Luella‘s Southern Kitchen is a new Southern restaurant in Chicago’s Lincoln Square launched this past February by the talented chef and owner Darnell Reed. The food is delicious. Trust me.
Chef Reed is a graduate of the Washburne Culinary Institute and is best known for his 18-year career at Hilton Hotels. He has always dreamed of opening his own restaurant inspired by his great-grandmother Luella, from whom he gained his great love of Southern cuisine, he explained.
“The great thing about Southern cuisine is that it offers a wide range of tasty flavor profiles,” said Chef Reed. “While many of the Southern staples remain on the heartier side, warmer weather gives cooks in The South an opportunity to take advantage of seasonal produce and lighten up the dishes. This is what we’re doing this spring at Luella‘s. We’re also making some changes to respond to the requests of our guests.”
Now that the Chicago weather is breaking (kind of), people can’t help but peek into Luella‘s Southern Kitchen big picture windows to see the casual restaurant serving both traditional and contemporary versions of Southern food with roots in Louisiana, Georgia, Mississippi and the Carolinas. The restaurant serves lunch and dinner Tuesday through Friday and brunch and dinner on Saturday and Sunday.
I paid a visit this past weekend with my wife and we enjoyed a delicious meal that included crispy Fried Green Tomatoes served with cayenne remoulade and seasoned just right.
We shared an amazing entree of Bourbon Chicken and Waffles: golden crispy chicken with a Liege waffle and bourbon maple syrup that was crunchy, sweet and juicy. This was the best plate of chicken and waffles I’ve ever had.
We also had two buttermilk biscuits with sorghum drizzle, and a beef BBQ brisket mac and cheese. It’s a rare occasion that we eat beef and the “nuggets” of beef in the mac and cheese were extremely tender.
For dessert, we had the delicious Blackberry Hand Pie, served with house made salted caramel ice cream and a New Orleans favorite, the beignet that was hot, fluffy and just the right amount of powdered sugar.
We also tried the Blenheim’s Spicy Ginger Ale from South Carolina. The zesty soda is made with water from the natural mineral springs in Blenheim, South Carolina and Jamaican ginger and the Triple XXX Root Beer, bottled since 1918 from the Galveston-Houston area of Texas. It was a treat to have some unique drinks to choose from besides the staples of ice tea, lemonade and traditional sodas.
“We are thrilled to bring these unique and exceptional soft drinks to our guests,” said Reed. “We want everyone to know that, at Luella‘s, we are passionate about serving food and beverages that are delicious, authentically Southern and made with love. Each of these legendary sodas had their origins at small independent businesses and we’re proud to continue the tradition here in Chicago.”
Overall, the entree prices are very reasonable and the portions are filling.
Luella’s offer a nice looking Watermelon Salad, with benne seeds, arugula, Fleur de Sel and sorghum vinaigrette that I’ll try next time. Below are a few images from our meal. Visit their website to view the entire menu at Luella’s Kitchen.