LTH Home

Army & Lou's, Soul Food [Pictures]

Army & Lou's, Soul Food [Pictures]
  • Forum HomePost Reply BackTop
  • Army & Lou's, Soul Food [Pictures]

    Post #1 - November 28th, 2007, 9:46 am
    Post #1 - November 28th, 2007, 9:46 am Post #1 - November 28th, 2007, 9:46 am
    LTHForum,

    I've been to Army & Lou's 8-10 times over the years and each time, with my first bite, I wonder why I don't go more often.* Nicely decorated, comfortable, friendly professional service with terrific food, in particular the Fried Chicken, crisp exterior, moist chicken flesh with a slightly salty edge, and tender Catfish fillet.

    Army & Lou's
    Image

    Fried Chicken
    Image

    Catfish Fillet
    Image

    We started with gratis corn muffins, crisp edges yielding to soft interior, flavor packed gumbo, nice hunks of andouille in a no roux style broth and fine, but in no way memorable, Hot and Sweet chicken wings.

    Corn Muffins
    Image

    Gumbo
    Image

    We had three smothered dishes, the best of the three being Smothered Chicken, a mistake on the part of the kitchen,** full rich gravy, impossibly tender white meat with a hint of coating, tender Short Ribs, though the rich beef flavor was slightly overpowered by the gravy, and the one almost miscue of the evening Smothered Chicken Livers which simply did not come together.

    Smothered Chicken
    Image

    Smothered Short Ribs
    Image

    Smothered Chicken Livers
    Image

    As an aside, Culinary Historians of Chicago are presenting a program Dec 8th on Smothered Southern Style, which sounds quite interesting.

    For reasons that were, and still are for that matter, unfathomable to me Pigmon ordered ribs, which proved to be a textbook example of Chicago Style fall off the bone baked ribs. Not my cup of tea, but they were a nicely done version.

    Chicago Style Ribs
    Image

    Sides were a highlight, baked Mac and Cheese, greens w/table pepper vinegar, beets, stuffing w/gravy, even the sweet potato, normally a sticky sweet mass of goo, had integrity and did not succumb to sugary sweet overload.

    Greens
    Image

    Beets (Foreground)
    Image

    Service in the form of genial waitress Kim was quite good and Miss Reynolds herself came out for a moment of chat.

    Miss Reynolds (Owner, Army & Lou's)
    Image

    Full bar, reasonable prices, top-notch Southern Style food in a comfortable nicely appointed restaurant, Army & Lou's is high on my Early and Often list.

    Image


    Enjoy,
    Gary

    *Reason being it's 140-blocks from my house on the Edens/Dan Ryan
    **It's my policy to always keep mistakes, it may, as in the case of the Smothered Chicken, prove to be delicious

    Army & Lou's
    422 E 75th St
    Chicago, IL 60619
    773-483-3100
    www.armyandlous.com
    9am - 10pm
    Closed Tuesday
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #2 - November 28th, 2007, 10:02 am
    Post #2 - November 28th, 2007, 10:02 am Post #2 - November 28th, 2007, 10:02 am
    Never seen greens presented with slice of tomato and onion -- flavors seem like they'd work together, but presentation seems unusual (hard to eat?). I remember the greens as being very good, cooked with smoked turkey, dense, and not boiled to the point where they give up their vegetal tang and mouthfeel.

    Last time I was at A&L, I also had the chitterlings (I try to eat them once per decade).

    I appreciate Pigmon's effort to try the ribs -- if they had been great, THAT would be news (Similarly, I've ordered the Seafood Platter, which was also not so hot, for the same reason).
    “We all have to stand before the kitchen gods.” Chef Jacob Sahaya Kumar Aruni
  • Post #3 - November 28th, 2007, 10:32 am
    Post #3 - November 28th, 2007, 10:32 am Post #3 - November 28th, 2007, 10:32 am
    G Wiv wrote:Army & Lou's
    Image


    Thanks for this report. I've had soul food on the brain since reading about the discovery of Malinda Russell's 19th-century cook-pamphlet. I don't need to find a catfish fricassee, but I've been thinking that I need to start sorting out the nuances of soul food here in Chicago. I decided last week that this will be my new year's resolution. Army & Lou's will be my first stop.
  • Post #4 - November 28th, 2007, 11:23 am
    Post #4 - November 28th, 2007, 11:23 am Post #4 - November 28th, 2007, 11:23 am
    David Hammond wrote:Never seen greens presented with slice of tomato and onion -- flavors seem like they'd work together, but presentation seems unusual (hard to eat?).


