The Big Jones space is replete with velvet draperies, dark wood farmhouse style chairs, and warm glowing sconces mounted against rattan wall inlays straight out of Bombay and Company. If you avert your eyes from the gray Chicago drizzle framed by the restaurant’s large picture windows, you could easily be relaxing in a Bayou country club.
The waitstaff is just as warm and inviting as the decor, which is always a surprise on the opening night of a restaurant.
There’s real attention to detail all around. As Cinnamon Cooper of Gaper’s Block noted, the Big Jones website features a ton of cleanly laid out information. Most restaurant websites these days feature long loading worthless flash based intros. There’s none of that design ego here.
The wine list is full of food friendly Riesling, Gruner Veltliner, Malbec, and Gigondas, and is smart and focused. Likewise the cocktail list is built on classics like the Sazerac and the Gin Fizz made with homemade juices and cocktail bitters.
Really the only thing that’s confused right now is the food. There’s a ton of promise.
Crawfish and boudin croquettes drizzled with cayenne mayo inspire me to call for a ban on tired crabcakes.
Prices are totally fair with most entrees under $20 and appetizers clocking in at $7-10. If the Big Jones team can get the kitchen in sync, this will be a great spot. As it stands now though, it’s already much better than local southern fave Wishbone and the Walt Disney like national franchise ready culinary theme park that is Heaven on Seven. On the other hand, while the wait will be long and the décor nowhere near as comfortable, I’d still rather spend my money at Lagniappe (1525 W. 79th St.) on the down home southern Cajun soul food that chef Mary Madison kicks out of her kitchen.
Big Jones is located at 5347 N. Clark St., 773-275-5725