NORMAL, Ill. -- Here in the Midwest, it is easy to forget about all the delicious Cajun foods the southern states have to offer. But fear not: There is a place in the twin cities that is bringing a taste of the south right to you.
It is not often you can find a room full of people who agree on something, but Fort Jesse Café in Normal is solid proof that there is no argument when it comes to home-cooked, hearty southern food.
And with good reason, says co-owner Abby Strader. She says they fill a niche in the twin cities market.
"I think that in Bloomington-Normal there is a lack of diversity in food," she said.
"We wanted something with a lot of flavor and something people didn't have."
Take their most popular dish- the shrimp and grits, which is made with blackened shrimp, egg, green onions and white cheddar grits.
"It's amazing," said Strader.
"We often run out of it on Saturday and Sunday, because we just go through it so fast."
Having never indulged in authentic Cajun food, I also wanted to give the chicken and waffles a try. It is a classic with a twist: They use chipotle syrup and a healthy sprinkle of diced green onions.
I topped it all of with a Mojo. That is coffee and hot chocolate with lots of whipped cream.
Altogether, eating at Fort Jesse Café is an experience that is dripping with southern charm.
My total before tip for the mojo, shrimp and grits, and chicken and waffles came to $21.32.
The restaurant is located at 1531 Fort Jesse Road in Normal.
It is open Tuesday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
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