Lunch in the Loop just got a little more affordable: To celebrate the 30th anniversary of his original Heaven on Seven restaurant on Wabash in Chicago, chef/owner Jimmy Bannos is rolling back the prices on all entrees at that spot to $7.95 in May. "I want to thank my customers for their loyal following for the last 30 years," Bannos said. "And in these [tough economic] times, I want to give them a little gift."
That little gift can add up to a whole lot of fantastic New Orleans-style grub. Dishes like the Mardi Gras jambalaya, the Southern fried Louisiana soft shell crab salad, Southern fried oyster po' boy and Bannos' favorites: the chicken andouille sausage gumbo, the etouffee and "any of the po' boys."
Bannos, a third-generation restaurateur who was inducted into the Chicago Chefs Hall of Fame in 2007, also now works alongside his son, Jimmy Jr. (the head chef at Bannos' new spot the Purple Pig) and his daughter works the front of the house at Wabash. "To have your son or daughter carry the torch or be interested in what you're doing ... it's fantastic."
And while Bannos is busy with his three Heaven on Seven locations and the uber-popular Purple Pig, this chef is far from slowing down. He said he has ideas "swirling in my head" to open a po' boy shop in a heavily trafficked walking area like DePaul. But for now, it's about the 30th anniversary of Wabash. Bannos plans to celebrate throughout the year with special dinners where he wants of fly up some of his famous New Orleans chef pals to help cook special dinners.
Another big thing to celebrate is that when the building that houses Heaven on Seven went condo, Bannos bough the space, so he doesn't have to worry about losing his lease anytime soon. "The legacy will continue ... I feel it's going to be there a minimum of another 30 years. Shit, I'll be 80—I ain't going anywhere!"
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