Like all legendary restaurants, Hecky’s has a secret. With a motto like, “It’s the sauce,” you can imagine what it is. The infamously tasty barbecue sauce used by this suburban hot spot comes from an old New Orleans recipe handed down from owner Hecky Powell’s Creole grandmother. Since 1983 Hecky’s has dished up some of Chicagoland’s best ribs and barbecue. Full- and half-slabs of regular and baby back ribs, rib tips (including a “snack pak” size), and barbecued and fried chicken dominate the menu, which also includes sandwiches. As appropriate for any barbecue, don’t pass up tasty sides like cole slaw, red beans and rice, baked beans, macaroni and cheese, green, cornbread and corn on the cob. Peach cobbler provides the sweetest finish, assuming you have room.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Kate Schwartz