Chicago Culinary Kitchen owners ‘super excited’ to open larger location in Palatine

After more than a year of work and anticipation, a popular Palatine barbecue is about to move to a larger space with a full bar and outdoor patio.

Chicago Culinary Kitchen, known for its local menu of brisket, pulled pork, ribs, and pastrami, has won an enthusiastic following with its food truck on Thursdays and limited hours on Saturdays and Sundays.

Owners Kristina and Greg Gaardbo have said they look forward to moving from their location at 773 N. Quentin Road to the new space at 2391 N. Hicks Road, which will be open Wednesday through Sunday for lunch and dinner.

The couple, who live in the Palatine, hope to move in June, pending final approval of the village permit.

“We are super excited,” said Kristina Gaardbo. “It’s a much bigger space with a great patio. The atmosphere is going to be just amazing.”

The new space will represent everything they love, they said: community, family and rock ‘n roll.

“It’s about having fun,” said Greg Gaardbo. “It’s about coming to our house. You come to Kristine and I – and that’s how we want to treat you.”

Chicago Culinary Kitchen also offers dining and cooking classes, which will hopefully begin in July at the new location.

There will be new features like a “pajama brunch” or a “beer for breakfast” on Sunday, said Greg Gaardbo.

“I have a stick and I’m ready to go,” he said

The Gaardbos started Chicago Culinary Kitchen as a catering company and event space.

Four years ago they opened the restaurant, which also serves beer and wine.

“The biggest gripe was that we aren’t open enough, we don’t have enough food and we don’t have enough seats,” said Kristina Gaardbo. “So we decided, ‘OK, let’s do it.'”

The couple built the new space to their own tastes and specifications, a very fun process but one that also took longer than expected, she said.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also delayed things a bit, she added.

Chicago Culinary Kitchen won the 2020 “Small Business of the Year” award from the Palatine Region Chamber of Commerce, whose executive director Steven Gaus said the restaurant had “a sort of cult following.”

“They make a really good barbecue,” he said. “They have great ribs, slowly smoked. And their breasts are fantastic.”

Gaus said he was also very fond of Greg Gaardbo attending the chamber’s Young Entrepreneurs Academy, which invites business leaders to speak to young attendees. Inevitably, Gaardbo – who like his wife gives off a cool vibe with neck and sleeve tattoos – attracts the most questions from students, Gaus said.

“They (the students) see that all kinds of different people can be successful – and you bring your own personality to the game,” Gaus said.

The Gaardbos have said they love their business and what it stands for.

“What we missed were our communal tables,” said Greg Gaardbo.

“A lot of people have made friends, sitting and sharing a meal next to each other. That’s what dinner is – it’s all common.”

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