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“Good BBQ overall OK” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Eli's BBQ

Eli's BBQ
3313 Riverside Dr, Cincinnati, OH 45226-1012
513-533-1957
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Ranked #10 of 1,750 Restaurants in Cincinnati
Cuisines: Barbecue
Dining options: Late Night
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night
Parma, Ohio, United States
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Good BBQ overall OK”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 30, 2013

We were passing through Cincinnati traveling from Kentucky to Cleveland, and saw Eli's as the #6 restaurant in the city so my husband and I stopped. There was definitely good in this place, but unfortunately to a traveler looking to grab a quick bite to eat this place was NOT the best option.

The Good: The pulled pork sandwich was amazing- topped with their signature BBQ sauce and cole slaw... AWESOME. The sides were decent too, but nothing to RAVE about. The decor and "feel" of the place makes you feel like in you're on an Alabama back road getting some good ole BBQ. The backyard is full of picnic tables to eat outside too. Loved the casual atmosphere.

The Bad: The place is small (there is nothing wrong with that), but it seemed as though the staff was confused on their roles- making the line in the place longer than it needed to be. The cashiers took the orders, but they were also running the orders back to the kitchen, running food out to tables and cleaning tables. (I have worked in the service industry for YEARS, and know that roles are very important to keeping a smooth and streamlined house.) Some of the staff looked ABSOLUTELY MISERABLE TOO! Smile! This made for a VERY slow order line. I was totally ok with the process of ordering in line and heading out to the back to sit on picnic tables, and waiting for our name to be called indicating that our order was ready, but our food took over 40 minutes to come out. We didn't order anything fancy- seriously just a pulled pork sandwich and several sides.

Conclusion: This place obviously is very loved by the city of Cincinnati, and I hate that I had a less than excellent experience. I really wanted to love this place, but the service really put a damper on how excellent their BBQ is.

  • Visited April 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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179 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Great Food, not so great service”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 16, 2013 via mobile

The food was excellent. Top of the line BBQ and a great old style atmosphere. Only been once, but the service was horrible. I was the only in the restaraunt at the time and was completely ignored by the waitress for 10 minutes, who was too busy doing paperwork and hanging signs next to me to take an order. Finally had to go to the takeout line, which is in a completely separate room to order. Ended up just getting it to go. I'm not a big complainer. It could have just been N off day. I was there a few minutes after they opened .

  • Visited April 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Boston, MA
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
55 helpful votes 55 helpful votes
“Oh My!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 14, 2013

I've eaten barbeque all over the country and really appreciate the good stuff. Man oh man, this is the real deal and in a perfect setting. The pulled pork sandwich is the featured item, and it is one of the best I've had anywhere. Rib ends were superb. I'm not much of a sides guy, but my mouth is watering remembering the beans, jalapeño cheese grits, and slaw. Wow! Can't wait for my next visit. Very friendly service with reasonable prices.

  • Visited April 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cold Spring, Kentucky
Top Contributor
87 reviews 87 reviews
61 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
“AMAZING!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2013

I quite like pulled pork sandwiches and BBQ sauce, they are two of my favorite things and up until about a month ago, I had no idea that Eli's even existed but since my first time there, it's all I can think about. The food is absolutely perfect, tastes amazing, the sides are to die for, the price is reasonable and the atmosphere is very relaxed and casual. I love that you can bring your own beer in! I would definitely continue to come here, if I had it my way, I'd be back at least once a week. It's just THAT good.

  • Visited March 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Cincinnati, Ohio
Top Contributor
114 reviews 114 reviews
74 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 44 cities Reviews in 44 cities
77 helpful votes 77 helpful votes
“Still the Best”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2013

We have returned to Eli's several times since my initial review (9/16/12). Some restaurants, while excellent in the beginning, deteriorate rapidly. Eli's has not. Their barbecue is still the best.

Physically, the restaurant is the same but outdoor seating has been added. There is a tent, a picnic area and outdoor tables. There were many diners and the atmosphere was festive. A great place to eat.

  • Visited April 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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