Lillie's Q

Monday - Friday 10:00 AM - 6:30 PM | Saturday 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
(773) 772-5500

Lillies Q

Chef Charlie McKenna opened Lillie’s Q in the Bucktown neighborhood of Chicago in July 2010 that specializes in award-winning competition BBQ, distinct regional BBQ sauces made in-house, and elevated Southern classics.

McKenna named Lillie’s Q after two family members. Lillie is his maternal grandmother who taught him how to cook Southern favorites as child in Greenville, South Carolina. While the “Q” stands for BBQ, it’s also a homage to McKenna’s father, Quito, who first immersed McKenna in the art of BBQ in the late 70s.

Lillie’s Q – named “Best New BBQ Restaurant in the Country” by Food & Wine magazine in 2011 along with a slew of other awards and accolades – is know for low-and-slow barbecued meats like pork shoulder, baby back ribs, tri-tip, hot links, and chicken that are smoked in two custom-built smokers over lump charcoal and peach wood.
The Lillie’s Q traveling BBQ team (which includes McKenna’s father, Quito) has won numerous awards on the competition BBQ circuit including wins at Memphis In May – which is widely regarded as the world championships of BBQ. Lillie’s Q took first place in the Memphis in May pork shoulder category in 2007, placed in the Top Ten five years in a row from 2006 through 2010, and finished 12th in 2011.

McKenna, inspired by grandmother Lillie’s Southern cooking, created elevated Southern favorites at Lillie’s Q pimiento cheese, boiled peanuts, Brunswick stew, baked beans, collard greens, and more.

Lillie’s Q sports 10 hard-to-find All-American craft beers on tap with another 30 available by the bottle at the Bucktown location. In addition, specialty moonshine-based cocktails – like the “Morning Lillie” which is a riff on the traditional Bloody Mary garnished with a housemade meat stick – dominate the boutique high-end spirits program at Lillie’s Q at the Bucktown location.
McKenna also co-owns and co-opened a Lillie’s Q outpost in Destin, Florida, with his parents in July 2008. McKenna also rolled out a food truck in the summer of 2010 – the Lillie’s Q Meat Mobile – that serves pulled pork sandwiches, pulled chicken sandwiches, and Southern sides in downtown Chicago.
After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in New York in 2000, McKenna went on to cook at Norman’s in Coral Gables, Florida, under legendary chef Norman Van Aken. McKenna later became the sous chef at two four-star Chicago fine-dining landmarks: Tru and Avenues in the Peninsula Hotel.
The son of an Air Force colonel, McKenna was born in Santa Maria, California, and spent most of his childhood in Greenville, South Carolina. McKenna is also a Florida State University graduate.

Six regional BBQ sauces and two BBQ rubs created by McKenna and made in-house at Lillie’s Q perfectly compliment the award-winning BBQ. They’re all available for purchase at the French Market, in the Bucktown location, and online at

SMOKY– a traditional Memphis-style sweet and smoky sauce  – is the most popular one at Lillie’s Q. Pairs perfectly with pork, chicken, ribs and more.

HOT SMOKY – McKenna's favorite sauce – is a Memphis-style cayenne pepper abetted hot and sweet smoky sauce. Pairs perfectly with pork, chicken, ribs, and more.

CAROLINA – a Western Carolina-style tomato and vinegar sauce – pairs perfectly with pork, chicken, ribs, and more.

CAROLINA GOLD – a South Carolina-style mustard and vinegar sauce – pairs perfectly with pork, chicken, ribs, and more.

E.N.C. – a thin Eastern North Carolina vinegar sauce with a black pepper and spice kick – pairs perfectly with raw oysters, pork, chicken, and more.

IVORY – an Alabama mayonnaise and apple cider vinegar sauce with black pepper notes – pairs perfectly with chicken, fries, and more.
Q-RUB – A unique blend of salt, black pepper, garlic, and a few other spices – the perfect rub for steak and other cuts of beef.
Carolina Dirt – A unique blend of paprika, sugar, salt, onion powder, chili powder, mustard, garlic powder, oregano, jalapenos, and other spices – the perfect rub for pork, ribs, and chicken. Great on fries, too.


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