Mardi Gras is a holiday focused on having fun. Who doesn’t love an occasion focused on delicious food, fun beverages and good times? The fact that there’s no gift giving required is just icing on the King Cake. And who doesn’t love a few strands of beads?
If you are looking to add a little fun and spice to your winter, your family can laissez les bon temps roule (translation: let the good times roll) in the Western suburbs of Chicago this Mardi Gras with the help of these restaurants and bakeries.
224 S. Main St., Naperville
Visiting Heaven on Seven is the closest you can get to New Orleans without leaving Illinois. In addition to the two in the city, this Cajun restaurant has a location in Naperville and it’s full of beads and streamers and other festive Mardi Gras décor, especially this time of year. Don’t forget to check out the wall of hot sauce, which is displayed all year. The food will transport you to the French Quarter. (If you’re so inclined, try a hurricane, they’re delicious.)
Consider weekend brunch, offered from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday, if you have some spice-adverse palates in your family. The chocolate chip pancakes on the kids’ brunch menu may just be the perfect way for your little one to celebrate the holiday.
921 Pasquinelli Dr., Westmont (near Oakbrook Mall)
Another fun restaurant specializing in Louisiana-style favorites is Pappadeaux. The menu includes a section dedicated to “New Orleans Specialities” and a kids’ menu that features tilapia and fried shrimp as well as more traditional favorites. They offer a Mardi Gras cheesecake, which includes bits of King Cake mixed in with cheesecake with a cinnamon graham cracker crust topped with sour cream glaze.
WHAT IS KING CAKE?
If you’re more inclined to celebrate at home, do so with a yummy King Cake. King Cake is an oval or circular cake typically decorated with icing and sprinkles in the traditional Mardi Gras colors of green, purple and yellow.
A small, plastic baby is often baked into the cake with the tradition saying that the person who gets the cake with the baby has good luck and is the king, or queen, of the party. It can also mean that they are responsible for buying next year’s cake. The baby is often left out of the cake, or you can specifically request that the bakery do so, as it could be a choking hazard.
5126 Main St, Downers Grove
Busy Bee is known for its cakes, and its King Cakes are no exception. They get rave reviews. The bakery says that they need to be pre-ordered and that it is best to do so a few days ahead.
211 West Front Street, Wheaton
The King Cake tradition originated in France and was incorporated into the celebration of Mardi Gras in New Orleans in the 1870’s. It is therefore no surprise that a French bakery would make an amazing King Cake. Check out Suzette’s in Wheaton for a delicious King Cake, as well as other sweet Mardi Gras-themed treats.