The 2024 Workplace: Elevating Experiences with Food

Complete with the latest 2024 employee survey data and trends, this guide is designed to help you transform your workplace into one that resonates with the expectations and values of today’s modern workforce.

Blackwood BBQ

How many times have you dreamt about opening a restaurant with a few of your closest friends? That’s exactly what the folks behind Blackwood BBQ did – and they’re killing it. From humble beginnings smoking brisket in a small storefront to three bustling restaurants and a thriving catering business, there’s no denying the passion these friends have for sharing BBQ with Chicago foodies. We caught up with one of the owners to get the story behind Blackwood BBQ and learn what keeps the hungry lunch crowd coming back for more.

What’s the story behind Blackwood BBQ? When did you open?

We opened Blackwood BBQ a little over five years ago. It started with local group of friends that loved BBQ. We had all worked different jobs in the food industry and we came together to open the business. We started with a small storefront on Lake and Franklin and have opened two other locations since then.

What would you say is your best-selling dish?

Our best seller is definitely the brisket; it’s sit down quality in a quick service setting. We bring in whole brisket, trim it by hand, and smoke it for 15 hours at a time.

What’s your personal favorite dish?

I love the pulled pork and the St. Louis style ribs.

What inspired the menu at Blackwood BBQ?

All of the recipes at Blackwood BBQ were created by one of the owners, Tony Ward. He’s had a long career as a chef. The driving force behind the menu was to create a regional BBQ experience without pigeonholing it to one type. We give people the greatest breadth of BBQ with six different styles from North Carolina to Kansas City. We even have a Chicago style sauce that’s simmered with Old Style.

Why do you think Fooda consumers voted you best lunch in Chicago?

I think it’s both the quality of the product and our customer service. We don’t just want our food to differentiate us. We serve BBQ with a smile and create an experience.

What food trends are you seeing in Chicago, if any?

People want to explore the world of cuisine and do it with ease. Fooda allows people to experience food from all over the world right in their office lobby. I think convenience is a big trend right now.

Do you have any exciting plans for Blackwood BBQ in the near future?

We’re looking to expand into a couple of spots in the next year or two. In the short term, we’re rolling out a seasonal potato salad. We still have corn beef until the end of April and then we’ll have a new protein special in May.

Sounds delicious. Can you guys cook for a crowd?

Check out our catering menu. It’s different than what we offer with Fooda and in the restaurant. We do more than BBQ.

Fooda consumers voted Blackwood BBQ the best lunch in Chicago. Stop by one of their three locations to get a taste of the famous smoked brisket everyone’s talking about!