Chums Shrimp Shack Review – East Dundee, IL

Chums Shrimp Shack Review(This will be the longest intro to a review that you’ve ever encountered!) When I was a sprout growing up on the shores of the Big Kitch-Gumee (Lake Superior), once per year, in late Spring, when the rivers feeding the lakes reached a certain temperature, the waters would be chock-a-block full of a small silvery fish called “Smelt.” The head upriver to spawn.

In the extreme, Smelt will grow to be about 7 inches long and weigh a few ounces. In nature, Smelt are food fish for salmon and lake trout.

The run would last a few days or a week, and one could count on the media for an announcement of “they’re running!”

Men would pile into cars and pickups, boys would hop on their bikes, and all would head to the rivers, with the official tool of the trade, a long handled dip net and containers to place their bounty.

In those days, one could literally dip a net in the water and lift it out teeming with hundreds of fish. Some people would fill actual garbage cans to take home.

While the rivers were shoulder to shoulder with people clad in waders, the shores were dotted with fires – as one didn’t know how long the run would last (it could stop as quickly as it began), hard core enthusiasts would stay out all night. The fish were so thick in the river, playful dogs would jump in and grab them with their teeth. Can’t really say whether they ate them or not, don’t remember that.

Concurrent with the effort, numerous charities would set up massive tents around town, and host “Smelt fries” where you could buy a heaping plate full of the fried beauties for not very much money. Due to their diminutive size, Smelts are fried and consumed whole, heads, guts, and all.

The less adventurous consumer might prefer to take their repast at a local bar, where most likely the fish had the heads removed before frying.

So to recap, in my hometown, you can be served fried smelt once a year. Not so in Chicago, where it’s on the menu year round at most Greek restaurants, as well as any of the dozens of places that specialize in fried shrimp.

Chums Shrimp Shack in new on the scene in East Dundee, IL. They offer fried shrimp, clams, oysters, smelt, cod, tenders as well as daily specials like a walleye sandwich, or catfish strips. Also in their regular offerings are wraps and po-boys.

As I am writing this, they’ve been open about a week, and are in a location that previously served an outstanding burger. Bomba’s Grill. I wrote about it. Sad that it’s gone, but Chums more than makes up for it.

I ordered the Smelt, in case you hadn’t figured out where this piece was going. The seafood offerings come in ½ pound or full pound servings. Some competitors offer ¼ pound servings as well.

The fishies were delicious. A light breading with a mild seasoning (lemon pepper?), very crispy, bite sized pieces. Childhood memories flood back.

Think I’ll be a regular. I didn’t try their fries or slaw today, but I will. Maybe I’ll even be able to talk them into offering onion rings.  Full menu below or online.

Chums Shrimp Shack Review

Smelt on the hoof

Chums Shrimp Shack Review

1/2 pound fried smelt basket


Chums Shrimp Shack Review

Menu – click to enlarge

Chums Shrimp Shack Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Chums Shrimp Shack Review

Chums Shrimp Shack Review

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Village Squire Review, Dundee, IL

Village Squire ReviewSporting an English pub decor, the Village Squire is a mini chain with four locations in the W / NW Suburbs of Chicago.

They’ve been around since 1958. It’s casual dining, with an extensive menu as well as daily specials. Special kid’s menu has more options than you’re used to seeing at fast casual restaurants.

The menu includes quite a few small plates that you could share (but you don’t have to!), burgers, sandwiches, salads, pizza, steak, chicken, fish, and pastas.

We happened to land on Tuesday, which is half-price burger day, any burger on the menu, and there are a lot of combinations to choose from.

They start with a half pound, served with pickle, lettuce, tomato and any other toppings you choose, with side options including steak fries, house made chips, cottage cheese, cole slaw, rice, baked potato,  sweet potato fries, rings, fruit, or soup.  (the last four require a slight up charge, but less than you’re used to seeing!).

I zeroed in on the bacon/bleu burgers with rings. Superb. Tasty meat patty, good grind, substantial bun.

Full bar, occasional live music, sports tvs, video gaming, nooks and crannies for tables.  And like most places, the thing that made the experience was the deft handling by server Jackie F.  She was not only affable and menu knowledgeable, she asked questions above and beyond standard service expectations.

A simple example, we asked for glasses of water, and she asked if we’d like lemons with it. YES! So she brought a small dish. And like that.

So, two burgers, sides, drinks, $14.  I’ll be back. Often.  Thanks, Jackie!

Village Squire Review


Village Squire Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Village Squire Review

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