While cajun cuisine may hail from the South, particularly Louisiana, there are plenty of restaurants right here in the Windy City that offer some delightfully spicy — as well as mild — cajun dishes. Whether you have a hankering for sausages, a crawfish boil or jambalaya, savor the flavors of cajun cuisine at these five restaurants.
Heaven on Seven
111 N. Wabash Ave., 7th Floor
Chicago, IL 60602
Named after its original location in the Loop (on the Garland building’s seventh floor), the restaurant currently has three locations, two in Chicago and one out in Naperville. At each and every one of them, expect quality, authentic cajun food from Chef and Owner Jimmy Bannos. The biggest problem while there will be deciding on which dish to order from its massive menu. Diners can never go wrong with any of the po’ boy sandwiches, but most people come for the gumbo and jambalaya. While the Wabash location only serves breakfast and lunch, dinner and carryout are also available at the Rush and Naperville locations.
5347 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60640
Drawing its food inspiration from the Gulf Coast, Carolina Lowcountry, Appalachia and New Orleans, this Andersonville restaurant is trendy — and worth every penny. From the amazing griddle cakes at brunch to the pimiento cheeseburger and award-winning fried chicken, Chef Paul Fehribach makes sure every dish is as delicious as can be by sourcing ingredients locally. Enjoy this Southern fare with an assortment of classic Southern cocktails, as well as whiskey.
1001 W. Washington Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60607
With its three locations in and around Chicago, Wishbone has become an establishment of sorts in Chicago. The family-friendly restaurant features Southern cooking at its finest, and chances are that if you have a hankering for it, it’s on the menu. Enjoy everything from hoppin’ jack and blackened chicken to crawfish cakes and po’ boys in a festively-decorated ambiance. The popular restaurant also offers party space and full-service catering.
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Maple Tree Inn
13301 S. Old Western Ave.
Blue Island, IL 60406
Head south to the nearby suburb of Blue Island for some traditional Louisiana cajun and creole fare. Between the cozy atmosphere, the wonderful service and the down-home cooking, Maple Tree Inn is a hidden gem full of wonderful food treasures, along with some craft beer and New Orleans-inspired cocktails. All foods are prepared in-house, and that even goes for the ribs, brisket and sausage.
Ron’s Cajun Connection
897 E. U.S. Highway 6
Utica, IL 61373
If you want a milder version of cajun food, head out to the ‘burbs to try this hopping restaurant. If you want a spicy version, have no fear, Ron’s has that too. With recipes that originate from the owner’s hometown of Lake Charles, Louisiana, you’re getting authentic Southern cajun cuisine, whether you’re chowing down on jambalaya, boudin balls, etoufee or a number of other traditional dishes. Or go for the pecan pie, because it really is just that good. Before you make the trek, make sure it’s open; Ron’s Cajun Connection is only open Thursday through Sunday.
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Elizabeth SanFilippo is a freelance writer, who enjoys trying new foods from all over the world. But her favorite city for culinary treats will always be Chicago. When not writing about food, she’s scribbling novels, and TV show reviews and recaps. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.