Kid-friendly pizza and barbecue in Chicago

Big Bricks in North Center, which opened earlier this year, offers what the original Bricks Pizza in Lincoln Park does and then some. With delicious pizza and barbecue, a hip yet family-friendly environment and a killer outdoor patio, Big Bricks is a perfect choice for a family dinner out.

If you go

  • 3832 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago

First the pizza: Try a savory, creative pizza with some bite like the “Sweet Heat” topped with smoked chicken, bacon, fresh jalapeño, barbecue-tomato sauce, smoked gouda and mozzarella, or the “Painful,” spicy pepperoni, purple onion, fresh jalapeño, garlic, tomato sauce and mozzarella. The “Ditka,” simply and aptly described on the menu as “meaty and cheesy,” is as memorable as its namesake. And for those who like their pizza with slightly less flash and toppings, there is basic cheese, plus build-your-own options.

The on-site Oyler pit ensures some of the best barbecue in the city including the fan favorite Piggly Po Boy: pulled pork, rib meat debris, creole mustard on a D’Amato’s torpedo bun served with fries or tots and coleslaw. Or if you’re feeling like something less waist-expanding, dive into the delicious (and healthy!) Jail Island barbecue salmon, eight ounces of pure bliss. While we didn’t partake on this particular outing, our server recommended the smoked ribs, which came in third at the 2012 Ribfest-pretty impressive for a first outing!

Plenty of menu items are kid-pleasers, but there are also choices like grilled cheese and tater tots specifically for little ones. And the jovial wait staff get that kids will be kids. When our server overheard my daughter dramatically declare she was “starving” as her parents leisurely enjoyed the stuffed dates appetizer (not to be missed!), he brought out the kids meals immediately-and with an amused smile.

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