Mardi Gras day celebrations can be hard to find in Chicago.The Tuesday before Ash Wednesday (beginning of lent) is usually a more cold and subdued one on Chicago with Punchki Day (pyczaki) on April 24 and thoughts of what it is you will give up for lent this year. Chicago’s heavily Catholic areas of the city aren’t really known for celebrating Mardi Gras.
Things are changing with the way the world keeps getting smaller, and more connected. Any holiday celebrated anywhere in the world is a reason to toss a few drinks back and celebrate. New Orleans does Mardi Gras like nobody else, and Chicago would like to offer some fun like that but without the flashing, since it is a bit colder here. Most of what you will find in Chicago for Mardi Gras is centered around restaurant specials and drink specials at bars. Possibly some good creole and gumbo, in the New Orleans tradition.
The tradition was to let loose before this period of fasting and deprevity so one night out with some drinks and some unhealthy food is enjoyable without becoming a regular habit that sabotages your diet plans. There are plenty of places that serve decadent food to fit the bill this year. Some local Chicago restaurants with Mardi Gras specials this year are:
Marche in the west loop: They have a menu of Creole-inspired French dishes. On Mardi Gras Tuesday, diners get free beads with their meal. (classy) after 5:30 p.m. Prices range from about $15 to $35 per plate for dinner not including drinks. Reservations are recommended. Address: 833 W. Randolph St. in Chicago, IL Phone: 312-226-8399.
Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen: This new Orleans Style Restaurant has a week long party planned that includes a $5.95 craw fish boil (Thursday) and happy hour in the bar from 3-7 pm featuring appetizer deals starting at $1.95 (Friday), live music (Saturday), keepsake Mardi Gras glasses (Sunday), free meals for kids 4-8 p.m. with purchase of adult entree (Monday) and a huge Fat Tuesday party. Prices range from $12 to $25 per dinner not including drinks. Address: 921 Pasquinelli Drive, Westmont, IL just off Route 83, Phone: 630-455-9846 for a reservation.