It’d be easy to drive right past the tiny brick building painted blue in Albany Park that houses smalls. smoke shack, unless you have your windows down, in which case you’ll stop, unable to resist the alluring scent. There’s not a bad dish on the menu. There’s not even an okay dish—it’s all great, from standards like beef brisket and fried chicken to specialties like Filipino BBQ pork and curried cauliflower… it’s tough to choose which favorite to order, but once you do, sit next door at Lizard’s Liquid Lounge and have a drink while you wait. Then kick yourself for loving smalls. so much that you can’t help but tell everyone about it, even though you want to keep it your little secret. The wait might get longer, but it’ll always be worth it.
4009 N. Albany, 312.857.4221, smallschicago.com
—Jeffrey Brown, cartoonist (Lit 50)
Best of Chicago 2015