joe's fried shrimp
We've had a lot of great postings this week, but this might be Post of the Week. You've expressed in 36 words of free verse the pure, raw, undiluted essence of chowhound hankering.
I assume you are referring to the posting linked below. If so, the capitalization leads me to believe Vital Information was talking about a restaurant named "Joe's" that makes fried shrimp.
the only reference to a "Joe's" that I can find on this Chicago board puts it "on North very close to harlem". Hopefully the other Chicago hounds will chime in.
re: Jim Leff
A couple of other fried shrimp places i've passed and been intrigues by but haven't tried. Western Shrimp house: on western maybe around taylor, and a shrimp place on goose island on division. has anyone been to either of these places? I hadn't really identified the shrimp shack as a chicago culinary phenomenon but maybe we're onto something.
re: Seth Zurer
This won't be that helpful, but there used to be a place on Ashland--and I can't believe that I don't remember the name--between Cermak and the expressway. In the classic Chicago mold, it had all of the fried things from the sea one could imagine (although I don't remember smoked), and was located on the grimy banks of some south branch of the river.
I first went with my father, as a child, and think I remember my Granny saying that she and my Grandfather went there on a couple dates (evidently he was about as romantic as me) so that would fulfill the historical angle (that would be circa 1938-39). In about 1994, I used to kick it over there for lunch when I had a summer job at the the Bureau of Electricity up the street at 26th and Ashland--it was one of the best close things in the neighborhood, which is really like an industrial park. I would usually get a 1/2 pound of shrimp, a 1/2 pound of oysters, a 1/2 pound of perch, and cole slaw, or something like that. It was good, better than lawrence's, which is really the only other place of this type that I went to.
I don't know if it is quite a Chicago concept, but there is nothing of the sort in NYC, typically. I have no idea if the place is still there, but it might be worth a trip--perhaps on the way out to Little Village.
re: andy o'neill
re: andy o'neill
Very interesting, thats a new one to me. If anyone knows the name or whether its still in existence Id love to hear about it. Ill bet there are still several more of these old fried fish shacks that I never heard of.
Im not too surprised to hear it was better than Lawrences. The several things I had at Lawrences were good, not great. The shrimp was the best of the lot though.
While looking up the address of Goose Island Shrimp House the other day, I stumbled on an interesting list of fish stores (link follows, if anyone is interested). I dont see any place on Ashland listed but that probably doesnt mean anything. More discouraging, I didnt see it during a quick trip down Ashland (definitely could have missed it though). There seems to be a fair bit of new construction along the South Fork of the South Branch of the Chicago River so it may very well have been torn down.
Back to that list of fish stores. One place that caught my eye was Delta Fish & Blues on the West Side (228 S Kedzie). I think this is the place Ive been trying to remember for years. My memory is extremely hazy on this but I believe its pretty much what it sounds like: fried fish and music in thoroughly ungentrified surroundings. Driving by the other day I didnt see a trace of it. The phone book says they have relocated to 8230 S Laflin. If youre feeling adventurous it could be very interesting.
re: andy o'neill
The shrimp house someone mentioned on Ashland near Cermak is probably the one just north of Cermak on Canal, which is east of Ashland. It's been there for 40 years or so and juts up against the south branch of the river.
I have a tirade against the Goose Island Shrimp House on Division (between Halsted and Elston). I am a bicyclist and frequently take my bike into places with me if there is no secure parking nearby. I don't mean really nice places, but some takeout places, banks, Home Depot,etc. Most places are cool with it. If not, as I'm leaving they'll say there's bike parking over there or could you please not bring the bike in again. I'm fine with that. But, at the Goose Island Shrimp House, there is NO place to lock a bike. It's a dump anyway, so I rolled it in with me and parked it against the wall out of the way. The place was half empty and from the look of it, my bike was cleaner than their floors. After placing my order and stepping back, one of the surly counter boys yelled out "Whose bike is that? Take it out". I replied I had no place safe to lock it and would be out of there as soon as my order was ready. The guy was mean and told me to get it out NOW! There was really no reason to be so nasty. It was not crowded, there is no seating in there and it's a dirty dive anyway, what was the deal? I cancelled my order and will not go back. A friend had been there the week before and confirmed that the counter help was surly. Until they improve their customer relations, there is no reason to give my money to people who refuse to accomodate my needs or to be a little tolerant of my situation.
I think youre referring to my post on smoked fish, in which I talked a little about fried shrimp. So heres one on fried shrimp, with a little bit about smoked fish.
