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Old 02-24-2009, 11:11 AM
Robt Robt is offline
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The Fish House - Fried Shrimp

There used to be a little fish place called The Fish House at Grand and LaSalle or Grand and Wells. To say it had the best fried shrimp ever cannot do justice to how good their fried shrimp was. If you ever had it, you know what I'm talking about. It closed about 5 years ago or so. Does anyone know what happened to it? It was a family-run place and I gather the Grand Avenue building was razed for development. The family decided not to re-locate, or at least that's what I recall at the time. Have they possibly re-opened somewhere else? Is there a recipe anyone can provide?

Keep in mind, I don't want to know about other restaurants' fried shrimp unless you know how good The Fish House was. It would be a crime against humanity for the Fish House fried shrimp recipe to disappear. Thanks.
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Old 03-01-2009, 02:30 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
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Googling "the fish house" "chicago" brings up this fragment of an article. Unfortunately, I've never been there, so I have no idea how anybody else's shrimp stacks up. What was particularly notable about their recipe? Was it like cornmealy or spiced or otherwise different than a simple batter?
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Old 03-02-2009, 11:37 AM
Robt Robt is offline
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That's the place. The article indicates The Fish House closed in 1997! I hadn't realized quite how long it has been closed. I'm not too good at describing taste but they used fresh, large shrimp for starters. Their batter had certain flavoring that didn't have such a a bready taste or feel as other places do. It was a bit crunchy even. Whatever was in it, it was unlike any other fried shrimp out there. I'd love to know if the family re-opened anywhere or if there's anywhere that makes anything like it.
  #4  
Old 03-03-2009, 04:05 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
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There I couldn't help you. If you're ever out near Pulaski and 26th, you might want to drop into Troha's and compare. They're at 4151 W. 26th. Big, fresh-tasting shrimp, crispy, been there forever (they claim to be Chicago first fried shrimp shack, or something like that.) Perhaps even more acclaimed is Calumet Fisheries at 3259 E. 95th Street. Their smoked items are perhaps their biggest draw, but their fried items are great, too. You probably know about Goose Island Shrimp--they're a bit more hit and miss.
  #5  
Old 03-08-2009, 05:32 PM
mdytch mdytch is offline
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I still remember this place - with fondness and a deep regret that it's gone. I can't find anything on-line about it because I don't want to subscribe to the service that holds the article. The Fish House was soooo good - I haven't found anyplace as good, including the ones mentioned by pulykamell. My husband and I tried Troha's, and it just wasn't even close. Ditto for Calumet Fisheries. So I guess that's it - we'll just have to live with the pain.
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Old 03-08-2009, 06:07 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
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Wow. I wish I knew about this place when it was around.
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Old 03-21-2009, 05:54 AM
ItalianBeef ItalianBeef is offline
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There is also this 24 hour gem:

http://lawrencesfisheries.com/

Never tried the shrimp but the fish I had was nice. I went there at like 1am one slow monday morning and there were 4-5 people in there.
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Old 02-25-2012, 11:21 AM
Man With a Cat Man With a Cat is offline
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Originally Posted by ItalianBeef View Post
There is also this 24 hour gem:

http://lawrencesfisheries.com/

Never tried the shrimp but the fish I had was nice. I went there at like 1am one slow monday morning and there were 4-5 people in there.
This is an awesome thread. And proof that Dopers are the coolest people on earth.

About 12-15 years ago, I ate some shrimp alfredo I made at home, and almost instantly became The Guy Covered in Hives. My dad, and my older sister both developed shrimp allergies at about the same age, so since then I've just avoided it. I tell people I don't miss it, but reading this makes me want to call the doctor and see what's up - sis claims she can eat shrimp now. Worse comes to worse I get an Epi-Pen (I work with special ed student transportation and have already been trained - winning!) and just drive down to Lawrence, I really love that place!

I also remember Rocky's and the Fish House. Does anyone recall a little shack along the River just north of I-55 on Ashland? Same idea as Lawrence's but smaller. Dad and I would stop there on the way to Blackhawk or Bulls games, get a brown paper bag of fried shrimp, pour some hot sauce on and finish the drive to the Stadium.

