There are only two good reasons to drive down to this stark industrial part of town: To dump a body in the Chicago River or to score some of Chicago’s best smoked chubs, dubbed "fish crack" by the locals. A white shack perched precariously on the 95th Street Bridge, Calumet dishes up helpings of perfectly smoked or fried seafood.
It smokes anything that swims, from shrimp to salmon to catfish, in a carbon-streaked smokehouse located behind the restaurant, where you can always spot a curl of blue smoke roiling from the black chimney. The fried shrimp, redolent with the perfume of well-seasoned oil, is just as addictive as the smoked offering. You can pick up a pound for $12.25 or a half-pound with fries for $8.99.
The stark interior displays old newspaper clippings that tell of the location’s cinematic past. It marks the very spot that Jake and Elwood Blues jumped their Bluesmobile over an open drawbridge in The Blues Brothers movie.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Michael Nagrant