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Cajun Connection - Utica, IL. - The Truth

Cajun Connection - Utica, IL. - The Truth
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  • Post #121 - March 4th, 2013, 8:44 am
    Post #121 - March 4th, 2013, 8:44 am Post #121 - March 4th, 2013, 8:44 am
    Had been carrying Cajun Connection's GNR plaque around in my truck for a few weeks since meeting Steve Z for some pizza in Romeoville.

    Built to Last: (CC hasnt been around that long, but this building has had a few tenants, I have heard stories of boxing matches being held here):

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    luck had it Ron was back from Louisiana this week, loaded down with crawfish, gulf shrimp(head on) and oysters... Spot was packed by 12:00.

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    went with the boiled crawfish and shrimp appetizer:

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    man, these bugs and shrimp hit the spot. Early season so some small crawfish, with tender small tails. Head on shrimp were really nice as well. His boil mix left a slight burn on the lips, not over the top, just subtle allowing the crawfish and shrimp to shine.

    Pricewise for the crawfish they were doing a 2lb. appetizer with corn and red potatoes for $17, and a 4 lb. dinner with gumbo for around $32 if I remember correctly. Shrimp and crawfish app was $18.

    Also enjoyed some red beans and rice and some deep fried shrimp, after this recent stop @ CC I am counting the days until we head to Lafayette, Breaux Bridge, Opelousas, New Iberia, etc. Louisana this fall.
  • Post #122 - April 25th, 2013, 3:27 pm
    Post #122 - April 25th, 2013, 3:27 pm Post #122 - April 25th, 2013, 3:27 pm
    just a heads up,

    crawfish boil starting tonight(4/25/13)through Sunday lunch or while supplies last @ CC.
  • Post #123 - April 27th, 2013, 8:02 am
    Post #123 - April 27th, 2013, 8:02 am Post #123 - April 27th, 2013, 8:02 am
    puttin my money where my mouth is last night:

    $15 - 2 lb. bug snack last night @ Cajun Connection.

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    next stop Lanutis and Rips....
  • Post #124 - September 30th, 2013, 2:26 pm
    Post #124 - September 30th, 2013, 2:26 pm Post #124 - September 30th, 2013, 2:26 pm
    Finally had the chance to swing by Ron's yesterday. My Father is a resident of the Illinois Veteran's Home in LaSalle so bypassing this chance to visit both would have been a sin!

    Had a full van of tired folk so the order of the day was "carry-outs". I know we were a pain, but the staff was over the top friendly and gracious with our requests. Even the Ron himself came out of the kitchen to harass my Sister for not getting a piece of pie.

    We took home Chicken Gumbo, Red Beans & Rice w/ sausage, and a jambalya with gater and bugs. Of the three, the Gumbo was the star and will be making it's way back home with me again next trip. I thought the "Jamba-Mess" pretty darn tasty as well though the 2 hour trip home and attempted resurrection in the micro-wave didn't do it any favors. There was plenty of bite sized gater chunks and maybe 1/4lb of breaded bug tails in the mix. Nicely spiced, and the little bit of hot sauce they put in on the side was "just" the trick it needed.

    The Red Beans...again, the trip home surely didn't help them but I didn't find the flavors I was expecting. That said, I am NOT a Cajun expert, I do make up a mess that I lovingly call our "Red Bean & Rice Gumbo" so I'm quite sure it's my flavor expectations that are off not his.

    All in all, a fun place, packed at 3PM on a Sunday, and I'll be sure to make the short detour next trip to see what's left of my Dad. (Alzheimers)
    D.G. Sullivan's, "we're a little bit Irish, and a whole lot of fun"!
  • Post #125 - October 11th, 2013, 8:49 am
    Post #125 - October 11th, 2013, 8:49 am Post #125 - October 11th, 2013, 8:49 am
    Glad you made it in DG, the gumbo is one of my favorites there.


