Crazy Joe’s Fish House
Crazy Joe’s is our go-to place. Soon as the days start to get longer we both start to basically crave Crazy Joe’s on Friday nights. Now it is open all year and we go quite often but there is something about going there in the summer that just feels right.
How to get there
Our almost weekly trips to Crazy Joes start out with a Backroad trip from our house to there. Most times it is in the jeep with the top down and doors off. It is a perfect drive through the countryside. Across Kinkaid Lake into the hills of beautiful Southern Illinois. (There are only a few places I would move from our house for. The Hills around Kinkaid Lake is one of them. We are truly blessed in Southern Illinois it is a beautiful place.)
No matter which directions you are coming from in Southern Illinois you will have to eventually turn onto what is known as Keller Hwy to all of us in SoIL. To the rest of the world, it is Hwy 151. After you get on 151 whether from the North or the South. You will then turn West onto Kessel Road. Next, you follow Kessel road until it ends. There will then be a sign and you won’t be able to miss it. I promise.
Back to info about Crazy Joe’s. Two weeks ago we headed out a little bit early for me and Pop. But we were headed to meet part of my family for dinner. One of my Brothers was getting married on Sunday and he had just got into town. My parents are very old fashion in the sense that they eat supper at 5 every night. So we had to leave the house by four thirtyish, which the biggest drawback to that is you don’t get to see the amazing sunsets on your trip to Crazy Joe’s. Needless to say, we were the first to arrive for dinner that night so our pictures show an empty restaurant that is normally full to the gills (yes I know corny fish reference here).
A Little about Crazy Joe’s
To understand how it works now you need to know a little about the history of Crazy Joe’s.
When it first opened it was a Pole Barn with no real windows. You ordered outside at the window to the kitchen which is a different building. You then tried to find a seat at one of the picnic tables and you had to bring your own drinks. No drinks of any kind were sold. Just Fish and Joe Fries. It was only open on Friday and Saturday nights from April to November. Sometimes your food was done way before there were any seats open. Other times it took a little while for your food. No matter what you waited the food was that good.
Fast forward a few years. Crazy Joe no longer owns it. Rabbit and his Son now run it. You still order outside at the Kitchen window the menu has several more items added to it. The Barn now has windows, A/C, wood stove for heat, several televisions and a few booths. You can still sit at one of the picnic tables, and a cute little deck has been added off the back for when the weather is nice. They now have a bar where you can get a number of different drinks, from a cold beer, a few mixed drinks, and sodas in a can served with a cup of ice. The best change has been that they are now open all year on Friday and Saturday nights.
One thing that hasn’t ever changed is they only accept Cash. You pay for your drinks as you go and your food before you leave. They hand you a number when you order and when they food is done they walk through the room and hollar out numbers. Hollar back if you want your food. You don’t have a waitress so make sure you clean up after yourself. Leave the tables how you would want them when you make in to eat.
They are famous for there fish. My favorite is the Catfish strips, Pop loves their white fish. We also disagree on the fries I am a Joe Fries all the way girl (homemade potato chips with a slightly spicy seasoning on them). I have been known to only get them for my meal they are that good. Pop wants the crinkle fries. My mom thinks their Bluegill is to die for and my Brother will get nothing but the whole catfish. To be honest I haven’t ever had anything bad there.
I have tried just about everything on the menu I think. Now if you are health conscious and don’t like fried food then this probably isn’t the place for you. Crazy Joe’s has a large selection of appetizers also. I personally can’t eat here unless I have corn nuggets for an appetizer, and pop always gets cheese sticks. The Blond always get mini tacos. Yep, you guessed it all fried.
Each meal does come with a cup of homemade slaw, a slice of bread, and a slice of onion. Now keep in mind this place really is in the middle of nowhere. So they can’t just run to the store if they run out of something. So they might just be out of what you want. Also being off the beaten path can make it hard to figure out who might be coming this week so they may be really, really, really busy. Or have nobody at all show-up. I can’t imagine trying to plan for that. They do a great job.
One additional Item
Can we say tacos. They are now also open on Wednesday nights for Taco night. You are in for a treat if you can get there before they run out. Sometimes I think they might be busier on Wednesday than they are on the weekends. If you have never had a deep-fried flour shell with there homemade taco seasoned meat then you don’t know what you are missing. They are (at least last time we made it there in time) $1.50 a taco and you order as many as you want. You can also get appetizers that night as well. Plus a few domestic Beers are a $1.00 a piece.
Now I am Hungry
Ok, now that I told you all about our favorite go-to place I am hungry. I could go on and on about Crazy Joes but you just need to go there to see it for yourself. It is a good time in itself just to look around at the stuff hanging on the walls and ceiling. If you are lucky you may even be there on a night when there is live music also.
It is one place that you walk into and you almost feel like it is your place also. Everyone if friendly they remember who you are and if it has been a while since you have been there that want to make sure you were ok while you were gone.
For us locals, the really funny part is you can tell who had no idea what they are getting into when they come in and set down and wait for someone to come to take care of them. So don’t be that person. Act like you have been here before walk up to the window and order your catfish and joe fries. Go to the bar get your drink and grab a table. Say Hi to the person next to you. When you get your food if you like hot stuff say yes to the Joe Sauce. If they don’t ask you if you want it that means they know you don’t know what it is. So ask for it.