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“Worthy experience if you're in the neighborhood--or not” 4 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 1,744 Restaurants in Cincinnati
Cuisines: Barbecue
Dining options: Late Night
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night
Dayton, Ohio, United States
Top Contributor
146 reviews 146 reviews
113 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 49 cities Reviews in 49 cities
78 helpful votes 78 helpful votes
“Worthy experience if you're in the neighborhood--or not”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 4, 2014

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.

  • Visited August 2014
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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176 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Indianapolis, Indiana
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Relaxing and fun”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 31, 2014

The family really enjoyed this outing. The food was great, huge sandwiches and spicey grits - yummy. Bring your own drinks, order and find a place at a picnic bench. It was a fun experience but remember to bring cash.

  • Visited July 2014
    • 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Outstanding BBQ”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 27, 2014

We ate dinner here on a Sunday afternoon in late July. The restaurant has a very humble appearing storefront, but don't let this fool you. The BBQ was delicious (pulled pork sandwich, BBQ turkey sandwich, and ribs). Be aware that credit cards are not accepted--come with cash. That being said, the prices are unbelievably inexpensive. The line was long (outside the door), but moved very fast. We sat outside under the large tent and had an excellent time. We'll be back. Go out of your way to check it out yourself.

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
18 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Bring Your Own”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 24, 2014

This is one of the most unique places I have had a meal in a long time. You find a parking spot nearyby (not to tough), then you wak up to the front of this house. From there you wait in line for a bit (they say there is always a line), to get to the order desk.

The menu is pretty straight forward 4 or 5 selections. I got the pulled pork and our group got some rib tips to share.

They said it would be about an hour for the food to come out. So we went out to the picnic tables outside and had a seat.

Now for the unique part..... You are able/have to bring you own beer. People were walking in with 6 packs, coolers, and other assorted beverage items. You could get pop or water inside, but why when you can BOYB.

The atmosphere was really eclectic. Business folks, Yuppies, Bikers, Kids, Old folks, .... You name it they were there.

The food was not as good as anticipated, but pretty good.

Visited July 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, Georgia
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
32 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
“I am a BBQ fan after this!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 24, 2014

I never liked BBQ. I don't even know why. But now I am a HUGE fan and will ONLY eat at Eli's. My mother and I dined here for lunch last week and it was delicious. Very cheap, filling, satisfying, and delicious. They were OUT OF RIBS we are sad to report that day, but the rib tips we had were succelent, juicy, and just plain ol good. We ordered macaroni and cheese, baked beans, and cole slaw as sides and I had a pulled pork sandwich, too. The macaroni was the best I have ever had and I am still craving it. We drank water and bottled Cokes. They do NOT take credit cards, heads up. Just cash and checks. And they play records and it is really loud in there, too. But all in all, food is great and I am going back! Devon from Georgia was our waitress and was so fabulous and kind and patient. Kudos to her.

  • Visited July 2014
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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