The pandemic was no match for Bumbu Roux, Chris Reed’s melodious Indonesian-Creole food combo. He and his mom Priscilla-Jane were approaching the one-year mark at Politan Row, serving up blackened catfish, and red beans and rice, alongside beef rendang, and chicken bakar, when COVID came to town. The food hall shut down and never reopened, but Bumbu Roux quickly pivoted to pick up and delivery, jarred some sambal to sell, hosted online cooking classes, and even contributed the secrets to their Chicken in Sweet Soy Sauce and Ginger to Reader Recipes: Chicago Cooks and Drinks at Home (which you can still purchase).
They eventually returned to the catering and pop-ups they started with in 2008, when they were known as the Rice Table. That included the “Got You Some” party series Reed launched with reed player Hunter Diamond and his traditional New Orleans jazz outfit Herbsaint, together channeling the classic duets of Mezz Mezzrow (Chicago) and Sidney Bechet (New Orleans).
With all that he’s in no hurry to return to a brick-and-mortar restaurant—but he will for one night, on week ten of Monday Night Foodball, the Reader’s ongoing chef pop-up series at Irving Park’s Kedzie Inn. Reed will be in the house with creole gumbo, roast beef po’ boys, catfish, beignets, and of course, rb&r. It’s all served to the sounds of Bechet, Louis Armstrong, and Johnny Dodds, and washed down with Jon Pokorny’s Pimm’s Cup.
Reed is taking orders now, but like always, walk-ins are welcome any time after 5 PM, this Monday, November 1, at the Kedzie Inn, 4100, N. Kedzie.
Monday Night Foodball continues:
11/22: Barbecue Life Coach Gary Wiviott
11/29: Thanksgiving/Hannukah break