Hours: For the Rib Pit-Monday through, Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. until midnight; Sunday, 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. For the Rib Pit Lounge -- Tuesday through Thursday, 6 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Friday and Saturday, 6 p.m. to 3 a.m.; Sunday, 6 p.m. until midnight.
Price Range: Inexpensive. Platters from $1.90 to $6.
Special Facilities: Parking on street.
Credit Cards: None. No personal checks. Cash only.
Reservations: Not needed.
You like ribs?
Travel on down to 14th and Randolph and look for the windows where the hickory wood is piled so high you can't see in. That's the Rib Pit.
Inside you will find wood chips and sawdust and a big white igloo covered wth tiles instead of ice. The young fellow behind the carry-out counter stokes those hickory logs through a side gate, while the ribs are cooking on a grill up front. They're just simmering and smoking and sending out the sweetest aroma you know. You can smell those ribs a block away, and they sure smell good.
If you want to enjoy your ribs sitting down, pop in next door at the Rib Pit Lounge. Soon as you sit down, a nice lady will come along and hand you and your family a couple of handiwipes along with the menus. That's the kind of place it is. They expect you to eat with your hands. They know you can't cut a rib with a knife. Who would try? Maybe someone from outer space who has never eaten ribs.
Kids with you? Bring pencils. The placemats have games to keep them amused, and there's a TV set up near the door.
It's dark in the Rib Pit Lounge and there's a little dance floor up front. Next to it a juke box plays tunes like "Backstrokin"' and "Funkin' for Jamaica" and "I Wanna Groove." It's 10 tunes for a dollar.
The lounge seats only about 30 people at the shiny brown formica tables. That's 30 people, if they're smart people, eating the "small ends." Be sure to ask for the small ends of the ribs: they're from the tip, with more meat and less bone.At the Rib Pit, that's what everyone wants.
The Rib Pit roasts ribs without sauce first, so most of the fat is gone when you eat them and they're crisp and sweet. The mouth-watering sauce is a secret; no one will say what's in it. It's hot and spicy, tastes of vinegar, plenty of red pepper, a little sugar and some mustard too. It's doused over the ribs just before they hit the table.
There are also chicken and sliced roast beef, each with good sauce.
Platters come with cole slaw or potato salad. Neither is made at the Rib Pit, but both are good.
You also get two slices of bread for sopping. Never mind that it's white bread -- maybe even Wonder Bread. "Catches the gravy," said the man at a table near us.
You can't beat the prices. A rib platter costs $5 (small ends cost 30 cents more). A quarter-chicken platter is $1.90.
"Redskins come by here -- all kinds of people know us," said our waitress. She told us the Rib Pit Lounge opened six months ago; the carry-out counter is 10 years old.
Out front, the sign reads: "We're number one. This is it."
An it is.