One of 2016’s biggest trends, Cajun seafood boils, is heading to the South Loop inside the former Belly Up space. Lowcountry, which opened a restaurant in 2015 in Wrigleyville, has plans for a second restaurant at 1132 S. Wabash Ave. The 120-seat space will feature a patio and a double garage door, according to a spokeswoman. A liquor license is in the works and the husband-and-wife owners, Pan and Dana Hompluem, hope to open early next year.
The South Loop location will offer the same seafood boils as the Wrigleyville restaurant. They’ll also add combos, allowing customers to mix shrimp, king crab, mussels, and snow crab. Drinks would include large-format punch bowls and beer towers, plus more cocktails from Raymond Chester, Lowcountry’s beverage director on the North Side.
The seafood boil trend migrated from California, and The Angry Crab in Rogers Park and Wicker Park — along with others like Skokie’s The Boiler Shrimp & Crawfish — helped popularize the genre in Chicago. For those who haven’t experienced the bibs, plastic bags, and the spicy mix of flavors, seafood boils are definitely a unique (and messy) meal. However, the trend — for the most part — has avoided the city’s South Side. There are a few exceptions in Chinatown, including Mr. Wang, which opened in August at 2171 S. China Place. Lowcountry Wrigleyville also offers occasional karaoke nights, and although there’s no word if karaoke will make it to the South Loop, it would help fill a void for that too.
Belly Up lasted six months, as the barbecue spot opened in January and closed in July. Come back for more details in the coming months on Lowcountry’s second location.