Many years ago, I took a truly fabulous and memorable trip to Savannah, Georgia. I just love the graceful layout of that city. Amazing architecture, pretty Spanish moss hanging from the trees and most of all, the food. I am trying to find the very best of Southern cuisine here in Chicago. It has not been an easy task. Luella’s Southern Kitchen in Lincoln Square is a new and wonderful spot which I tried early this year. Today, I finally made it to Big Jones in Andersonville.
Big Jones is a Southern-inspired restaurant which is celebrating 7 years in Chicago. It is located a few blocks west and 1 1/2 blocks north of the Berwyn ‘L’ stop, along the CTA Red Line (about a 10 minute walk). The #22 Clark bus stop right out in front.
Chef/Owner, Paul Fehribach, is serving up some tasty dishes reminiscent of the American South. Many of the usual Southern suspects can be found on the menu. There’s chicken and dumplings, fried green tomatoes, biscuits and gravy, etc. Here’s how my lunch went down:
I started off with the gumbo. It was one of the best I’ve had anywhere in the country. It was made with a traditional Cajun roux, andouille sausage, chicken, pork and rice. The roux was the deepest, darkest, richest one I’ve ever seen. So many layers of flavor. It came in a pretty serving bowl which was about 1 cup, so I had room to try another dish.
Next up was the shrimp and grits. This was a very generous portion of food. Lots of tender shrimp with a nice bite to them. The grits were perfect for me. They were not too creamy or too gritty. There was a nice mix of thinly sliced mushrooms and tasso mixed into the gravy made with worcestershire sauce and scallions. I was plenty satisfied without feeling like I would explode. Really yummy.
Big Jones has received many accolades over the years. Chef Paul has been nominated several times by the James Beard Foundation for Best Chef: Great Lakes. Very impressive. I plan on returning with friends so I can sample more menu items such as their award-winning fried chicken and the biscuits and gravy.
I know what some of you are thinking. Southern food is sooo heavy! All the more reason to enjoy the leisurely, short walk from the train station through one of the loveliest neighborhoods in all of Chicago. You’ll get to work up an appetite on your way to Big Jones and work off your meal on the walk back to the train station 🙂
Big Jones is located at 5347 N. Clark Street. They are open Monday – Friday for lunch and dinner. Brunch and dinner are served on Saturday and Sunday. Click here for more information.
In keeping with the spirit of Feeding Off The Rails, I encourage you to leave your car at home and take the CTA Red or #22 Clark bus to Big Jones. Save on gas. Avoid traffic, road rage and parking. Reduce pollution. Don’t drink and drive!