As the last days of winter are dragged out kicking and screaming by the Chicago spring, most residents of the Windy City can find themselves resenting every layer of clothing they are forced to put on, praying for the day when they can at last leave the house wearing only one pair of socks. It's days like these that Brandy feels the need to remind herself that some day soon the graying snow will melt, the sidewalks will no longer be icy death traps, and the lakefront will eventually be teaming once more with bicyclists, runners, and harried dog walkers. "I enjoy a bit of wintery weather, but Chicago does like to take things to extremes," Brandy likes to say, "It's little wonder there so much Southern American food about this city to help remind the residents that there are warmer climates elsewhere and they will soon be here too."
One such restaurant new to the icy landscape is Luella's Southern Kitchen in Lincoln Square, recently opened by chef Darnell Reed, a veteran of the Chicago hospitality scene from such places as The Palmer House Hilton and The Conrad. Chef Reed, a native to the South Side of Chicago, took inspiration from his Mississippi born grandmother, for whom the restaurant is named, designing a menu full of Southern comfort favorites to warm to hearts and minds of Chicago's shivering foodies. Craving some good old Southern hospitality (and spice), Brandy headed down to Luella's the first chance she got.
Brandy left Luella's with a happy, wistful smile on her face. The warm inviting atmosphere and lovingly made food had done wonders to lift her spirits, and the fact that the prices in general stayed well below $15 a plate insured that her wallet was as full as her stomach. "There are many things I dearly love about this city," as she put it, "And one of those things is the fact that not only is Chicago a melting pot of international flavors, its also an intersection for all of the United States. Sometimes I think a true lover of Southern food would be hard pressed to find more authentic fair outside of that region than right here in the frozen tundra of the North that we call home."
The writers of this blog were invited to dine by the restaurant at no charge in exchange for an honest review.
The Short and Sweet Review