EVERGREEN PARK, Ill. (WLS) --There have been a proliferation of boiled seafood by-the-pound restaurants lately, but most of them have been on the city's North Side.
The region's first entry on the South Side -- The Crazy Crab Chicago -- recently opened and is serving the same crab, shrimp and lobster, but with a few twists.
There are the familiar signs of plastic bags set onto the tables, diners diving in with or without gloves, usually wearing bibs to protect them from the inevitable splotches of garlicky sauce. The Crazy Crab isn't a new concept, but it's certainly new to Evergreen Park.
"Our recipes are slightly different; the biggest difference is our side of town. On the South Side, there's not a lot of sit-down restaurants, and the only other seafood restaurant on this Southwest Side of Chicago is Red Lobster in Oak Lawn," said co-owner Cindy King.
"There were a couple places in Chicagoland that we went to, and we realized there should be something on our side of town that had good food, good service and a clean restaurant and so we jumped in."
Much of the menu is by-the-pound: dungeness or king crab; shrimp, lobster. You then decide how to season it.
"You customize your bag and then you customize your flavor - lemon pepper, garlic pepper, Crazy Cajun or Trifecta, a mix of all three, that's our most popular. Then you customize what level of spice - mild, spicy, hot or crazy hot," she said.
There's also fried catfish and shrimp here, as well as some po'boy sandwiches; even a New England-style lobster roll. But most folks come for the hands-on experience, which can get messy. King says it's all about family-style eating, in a very casual setting.
"Just relax and everybody jump in and eat," said King.
Like other concepts, these typical restaurants with the seafood that you boil, put in a bag with the sauce, kind of a messy endeavor, but you could always go a different route. You could just get a po'boy sandwich or you could even have some fried shrimp or some fried catfish, and keep your fingers a little bit cleaner.
EXTRA COURSE: Raw items on the menu at Crazy Crab Chicago's menu, including a platter of raw oysters.
THE CRAZY CRAB CHICAGO
9204 S. Western Ave., Evergreen Park