Good times.
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Old 03-02-2012, 11:13 AM
zoid zoid is offline
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Oh man - I am SO going to Lawrence Fisheries this evening.
  #10  
Old 05-21-2012, 01:30 PM
rpomogo rpomogo is offline
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Andersons

The name of the shrimp house on Ashland was Anderson's. They definitely had the best shrimp and hot sauce. I always wondered who owned the place and how long it was around. I'm looking for a recipe for the type of breading Anderson's used on their shrimp. Love to have the sauce recipe too. Any help would be appreciated. Can't stop thinking about Anderson's shrimp. Also-my Grandmother worked at the Fannie May factory for approx. 35 years. They had many framed photos hanging in the offices of the factory showing the employees, machines & equipment used in the candy making process. Since the place was sold and the old factory has been torn down, I'm wondering if the memorabilia (photos) were disposed of or if they might be stored away somewhere. There's nothing I would like more than to get hold of an old photo of Grandma on the factory floor. Grandma's name was Cecelia Fields. If anyone else had a family member who worked in the Fannie May factory there may be pics out there somewhere.
  #11  
Old 03-26-2009, 10:34 AM
SanDiegoTim SanDiegoTim is offline
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From a site newbie...

Speaking of Grand Ave and fried shrimp, one would have to include Rocky's Bait Shop. It was located in a small trailer on the water just south of the "south" Navy Pier. A dozen was served up in a bag. I think it closed down in the winter months. It must have disappeared sometime in the mid/late 1970's. It was run by a Greek father/son. Son's name was Chris. Don't recall his dad's name.
  #12  
Old 04-26-2009, 07:39 PM
MUSTANG350 MUSTANG350 is offline
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Rocky's

Quote:
Originally Posted by SanDiegoTim View Post
From a site newbie...

Speaking of Grand Ave and fried shrimp, one would have to include Rocky's Bait Shop. It was located in a small trailer on the water just south of the "south" Navy Pier. A dozen was served up in a bag. I think it closed down in the winter months. It must have disappeared sometime in the mid/late 1970's. It was run by a Greek father/son. Son's name was Chris. Don't recall his dad's name.
I think the father's name was Rocky. They built a building and you had to go to the trailer to get drinks. It dissapered one winter in the late 1980's when the Pier was being renovated. There was also Al's Fishery on Grand just west of the Outer Drive. There was a fellow named Jay that worked late at night when we would go in who was a real comedian. I really miss those days.
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Old 11-16-2009, 10:18 PM
Murph810 Murph810 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SanDiegoTim View Post
From a site newbie...

Speaking of Grand Ave and fried shrimp, one would have to include Rocky's Bait Shop. It was located in a small trailer on the water just south of the "south" Navy Pier. A dozen was served up in a bag. I think it closed down in the winter months. It must have disappeared sometime in the mid/late 1970's. It was run by a Greek father/son. Son's name was Chris. Don't recall his dad's name.
MUSTANG350 Rocky's

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Quote:
Originally Posted by SanDiegoTim
From a site newbie...

Speaking of Grand Ave and fried shrimp, one would have to include Rocky's Bait Shop. It was located in a small trailer on the water just south of the "south" Navy Pier. A dozen was served up in a bag. I think it closed down in the winter months. It must have disappeared sometime in the mid/late 1970's. It was run by a Greek father/son. Son's name was Chris. Don't recall his dad's name.

I think the father's name was Rocky. They built a building and you had to go to the trailer to get drinks. It dissapered one winter in the late 1980's when the Pier was being renovated.
***************************************************************
Howdy, I ran into this site while mousing around Google for old pics of Rocky's Bait Shop.

Oddly enough, the next hit on the Google list is of the City council approval of a 2 yr lease for Rocky's: " EXECUTION OF LEASE AGREEMENT WITH MR. JOSEPH PANZO
FOR PREMISES AT 142-144 NORTH STREETER DRIVE." (1987 to 1989 ,1,250.00 per mo, with a 90 day opt out by either party. ) An interesting read for those of us that remember those great Shrimp. The only comparable Shrimp we had were from a guy in a sidewalk pushcart at Grand & Harlem.
The entry begins on pg 279 of the PDF at http://www.chicityclerk.com/journals...87optimize.pdf There is also a Plat drawing of the property on pg 290. I'm still on the hunt for those pics...............murph810
  #14  
Old 11-24-2009, 12:16 PM
juliamccorben juliamccorben is offline
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i cant belive i never knew about this place
  #15  
Old 04-29-2009, 10:14 PM
SanDiegoTim SanDiegoTim is offline
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You're right about the separate building and the trailer for the drinks. Being in the tradeshow business, I spent a lot of time down there. This was especially the case after McCormick Place burned as Navy Pier was pressed into use.
  #16  
Old 02-27-2010, 06:30 PM
fishman1 fishman1 is offline
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Rocky's Bait Shop