Although certainly not unique to the city, the shrimp and fish shack is (or was) very much a Chicago tradition. These places, often with very late hours, located on the banks of the river, and called Fisheries, were once numerous but are quickly disappearing. I dont know the history but I assume their location on the river was to allow easy delivery of fish, important in the days before frozen food, interstate highways, and cheap air freight.
Not long ago we lost one of the great ones, Joes Fisheries on Cortland.
There are at least three riverside fish houses left: Goose Island Shrimp House, Lawrences Fisheries, and Calumet Fisheries. All are very old businesses.
I still havent been to Goose Island Shrimp House but reportedly it is one of the best. Ive been meaning to try it for a long time and decided to stop by yesterday. It was closed. I was afraid wed lost another but I called them today to learn its only for a week and theyll be open on Monday. Ill be there soon because its only a matter of time before they tear it down for the Shrimp House Condominiums.
Lawrences, on the river just west of Chinatown, has been around over 50 years but has recently moved into a new building. They serve many varieties of fried fish: cod, frog legs, oysters, scallops, catfish, and shrimp. The shrimp is pretty good, with fresh almost crunchy meat and a thick but tolerable breading. Its open all night and has a few booths in case you want to eat there. Really lousy sauces, a problem that plagues many of these places.
Calumet Fisheries, on the banks of the Calumet River, is a real favorite of mine. Some really awesome views of abandoned steel mills and other industrial vistas. You really have to keep yourself from wondering too much about where that fish comes from. Its really quite good though; everything is freshly breaded and carefully fried. The fried shrimp is good but they make their own smoked shrimp that is fantastic. These are seriously addictive. Theres a little smoke house outside where they make it and they also smoke salmon and trout (each chunk is threaded with a loop of twine for hanging). Take out only.
Some other places (not on rivers) to try are Hagens on Montrose and the Fish Keg on Howard. Hagens has a pretty good selection of smoked fish but I never had the fried shrimp at either place. Another old-timer, Trohas (4151 W 26th St; in business over 75 years), is also good but I havent eaten there for ages. Western Avenue Shrimp House, on the northwest corner of Taylor, looks like it could be worth a visit. Earlier this year I stopped in to grab a menu (the usual offerings) but I had just come from Damenzos Pizza a couple blocks away, so a sack of shrimp was out of the question.
Goose Island Shrimp House
1011 W Division St
10am-4am, to 6am weekends
2120 S Canal St
3259 E 95th St
open to 10pm (?)
What a heart wrenching post!
Try J&J's Fried Fish and Chicken on Adam between State and Wabash w/the best fried oysters in my little world's book. Fried perch are delicious, too. Their fried shrimps are huge, not huge batter, real big shrimp. Nice cajun hot sauce.....If I weren't in NYC, I'd be there.
Sorry about the name guys. The place is Joe's Fisheries. It is on Courtland Street between Elston and Clyborn, surrounded by some steel mills (how big shoulders, huh?). Going north on clyborn, courtland is the street where solly's drive in is.
perhaps joe's is not the best fried shrimp house. they fry in vegetable oil after all, but it will still do the roof of your mouth proud. they have a nice spicy cocktail sauce and a commercial cole slaw that i enjoy. besides the shrimp, they smoke their own fish; a 24 hour h&h on courtland would be rather platonic. finally, if you have a perpetually dieting wife like mine, joe's also steams shrimp and salmon.
I grew up at Racine & Clybourn. Joe's Fisheries IS located on Courtland near Clybourn/Elston. I moved to California a long time ago but still often recall going to Joe's on payday for a bag of shrimp..if I recall correctly, it was on a bridge or at the base of a bridge over the Chicago river that we called the "singing bridge" as children because when my Dad drove over it the grooves in the bridge seemed to sing when our tires rolled over it. Of course, one can never go back, except in memory and my memories of Joe's Fisheries shrimp is they were absolutely the best I ever had.
Anyone remember the tamales at Vienna Hot Dog Stands?
Reubin (Rick) Gibson
Joe's fisheries was one of the BEST in chicago - I grew up near Armitage & Halsted and graduated from Waller High in 1962.
My favorite hot dog stand was on Dickens & Halsted and loved their tamales almost as much as the dogs & fries.
Moved to Knoxville TN area a couple of years ago and really miss the Chicago food. They don't even try to offer it here - no dogs, Italian Beef sandwiches, Chicago style pizza, smoked fish. They have everything smoked except for Fish and Shrimp.
Wish I could go back in time for a few days and eat at all my favorite places.