Ike’s BBQ Is Rib Royalty

The delicious barbecue at these two restaurants is a family affair.
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PHOTOGRAPH BY LANCE ADKINS

The list of rib royalty in Cincinnati has two names. One is that guy with that round restaurant on the river. And the other is Ike. At 87, Ike Ervin is still serving up spare ribs on Woodburn Avenue in Evanston. So is the owner of the new Ike’s on Plainfield related to him? Yes, Ike’s son, Kirk, runs it.

And does this new Ike’s have all the stuff? Yep. Everyone will tell you there’s only one thing you should get on this menu because it’s the absolute best, but that one thing is different for every person. For some it’s the ribs, hot from the smoker. For others, it’s the fried whiting or catfish with fries. And then there are those who say it’s the fried or barbecued chicken. And I had more than one person tell me it’s the mac and cheese.

But here’s what’s really the best: It’s the plain old white bread. Kirk lays down a few slices, plops dripping ribs on top so the sauce gets sponged up and that bread just melts through your fingers. Ike’s sauce is a little bit sweet, a little bit hot, and a lot unbelievable. Turns that bread into its own food group.

You can always get the tender collards, coleslaw with a hint of horseradish, sweet baked beans, or even a plain old salad. But on Sundays, they kind of go crazy with specials—pintos, cabbage, candied yams, even Ike’s famous peach cobbler. Wait, the peach cobbler is really the best thing.

Ike’s, 6966 Plainfield Rd., Silverton, (513) 407-8228

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