Cajun Boil & Bar open in Pleasant District

New restaurant and bar gives locals a taste of the bayou

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By Timothy Inklebarger

Staff Reporter

On a Friday afternoon in Oak Park's Pleasant District, the music is thumping, and while the 200-seat Cajun Boil & Bar isn't packed, the restaurant has attracted a solid crowd of about a dozen tables. 

"It's not a quiet restaurant," said co-owner and managing partner Kurtis Lott. "It's like your backyard picnic where you're talking to friends and you're talking to family and you're cracking open some crawfish and some king crab legs and snow crab legs."

He said the spot, which opened less than two weeks ago at 1109 South Blvd., is the perfect place for a Friday lunch.

"The weekend is almost there, and maybe you've got some plans going on — we can kind of be your pre-game," he said, taking breaks during the interview to answer phone calls and direct newly trained staff.

Cajun Boil & Bar is the newest restaurant in the downtown area, and the newest location for Lott and company, which opened a location in Oak Brook last October and another in Orland Park in March. The fourth location is expected to open in September in Joliet.

Oak Parkers Joniqua Clay and Kiarra Burnett were among the new customers enjoying a shrimp and crab legs lunch special. While they agreed to be interviewed, nothing was slowing them down as they dug into their spicy Cajun meal. 

"It's our first time," Clay said, adding that she used to have to drive all the way to Oak Brook before the new location opened in her backyard.

"We heard about it from our family," she said, noting that the lunch special was "not too spicy."

Meanwhile, Burnett finished off one of Cajun Boil & Bar's signature voodoo drinks.

Lott said the "voodoo juices" come in two different styles: "We have our Tropical Storm, which is a pretty rough storm, but we also have the Category Five, which is the monster."

The full bar is one of the big things that distinguishes Cajun Boil & Bar from its competitors, Lott said, but the restaurant's seafood boils are the main attraction.

"We do a lot of Louisiana Cajun-style dishes — po' boy sandwiches, our catfish is phenomenal, our gumbo is next to none," he said.

While the food and drinks are the main attraction, the lively atmosphere, which transports patrons down to the bayou, is a key element that Lott is betting will have customers coming back. 

"How fitting," he said. "You have a one-of-a-kind restaurant in a one-of-a-kind town. It's a match made in heaven."

Lott and company are planning a grand opening event for early September, and over the next few months will begin offering delivery, catering and a brunch menu.

"It's all about our atmosphere. It's all about our sauce. It's all about our environment," he said.

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Reader Comments

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Paul Clark  

Posted: September 16th, 2019 11:12 AM

I was there a week or so ago on a Saturday night, about 8:30. Sat at the bar because there was a wait to get into the dining area -- imagine that! A restaurant in OP where you have to wait to get a seat at 8:30 on a Saturday night. Sitting at the bar was fine -- it was a bit quieter than the dining room. Had crabcakes and hush puppies and both were excellent. Enjoyed watching the bartenders make ridiculously large drinks. Service was a tad slow, even for basics like getting water while sitting at the bar. But I will go back.

Tom Leeds  

Posted: September 16th, 2019 10:12 AM

I wonder how they are doing. I looked at their website and it states "We play music at louder than normal levels and it may contain explicit language" so I think they might be perceived as not family friendly.

Katie Frantz from Chicago  

Posted: August 30th, 2019 11:24 PM

Was so excited to try them and we did tonight only to be so very disappointed. Service was slow, but we expected that being they have just recently opened. We enjoyed the food we had but when the check came, we were told by our waitress that they do not accept credit cards (in this case a Visa) issued by USAA, a bank that services active military, veterans, and their families only. They accept Visa cards, they do not take ANY credit cards issued by USAA. We will not return. The manager stated they had posted signs stating this policy all over, which we then looked for, could not find, and asked her to show us. The signs were not posted. The manager stated they do not accept USAA cards at ANY of their locations. We will be contacting USAA, Visa, and Cajun Boil's corporate office to discuss this further. Very sad as I really wanted to love this place and become a regular.

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