    I've seen plenty of this throughout my upbringing at home meals. I also have a good number of family members, and friends of family who crush their cornbread and mix it in with the greens. Might be a regional thing rooted in the deep south. My family hails from a small town outside of Jackson, Ms. All of the pics here are great (as usual from Gwiv) but honestly, the one that has me salivating is the pic of the greens with the mention of the pepper/vinegar sauce. When it's right, man o man....
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #5 - November 28th, 2007, 11:58 am
    Post #5 - November 28th, 2007, 11:58 am Post #5 - November 28th, 2007, 11:58 am
    seebee wrote:
    David Hammond wrote:Never seen greens presented with slice of tomato and onion -- flavors seem like they'd work together, but presentation seems unusual (hard to eat?).


    I've seen plenty of this throughout my upbringing at home meals. I also have a good number of family members, and friends of family who crush their cornbread and mix it in with the greens. Might be a regional thing rooted in the deep south. My family hails from a small town outside of Jackson, Ms. All of the pics here are great (as usual from Gwiv) but honestly, the one that has me salivating is the pic of the greens with the mention of the pepper/vinegar sauce. When it's right, man o man....


    Can't say I'm surprised -- seems like with a standard side like this, you'd come up with multiple ways to "enhance" it. What I was reacting to, though, was the big slices on top of greens -- if this were my lunch, I'd slice tomatoes and onions and sprinkle on top.
    “We all have to stand before the kitchen gods.” Chef Jacob Sahaya Kumar Aruni
  • Post #6 - November 28th, 2007, 7:48 pm
    Post #6 - November 28th, 2007, 7:48 pm Post #6 - November 28th, 2007, 7:48 pm
    Did they have chitterlings? If they did and you havent had them try them next time.
  • Post #7 - November 28th, 2007, 9:38 pm
    Post #7 - November 28th, 2007, 9:38 pm Post #7 - November 28th, 2007, 9:38 pm
    iblock9 wrote:Did they have chitterlings? If they did and you havent had them try them next time.


    P.S. If you, or anyone would like sound like you're "hip" (for lack of a better term) when ordering - slang for chitlins is "wrinkles" or "grays." "Wrinkles" seems to be a more universally accepted name for them.

    And always, ALWAYS eat them with hot sauce. The reg red vinegary stuff. Growing up, chitlins were whittled from most holiday meals, down to Thanksgiving and Xmas only, down to xmas only, and now, pretty much never. What a way to stink up an entire block. (you can't cook them indoors- crock pot on the back porch was the preferred method.)
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #8 - November 28th, 2007, 10:04 pm
    Post #8 - November 28th, 2007, 10:04 pm Post #8 - November 28th, 2007, 10:04 pm
    seebee wrote:And always, ALWAYS eat them with hot sauce. The reg red vinegary stuff. Growing up, chitlins were whittled from most holiday meals, down to Thanksgiving and Xmas only, down to xmas only, and now, pretty much never. What a way to stink up an entire block. (you can't cook them indoors- crock pot on the back porch was the preferred method.)


    You can cook them indoors IF they are PROPERLY cleaned. Finding a vendor that properly cleans them is a challenge.
  • Post #9 - November 28th, 2007, 10:55 pm
    Post #9 - November 28th, 2007, 10:55 pm Post #9 - November 28th, 2007, 10:55 pm
    happy_stomach wrote:Thanks for this report. I've had soul food on the brain since reading about the discovery of Malinda Russell's 19th-century cook-pamphlet.

    happy_stomach,
    Jan Longone was kind enough to share facsimile copies of Mrs. Russell's cookbook with the people who attended the 2nd Biennial Symposium on American Culinary History at the Longone Center of the Clements Library of the University of Michigan. (The author of the article you linked to, Molly O'Neill, was there, and her new book was also a gift to the participants.) I have one of these facsimile copies if you would like to take a look at it.

    happy stomach wrote: I don't need to find a catfish fricassee, but I've been thinking that I need to start sorting out the nuances of soul food here in Chicago. I decided last week that this will be my new year's resolution. Army & Lou's will be my first stop.

    I hope you post on the Events board, because I would like to sign on to that resolution of yours.
    Man : I can't understand how a poet like you can eat that stuff.
    T. S. Eliot: Ah, but you're not a poet.
  • Post #10 - November 28th, 2007, 11:24 pm
    Post #10 - November 28th, 2007, 11:24 pm Post #10 - November 28th, 2007, 11:24 pm
    David Hammond wrote:What I was reacting to, though, was the big slices on top of greens -- if this were my lunch, I'd slice tomatoes and onions and sprinkle on top.

