The Local Dish: The Skrine family’s chops are tops
A tri-tip sandwich with signature mashed potatoes on the bun at Skrine Chops. | Photo by Melissa Elsmo
Family Dinner at Skrine Chops
Where: 7230 W. Madison St., Forest Park
When: 4-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 4-9 p.m. Sunday
Reservations? Sometimes. Call (708) 771-7230 to see if Skrine Chops is taking reservations on the evening you’d like to come in. When the party room is booked, the main dining room is first come, first served only.
Cost: $11/Skrine Chop with side; $25/Kansas City Steak; sides like red beans and rice start at $4
Tips: Renting the party room at Skrine Chops is a steal at $100. A special catering menu is available in the party room and the cozy space holds up to 100 guests.
Chew on this: Chicago Magazine named the Skrine Chop the best pork chop in town.
Updated: February 13, 2013 2:46PM
A self-described risk taker, Steve Skrine pulled up stakes at the Chicago Board of Trade after 22 years and invested in the power of pork.
“My recipes usually start with me squatting in front of my refrigerator,” chuckles Skrine, but his good instincts produced the locally beloved Skrine Chops long before the popular Forest Park eatery bearing his name opened for business.
“All of this started with the pork chops,” says Mary Rita Skrine as she gestures around her cozy, lodge-like restaurant. “Actually, my husband used to sell the chops out of his car.”
Steve Skrine may have started with mobile meat distribution, but these days Skrine Chops operates in two brick and mortar locations and the recipe for the beloved pork chop that started it all remains largely unchanged. The deceptively sophisticated dish features a center-cut, bone-in pork chop seasoned with Steve Skrine’s unique blend of 10 global spices and a homemade Louisiana style hot sauce. In the restaurant, the specially-sourced chops are grilled to juicy perfection and served with a choice of sides, but patrons can still grab a box of freshly-seasoned Skrine Chops to cook and serve at home.
Perfecting his signature dish, developing new recipes to expand his menu and maintaining a duo of successful restaurants with his supportive wife, didn’t come without significant challenges for the hardworking grill-master. A fire all but destroyed the two story Forest Park establishment in November 2011. With walls burned to the ground, Steve Skrine and his much loved Oak Park family faced the daunting reality of rebuilding their dreams from the ground up.
It took a full year to re-open, but the undeniable Skrine work ethic and an outpouring of community support got the job done. Today, Skrine Chops’ rebuilt second floor party room boasts a fireplace formed entirely from charred bricks salvaged from the restaurant ruins. It stands as a proud reminder of the Skrine family’s considerable resolve and commitment to meat-driven fare with a family-friendly vibe.
When my family settled in for dinner at Skrine Chops on a cold and rainy night we were immediately warmed by Mary-Rita and Steve Skrine’s welcoming personalities and passion for satisfying customers. While ordering a side salad ensured we all had a few veggies on our dinner plates, the main focus was the manly main dishes. My husband can verify that Steve Skrine knows his way around a pork chop, but my son picked the bone clean on his Kansas City Steak and my daughter declared her “Skribs” among the best ribs she has ever eaten. I enjoyed an oak-smoked tri-tip sandwich with the signature smashed potatoes housed on the bun. Dieters need not apply.
“We’ve created a certain atmosphere,” says Steve Skrine, “ and we hope that when guests sit down at our restaurant they feel transported to a cozy, rustic lodge where they can unwind, hang out and eat delicious food.”
Thanks to the dedication of one family, Skrine Chops is a comfortable Madison Street mainstay where hearty and honest fare will fill the hungriest bellies in your brood with ease.