Heaven on Seven
111 N. Wabash – 7th Floor
Chicago, IL 60602
Date of Last Visit: Tuesday, October 20th, 2009
The Victim: Bevin
The Damage: Unknown…Bevin paid. But assumed to be about $12 each?
The Background: Sometimes, you have to leave a place before you get a chance to visit its institutions. Yup, eight long years in Chicago and I’d never been to the original Heaven on Seven, widely reputed to be characterful, cheerful, and strangely Chicago-like, although its cuisine is from very strictly south of the Mason-Dixon. (Can I get y’all some Asbirn to go with those grits?)
So when Bevin slipped Heaven on Seven into her list of lunch suggestions, I perked up. Really…I’ve always wanted to go to Heaven on Seven and I have no idea why I haven’t been before.
The Entrance: Cracks me up! It’s in an office building. On the 7th floor. Across from a jewelery shop. Because you know, after you have yourself some jambalaya, you want some diamonds. And the restaurant is PACKED. On a Tuesday!
The Menu: Every main comes with their “famous” gumbo or a side salad. I had to go for the gumbo. And there it is. Before you laugh, as I did when I saw the white rice, this is really how gumbo is traditionally served. With white rice. It’s good. Not great. It’s the atmosphere more than anything that has me liking everything. (And the fact that they have shrimp and cheese grits on the menu. Who was it that said that cheese couldn’t be served on shrimp?)
The place cracks me up because there’s hot sauce everywhere. And I mean everywhere. And it’s like Mardi Gras. Only in October. Heave on Seven is CRAZY. And I love it. Now if only they could do something about the food…
That’s my jambalaya. And it’s okay…like someone’s mom made it. They’re actually pretty generous with the prawns and the sausage. I thought for sure they’d skimp. (Call me a pessimist!) But the jambalaya is very wet. I take the leftovers home (God Bless America!) and try to have them for breakfast the next morning (!), but it’s all just too soupy for me. It’s a texture thing. Weird.
The Verdict: OK, so this wasn’t the greatest lunch ever. But what it lacked in tastiness, it made up for in SOUL. And Bevin swears by their sandwiches, so I need to go back for one of those po’boys. So I’d still suggest you pay a visit to Heave on Seven. It’s unique. It’s fun. And it’s old-school. I like my restaurants old-school.