CHICAGO (WLS) -- 2020 has been a brutal year for restaurants, but for a few local icons, it's been a year of milestones: 70 years for D'Amato's Bakery and Pat's Pizza. A hundred years for Vito & Nick's. And as our Hungry Hound tells us, a very thankful third generation at Lawrence's Fish and Shrimp, where they're also celebrating 70 years in business.
Lawrence Schweig struck a fateful partnership in 1950.
"He was in the wholesale fish market, and ended up partnering with a gentleman in commercial fishing," said his grandson, Kurt, the third generation owner at Lawrence's Fish & Shrimp. It's still located next to the Canal Street Bridge, where its always been, though the building got a major facelift and now sports a giant shrimp mascot out front.
"There was a small retail operation; they were producers, smokers and packers of fish that distributed throughout the Chicagoland area and actually the Great Lakes region. Primarily they fished for lake perch, chubs, whitefish and lake trout," he said.
They stopped commercial fishing in 1968, and relied on their veteran staff - many of whom have been on the job for 20 or more years - to help them transition to shrimp.
"We became famous for our fried shrimp. It was my grandmother and grandfather's recipe, including our hot sauce, which is original from 1950," said Schweig.
But there's more than shrimp obviously. Frog's legs and catfish too. All of which is battered and breaded in the basement, under the watchful eye of a pair of veteran employees. They've barely expanded the menu-- a creole shrimp sandwich is about as exotic as it gets here. Schweig says there hasn't been much need to diversify the menu.
"We've held our values with regard to quality, service and product. It's something we've never compromised on; again the recipe has never changed. And you get it cooked the way you like it and right out the door," said Schweig.
Chicago is no stranger to fried shrimp joints - you've got Haire's on the South Side, Goose Island, and Snappy's on the North Side but 70 years in business here at Lawrence's? That is something to be thankful for.
Lawrence's Fish & Shrimp
2120 S. Canal St.
open 24 hours
3242 W. 87th St.
908 E. Roosevelt Rd., Lombard
The 9916 W. Roosevelt Rd., Westchester location will soon be moving to Hillside.
Lawrence's Fish and Shrimp celebrates 70 years in business