    I really don't watch much Check Please, but I am kind of curious to see who profiled and reviewed ol' Cajun Connection for the upcoming season.

    article from a local paper:

    http://www.mywebtimes.com/archives/otta ... ?id=483136
  • Post #126 - April 7th, 2014, 7:55 am
    Post #126 - April 7th, 2014, 7:55 am Post #126 - April 7th, 2014, 7:55 am
    Nice solo lunch @ CC yesterday after making my rounds of Lasalle-Peru and Utica..:

    same as it ever was:
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    love that gumbo:

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    shrimps - bubba and p&e:

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  • Post #127 - June 27th, 2014, 8:33 am
    Post #127 - June 27th, 2014, 8:33 am Post #127 - June 27th, 2014, 8:33 am
    I know there are a handfull of folks who like crawfish and will take a drive to find them here on LTH so a heads up for them:

    Probably the last crawfish boil of the season this(6/27-6/29) Fri-Sat-Sun out @ Cajun Connection per their FB page. Pretty sure Im heading in either sat or sun - i havent eaten my yearly quota of mudbugs yet.

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cajun-Co ... 5338393724

    looks like they are offering an AYCE option., and Ron would have grabbed an extra sack of crawfish to bring north if he was contacted early enough in the week.

    It will be interesting to see what the Check Please effect is going to be - this place is usually already packed.
  • Post #128 - December 15th, 2014, 5:42 pm
    Post #128 - December 15th, 2014, 5:42 pm Post #128 - December 15th, 2014, 5:42 pm
    A quick better late than never post:

    Took a family day trip over to Utica/Starved Rock in late September. We'd never been and were very impressed with the park. Cajun Connection was everything I hoped it would be from Jim's (and other) posts here. Only bummer was that Ron was not there that day.

    My oyster/crawfish etouffee combo was outstanding as was the cup of gumbo that preceded it.

    ImageCajun Connection Combo Plate by MsLynnB, on Flickr

    The staff was great with my daughter. I am embarrassed to say that my usually adventurous young eater could not be swayed from the mac n' cheese bites that day. :(

    ImageRelaxing @ Cajun Connection by MsLynnB, on Flickr

    While I don't see us heading over in the winter, it was such a fun day that we plan to get over there a couple of times during this coming spring/summer/fall. We were sorry it took us so long to get there!
  • Post #129 - December 16th, 2014, 6:56 am
    Post #129 - December 16th, 2014, 6:56 am Post #129 - December 16th, 2014, 6:56 am
    Okay, as long as we're on the subject of long-overdue posts: I found myself down this way last spring with a work friend who hails from Opelousas, LA. I suggested the Cajun Connection for a late lunch and, natch, the deal was done. After we were seated, she asked the server if she could meet Ron - said his name sounded familiar and they might know some of the same people. Damn if that wasn't the case. Now, the food at Cajun Connection is awesome even if you don't show up with your own Cajun connection. But Ron treated us to a couple hours of food and fun that made the drive from Chicago more than worth it. He's clearly and justifiably proud of his work, and he both explained and showed it to us in great detail, sitting with us while we ate and giving us a tour of the kitchen. My Opelousas friend was more than impressed. This is the definition of a GNR even if it's not in my N by a long shot. If anyone had a notion to take over this place for an LTH event I'd make the drive in a minute. Well, maybe about 180 minutes.
  • Post #130 - December 16th, 2014, 8:53 am
    Post #130 - December 16th, 2014, 8:53 am Post #130 - December 16th, 2014, 8:53 am
    Makes me happy seeing some folks enjoying CC - Ron is one of the good guys I root for in the restaurant biz.

    - your daughter is a cutie LynnB

    just by coincidence CC was our choice for lunch on Sunday - hadnt been in for a couple months - for no other reason than that Ive been to busy traveling(discovering :wink: ) & eating.

    Gumbo was spot on(as always) and as I mentioned in the best thing ive eaten recently thread - the jambalaya smothered in crawfish etouffee was ridiculously great.

    Got one of the holiday envelopes CC hands out to customers before xmas - gotta go back in January to open the envelope and see what our food gift is.
  • Post #131 - February 9th, 2015, 9:13 am
    Post #131 - February 9th, 2015, 9:13 am Post #131 - February 9th, 2015, 9:13 am
    Cajun Connection has been packed the last couple Saturdays we had tried to roll in for an early supper - good for Ron - tough on my need for gumbo, etc.

    Got in yesterday - around 4pm. Once again blown away by the plate licking crawfish etouffee, and deep flavored red beans and rice.

