Jimmy Bannos (2007 inductee to the Chicago Chef’s Hall of Fame), chef /owner at Heaven on Seven, was fresh out of cooking school when he began working at his parents’ coffee shop on the seventh floor of the Garland building in the early eighties. At the time Jimmy was experimenting with Louisiana-style cooking; customers were sampling gumbo and red beans while sipping their coffee. In 1985, when Garland’s regulars became more interested in jumbo shrimp than java, Jimmy and his folks quickly revamped their plan and transformed the coffee shop into the first Heaven on Seven. http://www.heavenonseven.com/
The Rush Street location, wedged between a multiplex movie theater and the bustle of Rush Street, the restaurant is resplendent with artifacts from New Orleans. Mardi Gras beads dangle from chandeliers, and bottles of hot sauce line the walls. Blues and Cajun music emanate from speakers overhead, while customers dine on well-worn wooden tables. Nothing fancy here — the overall vibe is laid-back Louisiana.
Jimmy’s Wall of Fire, a collection of hot sauces from around the world.
My server was well-versed in the menu and suggested what I should order for the first time customer. He was efficient and attentive without being overbearing. He even brought me all the bottles of hot sauce in the house and described how spicy each offering was.
Here was the food he recommends: Jalapeño Cheddar Corn Muffins & Gumbo
The gumbo, made with andouille sausage shipped in from Louisiana. It was spicy but not in the burn-your-tongue way. Exactly like the website describe:
People who come back from Heaven all say the same thing…try the gumbo!