Mardi Gras Dining and Drinking Guide

New Orleans knows how to throw a party. Mardi Gras is one of the craziest, booze- and food-filled festivities of the year, a pre-Lenten event that has transcended New Orleans to become a national celebration of gluttony and debauchery; something to be proud of. In Chicago, here's a roundup of Mardi Gras specials and events taking place this year on or around Mardi Gras, aka Fat Tuesday, on February 17. 


Tavern on Rush: It's the Gulf Coast via the Gold Coast at Tavern on Rush, where a handful of New Orleans-inspired specials will adjoin the regular menu on February 17 for lunch and dinner. Dishes include fried crawfish bites, muffaletta sandwiches, and Louisiana seafood gumbo, while Hurricanes round out the drink list.

Last year's shrimp boil at Frontier. Get ready for another go-round.

Frontier: Seeing as Frontier's executive chef hails from New Orleans, it's a safe bet your appetites will be in good hands when you visit for Mardi Gras. The Noble Square bar and restaurant is going all out with a Louisiana shrimp boil for the occasion. Beginning at 6:00 p.m., the all-you-can-eat feast comes complete with potatoes and corn, followed by King Cake, all for $33 per person. Other food and drink specials available for the holiday include red beans and rice, shrimp po' boys, Hurricanes, Sazeracs, and Abitas. Tickets for the shrimp boil can be purchased here.

Commonwealth Tavern: Roscoe Village's cozy little corner tavern is celebrating Mardi Gras with $3 Hurricanes and gumbo on special courtesy of chef Donny Farrell. 

Marion Street Market: Like they always say, Oak Park is the New Orleans of Chicago suburbs. Oh they don't say that? OK. But anyway, it will feel as such at Marion Street Market's Mardi Gras festivities this year. From February 16 through 20, the local staple will be celebrating with a slew of food and drink specials, along with live music, festive decor, and other accoutrements that will make guests feel like they're in the French Quarter — minus the illegal antics. Chef Steve Chiappetti's specials include mini muffulettas, gumbo, lobster étouffée, Bourbon Street beans and rice, fried oysters, and shrimp and grits. To drink, expect beers from Lazy Magnolias Brewing Company and cocktails like Sazeracs and something called Hot in Rio made with rhum. 

Bottlefork: Head to Bottlefork for a little meaty Mardi Gras modernity. Or a lot of it. The barstaurant is serving up Muffaletta Burgers containing Tallgrass beef, mortadella spread, crispy salami, and olive giardiniera on a ciabatta bun. It's available on Monday, February 16 as their special of the day.
Rockit Burger Bar: At Bottlefork's sister spot Rockit Burger Bar, there's another inspired burger creation to be had. This Mardi Gras Burger features a ground duck and pork patty with tart cherry salsa, crispy shallot, and a "paczki" bun with rum and orange zest icing. It's all served with Old Bay fries and available for pigging out February 14 through February 17. 

- Matt Kirouac