My wife and I are always looking for a good restaurant to add to our list of favorites. As working parents when we actually get out for a night on the town we want it to be special. But this evening was to be much more than that. It was our wedding anniversary and I wanted to do something very special for my wife. My wife loves Cajun food but I’m not so enamored with it. So when my friends suggested the Maple Tree Inn, I was a little skeptical. It is located in Blue Island, a quaint area on the South Side of Chicago. But would it live up to our expectations? I wanted our restaurant experience to include a good atmosphere, great prices and authentic New Orleans style food.
Atmosphere is a must have in a good restaurant, and in Chicago it is connected as much to the restaurant as the area the restaurant is located in. So we were surprised when we arrived on this quaint Midwestern Street which boasts two other restaurants and pub. The place looked deserted except for the legions of cars that were parked from end to end. I was skeptical of what the atmosphere would be like inside. Had my friend, an older gentleman that I worked with, send us to some place filled with forty something executives? I noticed a screen door swinging open at the entrance to the restaurant and my wife made an offhand comment about it being right out of New Orleans. When we entered the atmosphere was amazing, if you can imagine a New Orleans-style e restaurant hidden away on the Southside of Chicago. There was enough Mardi Gras style decorations; including a giant alligator trapped in Mardi-Gras style beads above the bar, twinkly lights everywhere and enormous multicolored masks hanging over the mirrors that lined the back of the restaurant. The place was full of the aroma of truly great food. We were seated at an intimate table with two over stuffed 19th-Centry Wing Chairs that completed the romantic atmosphere that I was looking for and to add to the ambiance our waitress informed us that the building was over 100 years old and was used as a speakeasy during prohibition.
When dinning out in Chicago price is often a deterrent; I wanted my wife to happy so I was hoping that this place was reasonably price. When I saw the menu I was pleasantly surprised. Everything was reasonable. The appetizers ran from $6.50 for a fresh fried pickle to only for $13 Mr. Charlie's Oysters and the pricing only got better from there. All of the entries were reasonably priced with none over $30. As for something to drink who could ask for more a great wine list and 26 beers form around the world.
Authentic New Orleans style food was what we came for and the menu was created to please. Our waitress was helpful and pleasant. She made a number of suggestions about the menu. She recommended the house red wine for my wife and the New Holland Dragon's Milk for, a beer with a hint of bourbon. For appetizers my wife