Local News

Chums Shrimp Shack doing brisk business as it opens its doors in St. Charles

Located in former Beef Shack building

Fishermen are known to throw chum – chopped fish – into the water in order to increase their catch.

Living up to its name, Chums Shrimp Shack has been busy since opening its doors on Oct. 12 in the former Beef Shack building at 2115 W. Main St. in St. Charles. The restaurant had moved from its location at 116 Penny Ave. in East Dundee, where it had been located since 2019.

“We have been slammed,” said Jennifer Solare of St. Charles, who owns the restaurant with her husband, Tony.

The restaurant is a gourmet fish house, with everything made fresh to order. So customers might have to wait a little while for their order to be ready.

In fact, there is a sign in the restaurant that states, “Please be patient. Everything is caught to order.”

“Our menu is so unique that everything is made to order,” she said.

Those who like seafood will find a variety of choices on the menu, from the surf and turf lobster cheesesteak to the big wally sandwich to the lobster rolls. Customers can also order such items as the jumbo shrimp, fried walleye, fried oysters and fried calamari by the pound.

Other items include the shrimp or oyster po’ boy, shrimp quesadilla and mojito lime wrap.

The lobster rolls and the lobster mac & cheese are among the most popular items on the menu. Jennifer Solare takes pride in the restaurant having such a unique menu.

“I just think you can’t get a lot of this stuff anywhere,” she said.

The restaurant also offers a catering menu. Chums requires 48 hours notice for all catering orders.

“In our old location, we used to do a ton of catering for medical offices and meetings,” she said.

Jennifer Solare said it’s nice to have a business in the same city her family calls home.

“It’s nice because we’re so involved in the town,” she said. “I’ve got three boys and I have one that does football and basketball, the other one does golf and lacrosse and the other one does soccer. It is nice to be in our town because we are so involved in so many different things, including charities like Cal’s Angels and CASA Kane County.”

The couple believes in giving back to the community.

Beef Shack will be returning to the neighborhood when it opens in the coming months in the former TitleMax building near its former location. When he was a commodity trader, Tony Solare said he would regularly visit shrimp shacks with his colleagues.

“I was thinking, ‘What could I do different that these places don’t have?’ he said.

Chums already offers indoor dining and plans are to add an outdoor cafe.

“The parking lot is big enough for it,” Tony Solare said. “There’s a lot of things you can do here. I think it would be great for the town.”

He is already seeing a lot of his longtime customers at Chums’ new location. And as he noted, people are coming from all over the area.

“People are coming from Elburn, Maple Park and Lake in the Hills,” Tony Solare said. “There’s no other places like this that offer items like lobster rolls and lobster mac & cheese.”

Chums is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. For more information, go to chumsshrimpshack.net.

Eric Schelkopf

Eric Schelkopf

Eric Schelkopf covers St. Charles and writes entertainment stories for the Kane County Chronicle.