EarHustle411 and the writing staff reports with a very heavy heart that we report the passing of Chicago Bar-B-Q icon James Lemons, owner of Lem’s Bar-B-Q located in Chicago’s south side at 311 E. 75th St. Many of our staff members would make several trips to the establishment just to enjoy their yummy rib tips and delicious sauce.
Read about James Lemons as shared on Facebook by George Davis. We appreciate George sharing the information with the customers of Lem’s.
James Lemons and his four brothers grew up in Indianola, Mississippi, where their mother taught them to cook, and where they worked each fall slaughtering hogs. When he was fourteen, James followed his brothers to Chicago and into the barbecue business. His oldest brother, Miles, known as Lem to friends, found a place on 59th street, where he opened his namesake barbecue joint in 1951. Lem’s quickly gained a reputation for not only being the first place to serve rib tips in town, but for its sauce. The sauce originated from his mother’s recipe and is still made from scratch every day. In 1967 the brothers opened a second location on 75th Street in the Greater Grand Crossing community. Today, it’s the only Lem’s location, and James Lemons is the last brother to oversee the family business. And after more than fifty years in the Windy City, James Lemons is still connected to the Mississippi Delta. He’s cousin to Mary Shepard, former owner of Indianola’s legendary Club Ebony. But even though he’s from Mississippi, James Lemons says his barbecue is Chicago-style—because that’s where it’s been the longest.
“We used to barbecue pigs [in Mississippi]. They’d always kill hogs around Thanksgiving time, you know what I mean. My daddy made a little brick pit outside the house and we used to barbecue…And when we came to Chicago, we started working in a restaurant… And years later, my younger brother came along, and that’s when we opened up the barbecue place.”~ James Lemons
If you are a true barbecue fan you must visit Lem’s. It’s a stronghold of Chicago and barbecue history. She also created the recipe for their famous spicy-tangy sauce.
Homegoing arrangements are listed below:
Thursday December 17, 2015
Callahan Funeral Home
7030 S Halsted, (773) 723-4400
Friday December 18, 2015
Wake and Funeral:
New Covenant Baptist Church
754 E. 77th St (77th Cottage Grove), (773) 846-3700
Visitation: 6:00-7:30 P.M.
Burial: 10:00 A.M. Saturday, Dec 19, leaving from church
EarHustle411 sends our swinger condolences to the family of James Lemons and the Lem’s Bar-B-Q customers. He was truly Chicago royalty and he will be sorely missed.
Source: Facebook (George Davis)