Top 5 Places To Get a Taste of New Orleans On Fat Tuesday

Just because you’re stuck in Chicago this winter doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the vivid flavors and warm hospitality of the Big Easy. Here are a few local joints that serve Cajun and Creole cuisine year-round, and they’re getting into the spirit this Fat Tuesday.


1. Frontier

1072 N. Milwaukee Ave; 773-772-4322

New Orleans native Brian Jupiter focuses on quality Southern comfort food, but on Fat Tuesday, Frontier pulls out all the stops with an authentic Louisiana shrimp boil. $33 will get you all-you-can eat shrimp, potatoes, and corn, plus a complimentary piece of King Cake (and plastic baby if you’re lucky). They’ll also have additional food and drink specials including Red Beans and Rice ($10), Shrimp Po’boys ($13), Hurricanes ($5), Sazeracs ($6), and Abita beer ($4). The Shrimp Boil will be held Tuesday, February 17 at 6 p.m.; tickets can be purchased here.


2. Maple Tree Inn

13301 S. Olde Western Ave; 708-388-3461

Known for their Hickory Buttered NOLA-style BBQ Shrimp, The Maple Tree Inn is acclaimed for their Cajun and Creole fare and they’re celebrating their 40th anniversary this year. It’s recommended you make your reservations early for their annual Mardi Gras celebration; featuring live Dixieland Jazz, their signature New Orleans cocktails, 24 beers on draft, a special Fat Tuesday menu, beads, masks, and a commemorative hurricane glass, it’s sure to fill up fast. The bar opens at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, February 17; dinner will be served from 4-10 p.m. Don’t forget the gumbo (pictured, above).


3. Analogue

2523 N. Milwaukee Ave; 773-904-8567

This blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Logan Square lounge (with no sign) offers a great lineup of unique, fairly-priced cocktails along with a menu of authentic Cajun food that goes beyond the basics. I highly recommend their gumbo, biscuits and stuffed mirliton (chayote squash).


4. Heaven on Seven

111 N. Wabash; 312-263-6443

224 S. Main Street, Naperville; 630-717-0777

If you’re looking for throwback Cajun and Creole food to break up your workday this Fat Tuesday, you can’t do better than Chef Jimmy Bannos’ Heaven on Seven, with its convenient Loop location. Or you could stop by their Naperville location for dinner and enjoy a full menu of Louisiana favorites along with live music. True, there may be some stress in the air, due to the messy lawsuit with former partner Scott Harris and the recent closing of the Rush St. location, but the original location, in the Garland Coffee Shop space, with its festive atmosphere and live music is always a great little respite in the Loop at lunchtime. The gumbo is still great.


5. Epiphany

734 W. Fullerton St; 872-808-2456

This brand new Lincoln Park bistro serves up eclectic Cajun and Creole dishes along with an extensive wine list, bourbon, and whiskey cocktails. I liked their brandy milk punch and homemade gumbo, which contains not only andouille and chicken, but crab as well.


Honorable Mention:


1636 Old Deerfield Road, Highland Park; 847-831-0595

While technically not in Chicago, Bluegrass is worth checking out for their fine Southern food in a casual atmosphere. And if you’re looking for a change of pace this Fat Tuesday, they’re hosting a Mardi Gras Cooking School event February 15th from $12-2:30 pm. For $50 guests will learn to make (and eat) an entire menu of Southern classics.

1 Comment

  1. Mark Tassin

    February 13, 2015 at 10:21 pm

    Pappadeaux? You skipped Pappadeaux? obviously a bad list.

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