Calumet Fisheries is literally a shack located on the 95th Street bridge over the Calumet River, wedged between Lake Michigan and the Chicago Skyway. It’s a strictly take-out operation with only room for a few people to be inside at once. There are two makeshift tables outside, but your general plan should be to eat while sitting or standing half in/half out of your car. Yes, Anthony Bourdain filmed No Reservations here in 2009, and yes, this is the bridge from the original Blues Brothers movie, but don’t think for one second Calumet has relied on either to stay in business since 1948. It’s the fish that keeps people coming back year in and year out.
The smoked fish is so good it will make you want to dance, particularly the salmon and shrimp. Fried fish is available and also good, but it’s more of a supplement to the smoked stuff. Calumet is cash only and whole smoked fish ain’t cheap, but it’s worth it. And all that deliciousness makes visiting Calumet is one of our favorite summer activities in the city.
*Editors Note: Calumet is open year round. We take trips in the winter and encourage you to do the same. Wear gloves.
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You can’t go wrong with any of the smoked fish. Options include: catfish, eel, heads and collars, rainbow trout, sable, salmon (plain or pepper and garlic), shrimp, sturgeon, trout(plain or pepper & garlic), white fish, and herring. Everything is smoked in their little smokehouse out back, and we cannot stress enough how wonderful the smoked salmon and shrimp are.
The fried stuff is no slouch either. You can get dinners that come with fries, coleslaw, and a drink, or just get fried fish in half or whole orders. Fried fish options include catfish, scallops, crab cakes, shrimp, oysters, clam strips, smelts, and calamari. Chicken nuggets and fried frog legs are available too. Our favorites are the fried catfish, shrimp, and oysters, but feel free to order whatever sounds good. Keep an eye out for fried mac and cheese.