Hi

My name is Joe Panzo. Rocky was my grandfather. Our business was called Rocky's Bait Shop. We were located on Streetor Dr. at the lake front, south of Navy Pier, and directly in line with Dime Pier. We are italian, Not Greek. We were commercial perch fishermen, and we also caught and sold bait prior to selling fried shrimp(which was the best shrimp in the city).
Our business was started by my grandfather Rocky in the 1920s. He was born in Italy. Then my father and his two brothers took over the business and continued to run the business until the early 1990s which the city reclaimed their lake front property and put in a bike path. I am trying to collect some photos of Rocky's Bait Shop ( Rocky's and Sons fishery, which our entire business was also called)
  #17  
Old 02-27-2010, 06:33 PM
samclem samclem is online now
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Joe. Welcome. Thanks so much for your first person story. This is what this forum was trying to do. Pieces, parts. It all helps.
  #18  
Old 03-25-2011, 02:10 PM
buddylee buddylee is offline
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Originally Posted by fishman1 View Post
Hi

My name is Joe Panzo. Rocky was my grandfather. Our business was called Rocky's Bait Shop. We were located on Streetor Dr. at the lake front, south of Navy Pier, and directly in line with Dime Pier. We are italian, Not Greek. We were commercial perch fishermen, and we also caught and sold bait prior to selling fried shrimp(which was the best shrimp in the city).
Our business was started by my grandfather Rocky in the 1920s. He was born in Italy. Then my father and his two brothers took over the business and continued to run the business until the early 1990s which the city reclaimed their lake front property and put in a bike path. I am trying to collect some photos of Rocky's Bait Shop ( Rocky's and Sons fishery, which our entire business was also called)
Joe...Send me your email and i can send you a bunch of pictures of Rocky and the shack...I spent all my free time down at the pier and knew Rocky,Paul and John very well..I spent many days fishing perch with Rocky on his boat the La Rosa and have pictures of him in front in his chair.I would be happy to share with you....I have been working on a book of all the old lakefront places that are no longer around and your Gramps was a bring part of that.....I did post some pictures on Chowhound if you want to see some of them..
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Old 03-26-2011, 04:47 PM
Peanuthead Peanuthead is offline
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Up until at least the late 1970s there was a place on Lincoln Ave. just north of Foster that used to sell smoked fish. Can't recall the name. Something like "The Smokehouse" or "Smokebarrel". You could even bring in your own catch and they'd smoke it for you. Best smelling neighborhood for miles around.
  #20  
Old 01-16-2012, 02:10 AM
pontiaccollector pontiaccollector is offline
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Up until at least the late 1970s there was a place on Lincoln Ave. just north of Foster that used to sell smoked fish. Can't recall the name. Something like "The Smokehouse" or "Smokebarrel". You could even bring in your own catch and they'd smoke it for you. Best smelling neighborhood for miles around.
The place was called Berwyn Fisheries. Used to go there in the '60's for smoked fish and lox. They also had fried shrimp. Moved out of the area in '66 but my aunt and uncle still lived in the area so we still got there into the '70's.
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Old 01-16-2012, 02:13 AM
pontiaccollector pontiaccollector is offline
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The place was called Berwyn Fisheries. Used to go there in the '60's for smoked fish and lox. They also had fried shrimp. Moved out of the area in '66 but my aunt and uncle still lived in the area so we still got there into the '70's.
It was on the NW corner of LIncoln and Berwyn

Last edited by pontiaccollector; 01-16-2012 at 02:13 AM.
  #22  
Old 01-20-2012, 10:44 AM
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Hi Joe, I just read your message about looking for images of Rocky's. I have an original watercolor painting of Rocky's by the well known Chicago artist Ralph Rapien painted in 1970. Ralph has left us, however his talent lives on. This painting was part of (I believe) a prominent Illinois politicians collection. If you would like to see an image of the painting just let me know where I can send it. Regards, Mike
  #23  
Old 02-20-2012, 08:45 AM
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Hi Joe,

I have a portrait of Rocky with his famous fly swatter as well as the interior of the shop...send me your email if interested.