    The first time I went to Edna's, Edna came over to see what we'd ordered after our food arrived. She saw my naked little bowl of collards sitting there and ran off in a huff. She came back with a saucer with one slice of tomato and one slice of onion, plopped them on top of my greens, and then grabbed my fork and butter knife and showed me how to slice them up into the greens. They added a freshness and crunch that really worked with the smokey, rich greens. I have hard time eating them any other way now.
    (Beautiful pics and report, Gary.)

    Kristen

    Edna's Restaurant
    3175 W. Madison
    773-638-7079
  • Post #11 - November 29th, 2007, 1:34 pm
    Post #11 - November 29th, 2007, 1:34 pm Post #11 - November 29th, 2007, 1:34 pm
    You can cook them indoors IF they are PROPERLY cleaned. Finding a vendor that properly cleans them is a challenge.


    Here's where to go:

    http://retail.moo-oink.com/products/chitlins.html

    Not many meat marts can make this claim:

    "Only our Moo & Oink Hand-Cleaned Chitlins are nationally famed; they're cleaned year-round by our experienced team of Chitlin Cleaners."
    "The fork with two prongs is in use in northern Europe. In England, they’re armed with a steel trident, a fork with three prongs. In France we have a fork with four prongs; it’s the height of civilization." Eugene Briffault (1846)
  • Post #12 - November 29th, 2007, 2:49 pm
    Post #12 - November 29th, 2007, 2:49 pm Post #12 - November 29th, 2007, 2:49 pm
    jbw wrote:
    You can cook them indoors IF they are PROPERLY cleaned. Finding a vendor that properly cleans them is a challenge.


    Here's where to go:

    http://retail.moo-oink.com/products/chitlins.html

    Not many meat marts can make this claim:

    "Only our Moo & Oink Hand-Cleaned Chitlins are nationally famed; they're cleaned year-round by our experienced team of Chitlin Cleaners."



    In my first job out of college, I ran a cafeteria in southern Virginia. It was a hospital tradition that we serve chitterlings twice a year. We always used the AL Duck Co. of Zuni, VA as they were known for their CLEAN chillerlings. Most people (justifiably) will not eat the chitterlings unless they know the person (or vendor) who has cleaned them. I had no cook on my staff who would clean 60+# of chitterlings for those days.
  • Post #13 - November 29th, 2007, 3:55 pm
    Post #13 - November 29th, 2007, 3:55 pm Post #13 - November 29th, 2007, 3:55 pm
    I certainly remember having to help for a few hours when mom and gramma were cleaning one of the 10 lb pails. Sink full, cold water running, picking the tiny little knots, and sheaths of skin (and whatever else it was. :shock: )

    The work:reward ratio was never quite as bountiful as say something like tamales, or bbq, but it was kind of a tradition thing. I ate them, and so did my dad and gramma, but as I recall, many of the fam scoffed at them, and the tradition just kinda died out. I might make a suprise dash to A&L's for an order of chitlins to go, and throw it on the Xmas dinner table spread for old time's sake!
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #14 - November 30th, 2007, 2:29 pm
    Post #14 - November 30th, 2007, 2:29 pm Post #14 - November 30th, 2007, 2:29 pm
    seebee wrote:What a way to stink up an entire block. (you can't cook them indoors- crock pot on the back porch was the preferred method.)

    One of my roomates for a year in college used to cook them once every couple of weeks in an electric fry pan in the big dorm floor bathroom... he worked second shift as a security guard to pay his way through college, so he never had any other food options at 2am.
    "Fried chicken should unify us, as opposed to tearing us apart. " - Bomani Jones
  • Post #15 - December 4th, 2007, 5:56 pm
    Post #15 - December 4th, 2007, 5:56 pm Post #15 - December 4th, 2007, 5:56 pm
    I had a lovely dinner at Army & Lou's a few weeks ago. The mac & cheese was especially good -- warm and soft without being too mushy, and with a few crispy, cheesy bits to add texture. The fried chicken was tasty (especially the dark meat), but the sides were, as usual, the stars. The cornbread dressing with giblet gravy was a hit around the table, the red beans were full of porky goodness, and the desserts were tasty (especially the bread pudding with lemon sauce) if too sweet for me (especially the peach cobbler).

    Notable was the music: alas, I failed to get the singer's name, but she was quite good (her own arrangements were creative), and she said that she generally plays the first Friday of each month.
  • Post #16 - December 28th, 2008, 3:07 am
    Post #16 - December 28th, 2008, 3:07 am Post #16 - December 28th, 2008, 3:07 am
    I was out and about in South Shore Saturday afternoon and on my way home to West Ridge I stopped at Army & Lou's for an early dinner. It was 4 p.m., in between meal times, and other than me there were several tables of diners enjoying their meals.