    Gumbo always a standout - simple but fantastic. -

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    Shay has kind of grown up here on LTH, I know some like to see a pic of her once in a while - Making dad proud - tuning up her cup of gumbo - she went with a basket of fried crawfish tails as her entree - :

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    red beans and rice & bubba shrimp - Rons Red Beans and rice are smokey and faboo:

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    My obsession lately - Jamba -2 - Fay - Crawfish etouffee over smokey jambalaya - served with some fried shrimps.

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    the etouffee is perfection, crawfish tails still tender, and the rich butterty sauce - like I said I basically lick the plate clean - Ron told me to take it up a notch next time and add the blackened catfish filet under the etouffee - still on top of the jambalaya.

    These folks are at the top of the game and at the top of the class(by a wide margin) for this type of food in Illinois.
  • Post #132 - May 4th, 2015, 8:10 am
    Post #132 - May 4th, 2015, 8:10 am Post #132 - May 4th, 2015, 8:10 am
    looking around for where to eat on Sat. a crawfish boil at Cajun Connection had slipped past my notice. Tried to go in Sat., but encountered one of the longer lines I have seen. All the way out to the parking lot.. Damn - Wedron Office made for a great 2nd option. However mudbugs and their ungodly crawfish etouffee were front and center in my mind Sunday when I woke up. CC for lunch, hell yeah.

    Got their 15 mins before they opened as to not be shut out. Joint filled in as we ate.

    2# crawfish - $17:

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    fantastic - best bugs i have had this season and Ive had a few pounds here and there. Nice spice, tender bugs.

    Figured why not, a couple pounds of bugs wont hold me over til supper - did a pick 2 combo - crawfish etouffee and their smokey and meaty jambalaya. Works well with the sweet crawfish etouffee sauce.

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    bomb. went home and took a 2 hour nap.

    Ron's got it down.
  • Post #133 - May 5th, 2015, 11:00 pm
    Post #133 - May 5th, 2015, 11:00 pm Post #133 - May 5th, 2015, 11:00 pm
    The only word that comes to mind is..."yum". I do miss making a drive up to Utica and the Connection. My Dad died a year ago this month so no need for my weekly trip to visit. Now, with the sale of our Pub we've found ourselves in the beauty of Alaska! A real change up for us career and lifestyle wise, but oh so worth it! The only problem...no Cajun.
    D.G. Sullivan's, "we're a little bit Irish, and a whole lot of fun"!
  • Post #134 - May 6th, 2015, 7:22 am
    Post #134 - May 6th, 2015, 7:22 am Post #134 - May 6th, 2015, 7:22 am
    D.G.Sullivan wrote:The only word that comes to mind is..."yum". I do miss making a drive up to Utica and the Connection. My Dad died a year ago this month so no need for my weekly trip to visit. Now, with the sale of our Pub we've found ourselves in the beauty of Alaska! A real change up for us career and lifestyle wise, but oh so worth it! The only problem...no Cajun.


    good to hear from you DG, best of luck to you and yours up in Alaska.

    too bad there has been no cajun up there so far for you, but I bet plenty of fresh crabs and fish.
  • Post #135 - May 6th, 2015, 11:45 am
    Post #135 - May 6th, 2015, 11:45 am Post #135 - May 6th, 2015, 11:45 am
    Yes, good to hear from you, D.G.!
    "Your swimming suit matches your eyes, you hold your nose before diving, loving you has made me bananas!"
  • Post #136 - May 21st, 2015, 7:39 am
    Post #136 - May 21st, 2015, 7:39 am Post #136 - May 21st, 2015, 7:39 am
    hooked on the CC lately - been rolling in a couple times a month since the new year for some of the addicting crawfish etouffee over jambalaya. Of course some shrimps -

    a better pic than ive gotten previously - mmmercy....
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    gumbo too.

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    beating the drum til' the word is out.
  • Post #137 - June 21st, 2019, 1:29 pm
    Post #137 - June 21st, 2019, 1:29 pm Post #137 - June 21st, 2019, 1:29 pm
    Cajun Connection has moved. 2958 N. State Route 178 in Utica.

    https://chicago.eater.com/2019/6/21/187 ... ummer-2019
    Hors D'oeuvre: A ham sandwich cut into forty pieces.
    - Jack Benny

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