Chesa's Bistro & Bar  review image

Chesa's Bistro And Bar


3235 W Addison St Suite C, Chicago
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“I want to sleep with this under my pillow,” was a sentence that came out of our mouth halfway through the bowl of savory short rib and creamy grits at Chesa’s Bistro and Bar. The Southern restaurant in Avondale serves the kind of comforting dishes that make us look forward to—or at least not hate—Chicago’s 30-degree days. 

Everything at Chesa’s is full of flavor, and good enough to make you say “See you in hell, gluten.” The menu has the aforementioned short rib and grits (a beefy change of pace from shrimp that we didn’t know we needed). There’s also seafood gumbo with a gentle heat, and buttery wagyu sliders on buns that we wouldn’t know were gluten-free if it wasn’t our job to know these things. 

Chesa's Bistro & Bar  review image

Chesa's Barphoto credit: Kim Kovacik

Chesa's Bistro & Bar  review image

photo credit: Kim Kovacik

The gluten-free food isn’t the only thing that puts us in a good mood at Chesa’s. The people who work here—including Chesa herself—are the kind of friendly folks who make you want to take off your blanket coat and stay a while. Servers and bartenders (this might be the same person) suggest cocktails (like the boozy Cloud 9 with peach vodka, chambord, and lime) with a level of enthusiasm that will have you reconsider what time you need to get up the next morning. The casual space has a few TVs and a hip-hop playlist that’ll remind you how much you like 2000’s Nelly.  Pair any of the above with the Cloud 9, and plan to reset your alarm.

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Food Rundown

Chesa's Bistro & Bar  review image

Cheddar Jalapeño Cornbread

We’re used to gluten-free baked goods having the density of a black hole. That’s not the case with the corn muffins, which are wonderfully moist. They’re topped with some crawfish honey butter that balances out the spice from the jalapeño, and each muffin has a crunchy, caramelized edge.

Chesa's Bistro & Bar  review image

Wagyu Sliders

These aren’t so much sliders as thick miniature burgers oozing with cheese, spicy sauce, and nestled between two buttery pieces of bread that are way fluffier than they have any right to be. There are three per order, and though they’re listed as a starter, these could qualify as an entree.

Chesa's Bistro & Bar  review image

photo credit: Kim Kovacik

Short Rib And Grits

After discovering how well cheesy grits mix with the pieces of short rib, we don’t understand how every Southern restaurant doesn’t utilize this combination. The grits are juniper purple grits (which means they have a purple-y grey hue) made with cream and pepperjack, which mixes wonderfully with juices from the meat.

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Chesa's Gumbo

The gumbo here is everything you want a gumbo to be: spicy, hearty, and full of chicken, andouille, and shrimp. For an extra $18 you can add a lobster tail. Do it.

Chesa's Bistro & Bar  review image

photo credit: Kim Kovacik

Shrimp Po' Boy Street Tacos

The highlight of these tacos are not the griddled corn tortillas (which are a little oily) but the perfectly grilled, spicy shrimp topped with a kimchi mayo that adds just the right amount of acidity and richness to the seafood.

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