Troha’s may be Chicago’s oldest shrimp house, but it lured customers with cheap beer and chili when it opened in 1920. Â When chili meat became scarce during the Great Depression, Troha’s had to serve smoked and fresh fish instead. Â After a 1935 trip to New Orleans, the Troha family got hooked on shrimp and permanently deleted chili and beer from its menu. Â Run by third- and fourth-generation family members today, the restaurant’s interior crawls with dusty nautical bric-a-brac, including an oar with fading blue paint, a model of a multimasted sailing ship and conch shells.
For more than 80 years, Troha’s has perfected the golden, lightly battered, fried shrimp, which are some of the best in Chicago. Â If you’re not fond of shrimp, try the fried chicken made true to its 1959 recipe. Â Its special ingredient remains a secret, but here’s a hint: The woman who runs the cash register has the word “love” tattooed on her hand.
Troha’s Shrimp House;Â 4151 W. 26th Street, Chicago (773) 521-7847