Friday, July 24, 2009

BJ's Market & Bakery

-Grubbing in Chicago
Where the locals eat.

You may not of noticed it but summer is here and the Taste of Chicago has come and gone again and with that you also may of noted nothing about the worlds largest food festival on this site. Well that's because as a lifelong resident of the city its something I grew out of sometime in high school. Its still something that should be done by any visitor or newly transplanted resident of the city which just isn't me. One of the reasons I don't go is because I can just go to the actual restaurant and get a better prepared version of what it is I'm eating and avoid the traffic and crowds of people and urinals. I would also say that more than half of the food there-while still good-wouldn't qualify as the best of Chicago. With all that said if not for the Taste I wouldn't have grown up on the legend that is BJ's Market & Bakery in Chicago's Stoney Island.

I always did and still pay a visit to the Southside

When I was a young lad and visited the Taste with my family every summer one of my must eat items was always the mustard fried catfish from BJ's Bakery. I'm not sure how long BJ's has been a part of the Taste of Chicago but its one of the events longer tenured vendors. I'm lucky they've been a part of it so long because there's no way in hell my parents were ever going to drive all the way to a restaurant in Stoney Island so the only time I got to eat at BJ's was the Taste. The food at BJ's can only be described as family style homecooked food that comes out fast with nice heaping portions and is beat your belly good.

View from the tables

On Sundays at the Stoney Island location there is a buffet offered but other than that you walk up to the line and view the days fresh made spread which features a wide variety of items such as smothered pork, salmon steamed in mustard dill sauce, beef short ribs and whatever else is on special at the moment-after a few tough decisions you place your order and sit down and they bring it out to you in no time. Not everything on the menu is featured in the display hot case and so there is also a lunch/dinner menu that stays the same on the wall behind the counter. Items that are popular and made to order include the fried chicken, fried shrimp, fried green tomatoes and that queen of all catfish dishes-the mustard fried catfish. Also on there are rib tips, smoked chicken, turkey wings, chopped steak and a wall full of other delicious stick to your ribs foods.

The hot case is flooded with good eats

you'll want one of each...

...which is impossible so it'll keep you coming back

fried chicken with mashed

Roasted chicken with mashed and cornbread stuffing

When John Meyer-the owner and founder of BJ's-opened up his spot back in 1997 he brought with him a mustard fried catfish recipe that had been in his family forever. Its now a part of the Chicago family since it has so many fans who cant get enough of the perfectly fried catfish with no oil residue whatsoever. On top of the best piece of fried catfish you can eat there's that mustard sauce that goes with it. One bite of the two together and it feels like a 1970's Soul party is dancing away in your mouth.

Mustard fried catfish (w/ greens and mac) is my favorite dish at the Taste of Chicago

I haven't had a chance to get to BJ's for breakfast since they started serving it but if its anything like lunch and dinner and you know it is, then I better plan seven trips a week to the gym instead of just three. I always have to work out a little longer after a trip to BJs and that's because even a guy like me who's not a big on desserts knows you don't skip that course over at the market. People in Chicago looking for the real bona fide peach cobbler look no further. The buttery and sugary crust mixed with the peaches and cinnamon might make it my favorite desert in the city-if not for the banana pudding sitting right next to it. Which is my favorite desert menu item in the city of Chicago. You'll have to head on over to see for yourself.

Make 'em say mmmmm-its what they do

BJ's knows dessert

BJs Market & Bakery
8734 S Stony Island Ave
Chicago, IL 60617-2708
(773) 374-4700
Website (menu posted)

Bj's Market & Bakery on Urbanspoon


S3XinthePantry said...

This looks mega yum... I've been away from Chicago too long!

SnacksGiving said...

oh boy I am hungry...i so wanna eat it all!! I am your latest subscriber now!
BTW, I would really like it if you could visit my blog and/or give me some comments.


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