5800 Blue Parkway
13000 West 95th Street
Trying to reduce its workforce in the mid-1980s, Farmland Industries offered early-retirement packages to some employees. For L.C. Richardson, a Mississippi-born company chef, the offer meant an opportunity to open a restaurant. Today, the vaultlike smoker behind the counter of the original L.C.'s, on Blue Parkway, produces exquisite ribs coated in sauce that's not too sweet and not too smoky. One expert tells us that consistency can be a problem at L.C.'s, but our visits have brought nothing but the ecstasy of stained fingernails. The Blue Parkway location is pretty grungy for those dining in, but the tastiness of the ribs and the humility of the décor (mounted fish, a photo of Aerosmith's Steven Tyler and Joe Perry grinning over plates) quieted our inner germophobe.