By The Black Foodies
Tilly’s Pit and Pub, located at 1455 Ring Road in Calumet City (just west of River Oaks Center) has a charm and warmth that is very inviting. Upon entering Tilly’s, one might expect to hear “Where Everyone Knows Your Name,” the theme song made popular on the 80’s television sitcom, Cheers. The Owners, a brother and sister tandem, Gavin Jackson and Syreeta Nuckolls, told us, “Our goal is to make everyone feel at home and never leave hungry.” A few years back, Miss Coretta chose to have the eat-and-greet of her family reunion celebrated at Tilly’s, and her relatives from Tennessee voiced nothing but rave reviews. That being said, The Black Foodies are familiar with Tilly’s Pit and Pub, and it is our pleasure to share our latest dining experience at this South Suburban hidden gem.
We headed out to Tilly’s on a Wednesday evening to enjoy some live entertainment and to have a yummy bite. Our first tasting was an appetizer that Tilly’s calls Kick Ass Garlic Bread. With a name like that, how could we not place an order? Upon being served, we immediately surmised that it could easily accommodate a party of four. When the Owners said they want no one to leave Tilly’s hungry, they surely weren’t kidding. The garlic bread came with two dipping sauces – marinara and Alfredo. It was thick cut French bread topped with a butter/cheese/garlic/herb concoction and was very tasty, indeed. What separates Tilly’s garlic bread from others we have sampled are the dipping sauces. Both the marinara and the Alfredo screamed Italian and were well executed. The tomatoes in the marinara were off-the-vine fresh and when paired with the garlic bread, created a delightful bite. The velvety smooth Alfredo sauce merited being served with fresh-made linguine or fettuccine. Yummy!
Miss Coretta just loves fried calamari; however, she rarely orders it due to the fact that many restaurants do a poor job preparing it. This is not the case at Tilly’s. Their calamari is as good as it gets. We were served a huge mound of perfectly prepared calamari, along with two dipping sauces – marinara and remoulade. The calamari was fresh and fried to a golden brown and melt-in-your-mouth tender. The tenderness of the calamari was indicative of the squid not being in the deep fryer too long which – we know from past experiences – can result in an off-putting, rubbery chew. Once again, the marinara sauce was on-point and really accentuated the calamari, while the remoulade sauce led our taste buds on a very exciting and pleasurable journey. An extra added bonus to our calamari basket was the tempura fried green beans that added little bursts of freshness between bites. The calamari at Tilly’s is squidlicious!
Tilly’s is known for serving unique and delicious takes on a New Orleans classic sandwich, the Po’ Boy. I ordered the Buffalo Blue Cheese Shrimp Po’ Boy while Miss Coretta ordered the blackened catfish Po’ Boy. One of Tilly’s mottos is: “We don’t skimp on the shrimp!” And, true to their motto, my Po’ Boy was loaded with an abundance of perfectly cooked shrimp nestled between two slices of toasted French bread. The Buffalo sauce and the blue cheese, while both had bold flavor profiles, did not clash on the sandwich, the end result creating a truly harmonious existence. The blue cheese added just the right amount of punch, while the Buffalo sauce rendered a tangy heat that bode well with the Po’ Boy. For texture, the sandwich included a fresh and creamy coleslaw. Miss Coretta’s blackened catfish Po’ Boy came with a fried green tomato and fresh spinach. She found it to be totally scrumptious. The catfish fillet was very well seasoned and, while not quite blackened, it was mouthwateringly delicious, nonetheless. The fried green tomato made for a genius pairing, showcasing the creativity of the menu’s creator. When you give Tilly’s Pit and Pub a visit, it’s a must-do to order one of their Po’ Boys.
We also suggest ordering Tilly’s pizza, wings, great burgers and the best mozzarella sticks known to man. There is a wide variety of sensational cocktails to choose from, as well. Tilly’s Pit and Pub has a great vibe and the owners, Syreeta and Gavin, take great pride in making their customers happy campers, as evidenced by the smiling faces of satisfied customers that we observed scrolling across the Pub’s two monitors. Tilly’s has everything you could possibly want for an unpretentious night out, including live musical entertainment on Wednesdays and weekend karaoke. Also, be sure to check out Tilly’s Pit and Pub’s new Gospel Brunch Experience which debuted Sunday, March 3.
We rank restaurants based on number of kisses (one thru five). One…two…three…four, with five being the best. Tilly’s Pit and Pub receives 4 1/2 kisses. Check out the video of our review https://youtu.be/QYEbDnoOe8k
The Black Foodies are food bloggers/vloggers and husband and wife of 26 years. We are also home cooks who believe in group economics and LOVE great food. We write the food blog ‘Let’s Eat’, where we review Black-owned and other ethnic restaurants. FOLLOW us on Instagram and Twitter @theblackfoodies, SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube Channel ‘The Black Foodies’, where we review restaurants, share recipes, and give cooking tips. https://youtu.be/f1fsSQ24wgQ. Also LIKE us on Facebook and join our Facebook group, ‘World Wide Black Foodies’.
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Owners Gavin Jackson and Syreeta Nuckolls, Photo Courtesy of Daniela Sinuela Photography