Genuine soul food at its finest is at Rick’s Ribs, a hidden gem in Loves Park, Illinois, just outside of Rockford. Even though I consider Rockford my home turf, Rick’s Ribs was a puzzle to find. My GPS sent me around and around a busy intersection. That’s because it is a tiny restaurant behind a slots place that has a huge sign you can’t see around.
According to the regulars I chatted with while I waited, Rick’s has been at this location around three years. Online, it says he has been cooking for more than 20 years. All I know is that this is the only soul food place around—and the locals love it. I stopped in to get some barbecue takeout to bring home for an impromptu outdoor dinner in my backyard.