Three generations of Bannos’ have brought Chicago ‘s diners some of the tastiest food. Jimmy Bannos took what he learned from his grandparents and parents at the family’s Garland Avenue restaurant . The result is the Loop restaurant with some of the best Cajun cookin north of the Mason Dixon Line. Heaven on Seven is a Chicago institution that has stood the test of time. When you walk through the door, it’s like Mardi Gras everyday. The walls are decorated with hundreds of bottles of hot sauce. (But be prepared, not all their dishes have that hot and spicy touch) The chandeliers are festooned.
Ready for our journey to the Bayou, we sat down and were greeted by some of the friendliest people. Jimmy himself talks to all of his guests. On a sunny, Indian summer day , there was only one drink that would set the scene. Fruity and fun, I enjoyed the sweet taste of a hurricane. The glass was decorated with purple beads and filled with rum mixed with orange and pineapple juice. Scrumptious!
Heaven has a huge menu of starters and we got a small taste of a few of them. Jen loves cheese and so does the chef at Heaven. Jalapenos are supposed to heat up the food, but I found that it added flavor instead. This was the case with the tasty Bayou Jalapeno Corn Blasters . We couldn’t keep our hands off of the jalapeno cheddar corn muffin. Drizzled with honey, it was the perfect comfort food. Add some of the gumbo. And you have got a winner. Between the vegan gumbo and the traditional chicken and sausage, the traditional one passed the test. It was chock full of chicken and sausage chunks and filled with that homemade flavor. We also got a small sampling of some of the best of the south. I always enjoy trying foods from different parts of the country. Southern cooking is called comfort food for a reason. It is a cuisine that doesn’t count calories and uses fats and oils in its dishes. It is some of the most basic food and the proof came when some of our dishes came to the table in iron skillets. The iron seals in the flavor. I love food with large chunks of meat and the jambalaya was made with shrimp and chicken. The red beans and rice was a perfect pairing along with the greens.
Everything at Heaven on Seven is made in house. There is also no danger of leaving hungry. In the mood for something different, try one of the world famous poor boys. They contain only the finest seafood and meats and are served with either gumbo, soup, or salad. They are definitely a mouthful. We got to try one of the fillings for one of these king size sandwiches. The Voodoo fried chicken we tried was in the form of an enchilada. Lots of chicken and lots of cheese. But the biggest treat was yet to come.
The true creation of the day was the beef debris over grits. I love grits and have loved them ever since our family travelled to Florida for the first time. These grits had cheese mixed in them as well as a delicious beef covering that sits comfortably on top of the grits. It was the part of the meal that will stand out in my mind for quite a while
Finally, we came to the end of the meal. With so many great desserts, it was so hard to pick so I had Jimmy pick for me. He brought me a refreshing key lime icebox pie with a graham cracker crust. I will long remember the delicious meal that we had today and will definitely return to this Southern bistro.
Heaven on Seven is located at 111 N Wabash Avenue on the 7th floor in the Garland Building. Bring cash, but don’t worry because they have an ATM right in the restaurant.