Aloha,

Robert
  #24  
Old 02-23-2012, 10:34 AM
FoieGrasIsEvil FoieGrasIsEvil is offline
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This thread has an otherworldly feel to it...and its supposed to be about shrimp!

  #25  
Old 09-27-2011, 05:38 PM
laramarie laramarie is offline
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Hi, I'm the daughter of Tony Davis, one of the owners and workers of The Fish House. Yes, it was closed in 97' they sold the business. The Biancalana's were the other owners. They did not move to another location. My father passed away 6 months later from a heart attack due to diabetes. I really appreciate all the kind comments, it's heartwarming. He worked hard there for most of his life. I live in TN now, as does my Mother and 2 brothers. My brother Ed-who worked there for a long time has broken down the daily recipe to dinner portions. If I gave it to you...I would be a dead woman! Besides TN lacks good food, I have been considering starting small downtown where I live and providing them some of Chicago's finest.
  #26  
Old 10-04-2012, 12:42 PM
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I am looking for a shrimp/Fish shack my father used to take me to in the 70's. All i remember is the shrimp was fried and served, in sauce, in chinese takeout containers, it could be ordered either hot or mild. They also had the best smoked salmon i have ever tasted. I'm sure the place is gone, as is my father, but i have some amazing (though limited) memories of it. If anyone has a clue where i might be talking about or has any pictures please feel free to send them my way. I do remember being told "it was in a bad part of the neighborhood", and several times mom and i had to wait in the car We were not prejudiced at all so i am guessing it really may have been in a rough part of town. Also, it was a very small building, you could only get the food to go. Thanks and i hope someone else reading this has the same wonderful memories i have
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Old 10-08-2012, 06:23 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
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Sounds a bit like Calumet Fisheries to me, except for being served in sauce.
  #28  
Old 01-02-2014, 02:19 AM
Al Douh Al Douh is offline
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Rockys

OK, folks, Chicago expat here. Cannot believe Rocky's will be forgotten Do me a favor: send me photos, contacts, etc., of Joe "Rocky" Panzo -- including drawings, interior pictures, everything. We who went there obviously want the rest of the world to know what a great place that was. I want to collect that stuff. I want to make sure no one forgets. I don't have plans yet, but send me the pictures. If only to refresh great memories I have. Use this email: tessieledbetter@yahoo.com. Bless the Panzos forever.
  #29  
Old 01-02-2014, 08:49 AM
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I have suspicions and doubts about shrimp places some 750-odd miles from saltwater.
  #30  
Old 01-02-2014, 07:44 PM
samclem samclem is online now
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I have suspicions and doubts about shrimp places some 750-odd miles from saltwater.
I get fresh, not frozen Carolina jumbo shrimp(15-20)/lb for $11.99/lb. from my local grocery. From May-November. In Akron Ohio, 650 miles away. Yummy, and quite reasonable.
  #31  
Old 01-02-2014, 08:40 PM
Mr Quatro Mr Quatro is offline
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It must be more than just shrimp and batter and seasonings.

I bet it has something to do with love, love in the hands that breaded them, love in the hands that fried them, love in the hands that served them.

Shrimp need a good red cocktail sauce too or for sissies tarter sauce and a nice cool cole slaw on the side.

Don't forget the music on the juke box either, "Red Sails on the Sunset" or a good Cajun song "Me oh my on the Bayou" or "Shrimp boats are coming coming to town"

Yeah! Don't forget the love without that it's just shrimp.
  #32  
Old 01-12-2014, 09:11 AM
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I'm surprised no love for Hagen's, west of Montrose and Central. I used to work there 30 years ago. Really good fried food, the only hardwood fired smokehouse left in the city(not wood over gas jets), and a variety of fresh fish as well.
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