Dave Raymond, aka Sweet Baby Ray, namesake of the second best selling barbecue sauce in the nation, opened Sweet Baby Ray's Wood Dale Barbecue Restaurant in June of 2005. Raymond negotiated the opportunity to open four restaurants with the Sweet Baby Ray's banner when they sold the sauce business a few years ago. Wood Dale was a natural, since it is only a half-mile from his home.
The 36-seat space reveals Raymond's attention to every aspect of the business, from the décor to the menu. Booths are hand-carved out of solid blocks of wood. The cherry red floor comes from a plantation in Louisiana. Food trays are galvanized tin, to imitate the décor of Chicago-style barbecue restaurants from the '50s and '60s. A bookcase full of barbecue books, barbecue posters, and even a chronological historical series of Sweet Baby Ray's Sauce bottles adorn the walls. Other accents depict Chicago landmarks. A display of sports memorabilia includes the last Cubs banner to hang in Candlestick Park traded by the field crew for five pork sandwiches. There is also a unique collection of Sweet Baby Ray's personal memorabilia from the "West Side, Best Side" where he was raised.