    Dinner at Army & Lou’s

    Image

    Chicken Stew, Southern Style

    Image

    One of the Saturday specials - Chicken Stew, Southern Style - caught my attention and that's what I ordered. Rounding-out the special was a basket of corn bread muffins and a dinner salad. I ordered a cup of Louisiana-style gumbo as a starter and a side of mac and cheese to go with the entree (the mac and cheese arrived after I took the picture above).

    The gumbo was great tasting, filled with small shrimp and meat and served with a small portion of white rice placed in the middle of the cup. A large bowl of the gumbo and a basket of corn bread would make a very nice meal on a cold Winter day.

    The well-seasoned stew included, in addition to the pieces of chicken - okra, carrots, corn and some onion. The corn bread was warm, but dry (until I added copious amounts of butter!) - though I enjoyed it. It wasn't the best I've tasted, but the mac and cheese was a respectable rendition of that staple.

    Peach Cobbler

    Image

    For dessert I was leaning toward the sweet potato pie or peach cobbler. Michelle, the excellent waitress who took care of me during dinner, strongly recommended the peach cobbler - so that's what I ordered. Piping hot it was, and flavorful with what I think were hints of cinnamon and of course brown sugar.

    The restaurant had only one brand of beer on hand - Becks - so that's what I drank with my meal.

    I left Army & Lou's full, and satisfied.
  • Post #17 - December 6th, 2010, 4:11 pm
    Post #17 - December 6th, 2010, 4:11 pm Post #17 - December 6th, 2010, 4:11 pm
    Drove down from Wisconsin to spent a nice Sunday lunch at Army & Lou's yesterday. Arrived about 11:45 for the brunch which is only served on the first Sunday of the month. Took a while for the brunch to be ready and I would suggest of you want the brunch to show up about 1pm. Two of us had the brunch and two of us ordered from the menu. Pork hock and fried chicken with greens and Mac n Cheese from the Menu and the buffet had among other things. Mac N Cheese, Salisbury Steak, Smothered Pork Chops, Fried Chicken, greens, sweet potato, regular mashed potato and dressing.
    Everything was very good, food arrived hot but the smothered pork chops were to die for!
    Service is Southern Casual but we were not neglected and made to feel at home.
    I don't know how they get the fried chicken so crispy without it being greasy? But I had a leg, wing and breast, it was so good.
    The bread pudding was as good as any I have had at Commander's NOLA. The peach cobbler, the best i have ever had!
    The brunch is really too much to eat and on our next trip, we will just order from the Menu.
    I have been seeing some comments on various Chicago websites about slow service and cold food but our food was hot and as I said the service is Southern Casual, so if you used to eating at McDonald's, this is probably not the place for you to wait.-Dick
  • Post #18 - February 2nd, 2011, 3:09 pm
    Post #18 - February 2nd, 2011, 3:09 pm Post #18 - February 2nd, 2011, 3:09 pm
    Army and Lou’s future uncertain.
    “We all have to stand before the kitchen gods.” Chef Jacob Sahaya Kumar Aruni
  • Post #19 - February 2nd, 2011, 6:11 pm
    Post #19 - February 2nd, 2011, 6:11 pm Post #19 - February 2nd, 2011, 6:11 pm

    Sad news indeed. In the past two years Chicago lost two of its best soul food restaurants—Doggy's and Edna's. Now with the closing of Army & Lou's our most historic one might be gone too.

    A couple years ago, Pigmon and I wrote an article for the Reader on some underappreciated soul food restaurants. In the course of research we visited over twenty places. A quick tally suggests that half are now out of business. If there's a particular soul food restaurant you've been meaning to get to, I'd suggest going sooner rather than later. And be sure to call first.

    Doggy's S S Soul Eatery (closed)
    2815 W Harrison St
    Chicago
    773-722-4037

    Edna's Soul Food Restaurant (closed)
    3175 W Madison St
    Chicago
    773-638-7079

    Army & Lou's (closed)
    422 E 75th St
    Chicago
    773-483-3100
  • Post #20 - February 6th, 2011, 11:23 am
    Post #20 - February 6th, 2011, 11:23 am Post #20 - February 6th, 2011, 11:23 am
    Well I guess there won't be a next trip!-Dick

Contact

About

Team

Advertize

Close

Chat

Articles

Guide

Events

more