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Ron's Cajun Connection in Utica

A thread about good eats along the I-80 corridor (http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...) has spawned a fair amount of comments about Ron's Cajun Connection. After realizing good cajun food seems to be overlooked a bit here, I decided Ron's deserved his own thread. I love this place.

Does anyone else know of any other great cajun eateries in the area? I'm not a fan of Pappadeaux's and Heaven on Seven if much fancier than what I look for in Cajun food. For plain old good bayou cooking, I'm thinking Ron's is the best in the area.

Thoughts?

http://www.ronscajunconnection.com/

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  1. Great Job creating a thread for Cajun Ron...

    I have eaten @ Heaven on Seven (Chicago location, and the Naperville location), neither very good to me. I also have had Pappadeux many times, and the only things I like on their menu are the snow crab (1.5 Lbs for like $15), and the crab cakes, which are above average. .. I also have gone to Maple Tree Inn, a cajun restaurant in Blue Island on Western Ave. It has really gone downhill in the last few years, they used to have a crab augratin that was outstanding. However the last 2 visits there were a big dissapointment, and made it not worth the drive.

    For my money, and taste buds, Cajun Connection is the best at what they do. Luckily I now live(transplant from Naperville) about 15 mins from here(exit 97 on I-80), so I can go pretty often, however I sometimes do not go, knowing the line could be out the door, so I settle for something else in the area, and the pickings are slim.

    1. I've eaten at 2 outpost of Heaven on Seven and find no comparision to Ron's. I think the appeal of Ron's is that it's down home style cooking, not someone pretending to make Cajun. The fact that Ron is such a character adds to flavor of the place. We have had just about everything on the menu except burgers (can get that anywhere)and everything has been good, we ask questions, have been given samples and are always treated well there. As I mentioned in the other thread, when we come home from the in-laws in Peoria, we frequently call ahead and bring home a huge carry out order that we share with some friends who love Ron's too. They have always packed the orders well, helped us out to the car and have included reheating instructions.

      1. We always pass Ron's CC when we're out motorcycle riding out to Starved Rock area, always passed it up til I read this - will definitely stop next time . What would you suggest as a first try plate for the tender and light eaters stomach? My wife and I have started to split most dinners out and not feel so stuffed full which would otherwise result in uncomfortable afternoons.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Birddog415

          For a first timer, you've gotta try the ettoufes (A-too-Fays, as Ron likes to spell 'em). It's not a spicy dish, but is very rich. The red beans and rice with andoullie sausage is also excellent (actually, everything's excellent there). Gator Bites (I've had gator bites elsewhere that can seem a bit gristly. I've never had anything but tender gator from Ron's) and boudin balls (basically, bulk boudin sausage rolled into balls and deep fried. If you aren't into spicey food, stick with the mild balls) are a must do, as are the corn nuggets (corn on the cob, batter dipped and deep fried. One of Ron's specialties).

          Ron did cut back on his spices when he first started as he realized that the Chicago pallette can have a bit of a time with it. But, he will spice it up if you like and he does keep a few different spices on his tables. I like to sprinkle a bit of "Hot Damn" on my beans and I love "Sweet Heat" (like BBQ sauce) on my gator bites.

          If your waitress is Janet, tell her I sent ya's (She's my Sister-In-Law).

          1. re: Crissup

            Not to be misunderstood - I love hot and spicy- problem is as I get older it does NOT like me at all. I used to be able to eat black edged cracked jalapenos off the vine-thats hotter than hot. I guess with all of the voices here telling me I have to stop in to Rons ,I'll have to make it there .

          2. re: Birddog415

            You really should stop in and give them a try next time you are in the area.

            For light eaters, or those not into spice. I would suggest the Gumbo, always excellent and not that spicy. The Fried Shrimp are great as well. I will second the recommendation on red beans and rice w/ andouillie, and the ettoufes. All great. Alos his nightly specials havwe always been a hit with, me. I have never had anything bad on a visit here. and I have been there 10 times in the year or so I found out about Ron's..

            The spice level i guess is relative to each individual, I dont find the food there spicy but then again I consume hot sauces on almost everything I eat.

            Stop in and enjoy.

          3. Check out Ron's menu on the link supplied above, his menu side orders are pared down versions of a full order, that way you can sample a little of all he has to offer. Also check out hours of operation as they are limited, Ron goes back to Louisiana nearly weekly to get supplies.

            2 Replies
            1. re: LikestoEatout

              Just have to add one more to bump this post again - we just went to Ron's today and sampled a bit of everything - gumbo, shrimp etoufee, jambalya, alligator, bubba shrimp, etc..Everything was excellent! We also sample the sauces to add some more heat if you desire. Highly recommend it - we will be back and intend to get take out to share with family next time we visit.

              1. re: domestic goddess

                glad you enjoyed Ron's this place is a "hidden" gem in the Chicago area.

            2. Love that Bubba Gump shrimp and nearly everything else on the menu. I agree with all of the posts above - but let's not forget the pecan pie!!! Wonderful stuff if you can leave room for it, if not you must take a piece home.