Monday, February 8, 2010

The Beards Anoint Calumet Fisheries

Posted By on 02.08.10 at 12:48 PM

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Bravo to the great Calumet Fisheries, which was just given one of the James Beard Foundation's America's Classics Awards honoring "small, regional restaurants, watering holes, shacks, lunch counters, and similar down-home eateries that have carved out a special place on the American culinary landscape."

Following last year's feature on No Reservations, the humble south-side shack's profile has blown up quite a bit. But it wasn't always so.

This time of year the Saint Lawrence Seaway freezes up, isolating the Great Lakes. The international ships stop coming, which hurts business. But there's another form of traffic that brings customers into Calumet Fisheries year-round. Drivers on the Skyway can look down and see the restaurant's bright red shingles. Some of them get off the highway and buy a plate of smoked oysters or fish-and-chips.

"They say, 'Oh, there's that fish house,'" Morales says. "So many people don't know our name. They just know us as the fish house on the bridge."

That's from Ted Kleine's (aka Edward McClelland's) 1998 Reader story on the humble south-side fish shack.

Calumet will be honored along with four other winners in May at the annual Beard Awards ceremony in New York.

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