Wallace Davis, the former Chicago alderman (and convicted felon), runs a barbecue and fish place on the West Side. I wish I could show you their logo, a catfish leaning against a light post at the corner of Madison and California with the Chicago skyline in the background. The current building is new, large, and clean. Inside it's decorated with old pictures of Mr Davis with celebrities like Muhammad Ali, Harold Washington, and Louis Farrakhan.
The menu is more extensive than most BBQ places with about a half dozen species of seafood, including catfish steaks, filets, tails, or nuggets. Chicken comes fried or barbecued, and gizzards or livers are also represented. Barbecue comprises various combinations of ribs, tips, and links. A patty link is also available, something you dont see everywhere. Top price is $16.55 for a whole slab (with fries, sauce, white bread, and a shot o' slaw) and portions are generous. You can also get burgers, Polishes, hot dogs, beef, sausage, combos, corn beef, or pork chop sandwiches. Sides include okra, corn on the cob, spaghetti, and mac & cheese.
So how's the barbecue? Pretty fair, not in Lem's league but not too shabby. Tips were whacked into thin slices but had a good amount of solid meat and some nice char on many pieces. Smoke flavor was there but not dominating. Links were pretty good, a bit on the dry side, but nicely charred and moderately spicy. I award them bonus points for even offering BBQ chicken (as well as the more common fried chicken with BBQ sauce) and it was good but not life altering. I wish I could report on the ribs but on two separate visits they were completely out. A place called Catfish Corner ought to have good catfish and Wallaces pretty much delivers. The fish tasted fresh and had a thin cornmeal breading without excessive grease. It came with standard-issue vinegary hot sauce on the side. All in all, a solid job and worth a visit but probably not a major detour. Wallace's is a mile west of the United Center and could be an excellent place to grab something before a game but remember it's takeout only. I think I saw signs mentioning a Sunday soul food buffet but I have no more information on that.
Wallace's Catfish Corner
"Our Specialty is Good Food"
2800 W Madison St (at California)
Mon-Thu 11am-12mid, Fri 11am-3am, Sat noon-3am, Sun noon-10pm
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