Chicago's Lincoln Square will soon be the home of a new Southern regional restaurant, Luella's Southern Kitchen, opening Feb. 3, 2015.
Luella's will be a delight for fans of Southern cuisine, who now won't have to hop on an airplane to enjoy this iconic and varied American style of cooking.
Luella's Southern Kitchen is the brainchild of Chef, owner, and Chicago native Darnell Reed who has built a strong culinary resume over the past 18 years. Luella's Southern Kitchen is named after Reed's great-grandmother, Luella, whose delicious Southern recipes inspired him to pursue his passion for cooking as a career.
The restaurant will be casual and friendly, with a contemporary yet rustic feel and an emphasis on high quality dishes representing the many variations of regional Southern cuisine. The menu includes both traditional and creative interpretations of Southern favorites from Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and the Carolinas.
"We're inviting our guests to enjoy a casual and comfortable meal with no pretense, just great food and service," Reed says. "They'll have a great time simply enjoying and learning about this amazing food. Everything will be freshly prepared using fine locally sourced ingredients.”
Luella's menu will take a mix and match approach, with a variety of appetizers, small plates, sandwiches, salads, large plates, sides, and desserts that can be combined in a myriad of ways to create a simple meal or a hearty Southern feast.
Guests will order at the counter and the food will be brought to their table. The restaurant will open as a BYOB with no corkage fee.
Among the mouthwatering soup creations are She Crab Soup with black and red tobiko, brioche, and sherry reduction; and Chicken Gumbo with dark stock with Creole seasoning, Andouille sausage, rice, and scallions.
Salads include the Kale Ambrosia, with kale, citrus segments, pineapple, goat cheese, candied pecans, toasted coconut, basil, and lime vinaigrette; and the Quinoa Salad with arugula, grilled peaches, sunflower seed vinaigrette and sweet potato crumble.
Traditional choices will include Forever Braised Short Rib Mac and Cheese, with Mornay sauce, thyme, and butter bread crumbs; Southern Flatbread with smoked chicken, Andouille sausage, fried pickles, pimento cheese, and Carolina BBQ; Bourbon Chicken and Waffles withcrispy chicken, Liege waffle, and bourbon maple syrup; and Shrimp and Grits with New Orleans BBQ shrimp served with cream cheese grits.
Luella's signature entrée will be the Low Country Shrimp and Crab Boil, with Kielbasa and Andouille sausage, corn, boiled potatoes, and toasted baguette
Side dishes add another taste of Southern hospitality to the meal. Choices include Lemon and Cajun Seasoned Fries; Buttermilk Biscuits with Sorghum Drizzle; Glazed Sweet Potatoes with sorghum, cumin, and chili ancho; and Roasted and Chilled Beets with cream cheese smear, Creole spiced pistachios, balsamic reduction, and extra virgin olive oil.
Southern dessert lovers won't be disappointed. Luella's will serve fresh homemade Beignets and an all-time Mississippi favorite, Mississippi Mud Pie—a dark chocolate and pecan pie with chocolate crust and praline ice cream.
Some of the most appealing aspects of Southern cuisine are the delicious breakfast recipes, and Luella's will offer a Southern Brunch Saturday and Sunday, served from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The menu includes a variety of sweet and savory selections. On the sweeter side are the Bananas Foster Pancakes, buttermilk pancakes with Bananas Foster topping, and Chicory Coffee French Toast with coffee crème brulee batter with fresh berries.
Savory brunch items include Southern Benedict and an Andouille Sausage Quiche.
The dessert selection during brunch includes one item not on the regular lunch and dinner menu, the Milk Chocolate Bread Pudding with strawberry jam Anglaise and praline ice cream.