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Denzel, Here’s Leon’s BBQ

CHICAGO (CBS) — Remember this video that went viral in the fall?

Academy Award winner Denzel Washington knocked on an 86-year-old Chicago grandma’s door to ask for directions.

Washington asked her ‘where’s Leon’s?’

Washington was referring to the longtime South Side barbecue restaurant he remembered from his childhood.

At the time Leon’s was closed.

It was shut down in 2011.

But because of the Denzel publicity, Leon’s is now back in business.

The ribs are smoking.

The cooks are chopping.

And the workers are busy.

All to satisfy the busy lunch crowd at Leon’s on 63rd near Stony Island.

“Me and my wife showed up to see how it tastes,” says customer Glenn Wright. “Oh yeah, that’s it.”

Wright is able to eat this food today because of Denzel Washignton.

“The huge inquiries that we received after Denzel identified this was the place that he was looking for,” says Leon Finney Jr., the son of the original restaurant’s founder.

“I felt so blessed that Mr. Washington would come to city and say ‘I want to get some Leon’s barbecue.’

The new Leon’s features a shrine to its history.

As for Denzel, he’ll never have trouble finding Leon’s again.

Finney points to a new sign in the front window that says “Denzel, here’s Leon’s.”

Leon’s was already planning to re-open in the Woodlawn area because of the Obama Presidential Library.

But the Denzel publicity sped up the process dramatically.

Leon’s tells CBS 2 a a slab of ribs will soon be on its way to Denzel Washington straight from the South Side of Chicago.

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