Located in the shadows of brick warehouses and rusty draw bridges, the gurgling current of the Chicago River rushing by, this historical shrimp house conjures the gritty dockside setting of Marlon Brando's classic flick, On the Waterfront
. Inside, a bright sea scene lines the walls, and a fishing boat captain statue looks out over the dining room.
The current structure, built in 1973, sits on the same patch of land as the original store that Lawrence Schweig opened in 1950. In the early days, the restaurant employed a crew that sailed on the Eila Marie (named after Schweig's wife) to add some freshly caught fish from Lake Michigan to the menu's signature and smoked seafood delights.
When commercial fishing ended in the early '70s, though, the next generation of the Schweig family began focusing entirely on the fisheries' retail operation. The third generation now runs the spot that serves up garlicky, thick-breaded, fried shrimp 24 hours a day, seven days a week. But shrimp ain't the only game here. Anything that swims, from frog legs to catfish, is fair game for the hot oil. Dinner prices, which include fries, cole slaw, a dinner roll and a half-pound or pound of your choice of seafood, range from $3.75-$12. You can also order from a small selection of salads and sandwiches or take home a bottle of Lawrence's signature hot sauce.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Michael Nagrant