Named after chef Darnell Reed's great grandmother Luella Funches, Luella's Southern Kitchen has been serving po' boys, gumbo and barbecue shrimp since the restaurant opened in 2015. And while Reed has usually offered a menu of Louisiana-style dishes in the weeks leading up to Mardi Gras, it hasn't been possible to celebrate Fat Tuesday at the Lincoln Park spot for the past few years, because Luella's is usually closed on Tuesdays.
You won't be able to dine at Luella's on Fat Tuesday this year (it's closed!), but diners will be able to find some of Reed's favorite dishes inspired by his travels in New Orleans at Time Out Market Chicago. From February 25 through March 1, Luella's Southern Kitchen is taking over a kitchen at Time Out Market Chicago, serving a wide array of Mardi Gras-appropriate fare, including muffuletta, crawfish étouffée and king cake.
“The Muffaletta is definitely my favorite sandwich to eat,” Reed said, talking about his preferred New Orleans dishes. “We're serving it hot or cold, which is something I hadn't seen until I went to Johnny's Po-Boys in New Orleans.”
Served on focaccia that Reed and his team bake in-house, Luella's muffuletta is a traditional take on the sandwich that Italian immigrants introduced to New Orleans, stacked with salami, mortadella, deli ham, provolone, mozzarella and muffuletta relish.
For those who aren't familiar with New Orleans cuisine, Reed recommends sampling his chicken and sausage gumbo, which draws on a variation of the dish he had while growing up as well as the gumbo formerly served at Heaven on Seven in the Loop. “[The dish] defines Louisiana so much, there's so many influences," Reed said. “African influence, Native American influence, French influence—and it was all brought together in a pot of gumbo.”
The Luella's Southern Kitchen pop-up at Time Out Market Chicago will serve lunch and dinner from Friday, February 25 through Tuesday, March 1. You'll be able to stop by for a plate of red beans and rice on Fat Tuesday during Time Out Market's Mardi Gras celebration, which begins at 6pm on Tuesday, March 1 and features cocktails specials as well as a performance by brass band Tubad and Kings of NOLA.
Luella's Southern Kitchen Mardi Gras pop-up menu:
Chicken and sausage gumbo
Red beans and rice
Fried catfish po' boy
New Orleans BBQ shrimp with French bread
Muffuletta (hot or cold)