Louisiana Taste Jazzes Up New Take-Out Restaurant

Article excerpt

Byline: Kim Mikus

Ever since he moved north about 10 years ago, New Orleans native Kyle Richardson has not been able to visit his hometown without someone from the Chicago area begging him to return with samples of the Crescent City's Creole cuisine.

Now the 35-year-old Hanover Park resident doesn't have to travel the length of the Mississippi River to satisfy local tastes for Cajun food.

Two months ago, Richardson and his wife, Margie, opened the Crescent City Gourmet, a take-out restaurant at Army Trail Road and Spring Valley Drive in Carol Stream that specializes in traditional cooking from the cradle of jazz.

Richardson, a chef who has worked for various restaurants and country clubs in the city and suburbs, knew there was local demand for New Orleans food but nevertheless has been startled the appetite customers have shown so far.

"I knew there always was a market, but I'm surprised it became so popular so quick," he said.

For example, without any formal advertising, the store recently sold about 160 "king cakes," which are typically made for New Orleans' renowned Mardi Gras Carnival.

The shop also does tremendous business in Beignets, or New Orleans fried doughnuts, made and sold from 8 to 11:30 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Richardson credits his store's success so far to the allure of the Crescent City. People who have visited New Orleans seek out his store to recapture a bit of the lively spirit and tastes of the historic city. Then they tell their friends what they've found.

"If anyone has been (to New Orleans) even once, they usually identify with what we do here," Richardson said.

Any food you can buy on Bourbon Street you can find at the Crescent City Bakery & Gourmet - gumbo, jambalaya, crawfish tails, pastries and cakes and more. …