Cajun Boil and Shake

Cajun Boil and Shake interior

Cajun Boil and Shake, a modern Cajun restaurant that will serve seafood boils and comfort food, is opening this month in East Hyde Park. Located at the former site of Bar Louie, 5500 S. Shore Dr., the restaurant intends to be a family-oriented gathering place for the neighborhood. 

The restaurant is the first Chicago outpost of Cajun Boil and Bar, a franchise with four locations in Chicago’s west and southwest suburbs. General manager Lesley James said it's meant to be a place for gathering, like “Southern breaking bread.”

James, who joined the franchise as a hostess at a location in Merrillville, Indiana, and worked her way up, said they chose the location because of its proximity to the lake and the appeal of Hyde Park. 

“The neighborhood is beautiful…it is a family-based area and that is definitely what we are going for,” she said. 

Located just across Lake Shore Drive from Promontory Point, the breeze from the lake suits the restaurant’s nautical decor. A door with a brassy pirate ship riding the waves opens to an interior adorned with anchors, life-preserving rings and seafood sculptures. A neon sign that reads “Cajun Boil and Shake” glows above a long seated bar. 

James said they look forward to large gatherings, and offer a host of items for its communal theme. The “star” of the menu is the shareable seafood boil with lobster tail, crab legs, crawfish and a signature butter sauce. Their staple drink, the booze tower, a gallon-sized rum punch, is meant to be shared with loved ones in a “celebratory gathering.” Beyond seafood, the restaurant will also serve pastas, fried food and ribs.

The seafood boils will be offered at market price in both pound and half-pound increments. Their po-boys range from $12-$15. They are featured alongside other specialty items like the lobster roll ($22) and the fried gator appetizer ($15). 

It’s the second Southern seafood restaurant to open in the neighborhood after What’s Krackin’, 1310 E. 53rd St., debuted last August. 

The space, which has been empty since Bar Louie closed in 2020 due to the pandemic, is part of the Flamingo Apartments. Sheik Bey, senior property manager at the Flamingo, said that the entire building is excited to see the restaurant open. 

“It’s gonna be a great addition to the community,” Bey said. “It has already sparked some excitement and created jobs.”

Cajun Boil and Shake is currently hiring for all positions and is especially looking for cooks and servers. Having already hired several people from the area, they are hoping to continue to bring in people from Hyde Park and become a big part of the community. Those looking to apply can find the open positions on Indeed by searching for Cajun Boil and Shake. 

Cajun Boil and Shake will be announcing their opening date and hours on their Facebook @cajunboilandshake.

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