows into the side yard, filling plenty of picnic tables. Though it only opened in January 2012, the swift success came as no surprise to owner Elias Leisring. “We always had a pretty good line at events,” he says. “People said, ‘Wow this is so good, where’s your restaurant?’” The ribs are cooked to smoky perfection, which can get intense when combined with Eli’s dark and smoky sauce. The beans are hearty, the coleslaw sweet-n-tangy, and the jalapeño cheese grits are the bomb. But the real star of the show is the pulled pork: smoked and hand-pulled with just a touch of crispiness at the edges. Eat it plain or slather it with sauce and let it soak right into the soft, buttery buns. Pure deliciousness. With all that and a root beer, barbecue fans have no excuse but to go home fat and happy.
3313 Riverside Dr., East End, (513) 533-1957, elisbarbeque.com