I'm not certain if this part of town is considered East End or Columbia-Tusculum, but here's the story:
My son, who has worked in a couple of BBQ restaurants (but not this one) suggested it for a lunch get-together. So we drove down through the confusing streets of this corner of Cincy, found some convenient parking, and entered the decidedly downscale premises.
The menu is short: a few options of ribs, sandwices, and sides. Beverages are taken from their cooler (and they only offer maybe four sodas and a water) or you carry in your own beer or whatever. Order at the counter, designate indoor or outdoor, and leave your name; they'll call out when your order is ready for you to claim.
The indoor area is small indeed; we opted for outdoor, where generous picnic tables sit on a gravel lot, some shaded with a tent-top. The restaurant's food-truck or should I say food-trailer is parked nearby; they're available for catering or private parties. The food was up promptly.
My family all ordered the pulled pork sandwich, reputedly the best on the market. I avoid bread as a rule so I got the smoked rib tips, a luncheon special. The servings didn't look large but everyone, including me uncharacteristically, took home a doggie bag. My tips were seasoned with a peppery dry rub; they offer BBQ sauce in a squeeze bottle at the service table but it was not needed, very meaty and some boneless, they were good and flavorful; toothsome (no pre-blanching here, you gotta chew!), but on occasion a little dry. My sides were some beans that were intriguing--perfect white beans in a sauce made spicy by something I couldn't identify--and cole slaw that was ideally crisp and perfectly dressed.
I'll note that my riblets seemed more moist and savory after I took the leftovers home, drizzled them with just a smidge of water, and warmed them a teensy in the microwave.
So here you go. A place where you don't get decor, metal table utensils, cloth napkins, unctuous servers. Here you get decent food, redneck music on the sound system, gravel on the ground, no dress code, an honest value for your dollar. I'm glad to have been there.
If you own or manage Eli's BBQ, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.