Wrigleyville Bar Launches First-Ever Mardi Gras Pop-Up

Shannon Blum
February 14, 2020 - 12:14 pm

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) – Mardi Gras is Tuesday, Feb. 25, but one bar in Wrigleyville is celebrating all month long.

Houndstooth Saloon, for the first time ever, is transforming the corner of Clark and Roscoe into the French Korner, bringing a slice of the Big Easy to Chicago with 21 days of Mardi Gras music, food, drink, and merriment.

French Korner at Houndstooth is located at 3369 N. Clark St. in Wrigleyville.

French Korner at Houndstooth Saloon
Houndstooth Saloon

“We wanted to bring a little bit of New Orleans to Chicago. We started off by just wanting to do something that was in the middle of winter that was original that no one is doing in Chicago yet, so we decided why not Mardi Gras?” said owner TJ Callanta. 

The pop-up features wall-to-wall Mardi Gras décor, tons of masks and beads (a perfect disguise), multiple bars serving up New Orleans staples (because it is not Mardi Gras without a hurricane, right?), Instagram-worthy photo-ops including a Mardi Gras parade float outside, and a whole lot of party!

But how long exactly did it take to set up this party?

“A couple of weeks to be honest,” Callanta said.”It’s just a lot of really small things, a lot of knickknacks, and a lot of masks! We just wanted to be really gaudy with it, and again, bring that sort of Carnival, New Orleans Mardi Gras culture up to Chicago.”

Chicago Creole Dog
Houndstooth Saloon

And of course, no pop-up is complete without a specialty menu. The French Korner takes things down to the bayou, thanks to the Houndstooth culinary team, which includes award-winning Louisiana chef David Dickensauge, who created a menu of Creole and Cajun specialties exclusively for French Korner. 

“The really cool thing about our menu is that it was curated by an award-winning chef from New Orleans, chef David Dickensauge, two-time Seafood King. So we just let him roll with it. I mean it is something that is his bread and butter that he started doing. He worked with restaurants on Bourbon Street, so it was really easy for him to bring his recipes to Chicago,” Callanta said.

The special food menu includes favorites like Gumbo Ya-Ya, that has chicken and house-made andouille; the Chicago Creole Dog that combines the best of both worlds: a sausage topped with crawfish chili, crab-boiled pickles and pickled collard greens; and more. 

Houndstooth Saloon

For dessert, guests can order freshly baked King Cake Cupcakes featuring Bavarian crème and strawberry filling inside red velvet and cinnamon roll-flavored cake or Chef Dickensauge’s homemade Beignets.

And to pair perfectly with the food menu, the French Korner also has a specialty drink menu complete with Bourbon Street classics like Hand Grenades and Hurricanes, as well as a Voo Doo Punch Bowls, Erin Rose, a Café Brulot, and more!

In other words, it is a non-stop Mardi Gras party at French Korner.

French Korner at Houndstooth
Houndstooth Saloon

The pop-up also features themed nights including a Bourbon Street Burlesque show on Monday nights and live music, including local jazz and blues musicians, on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights. Finish off the weekend with Live Band Karaoke every Sunday, with a specialty Masked Karaoke night on Sunday, Feb. 23.

There will also be special events throughout the month of February, including mask painting and decorating on Tuesdays, with half-priced wine bottles. Pick a mask from French Korner's collection and use glitter, paint, feathers and gems to make a personalized mask ahead of the Masquerade Ball or just for fun! Enjoy half-priced bottles of wine all night. 

On Saturday, Feb. 15, the French Korner will host a Masquerade Ball. Dance all night long and enjoy southern-inspired bites. Guests who bring their own mask will receive a complimentary glass of champagne.

French Korner at Houndstooth
Houndstooth Saloon

On Friday, Feb. 21 there will be a VooDoo Hot Wing Challenge. Test your ability to see how many hot wings you can eat. There will be a specialty house-made spice blend sure to set your mouth on fire! Prove you are the spice king and enter to win!

And then on Saturday, Feb. 22 Houndstooth Saloon is hosting Houndapalooza! Spend Saturday at The French Korner at Houndstooth for a day filled with live music and a crawfish boil with Chef David Dickensauge. There will be two different styles of crawfish served: Vietnamese and Cajun-style.

And to wrap it all up, the festivities conclude Tuesday, Feb. 25 for a Fat Tuesday Celebration with live music, traditional food and drink and a Fat Head parade all night long!

French Korner will be open through Fat Tuesday, Feb. 25.