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.
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