Ramblin' Recs


Ursuline’s Kitchen

20 W. 79th Ave.
Merrillville, IN


“As cute as a teddy bear filled with cotton candy.” That compliment, brimming with Southern charm, was bestowed on a friend at Jacques-Imo’s Cafe in New Orleans. Stories about her recent trip, the famous hospitality and the amazing robust flavors left me longing for some good ol’ Cajun and Creole food.

I headed to Ursuline’s Kitchen in Merrillville for lunch. Ursuline’s is a quaint, kitschy restaurant and the former home of Bon Femme. The new owner, Leslie, kept some of the recipes of that popular French café – now located in Valparaiso – but added a lot of Cajun and Creole flair.

The daily menu is posted at a few locations around the restaurant and also is brought on a traveling message board to your table. The menu isn’t sprawling but rather small and focused.

I decided on the tilapia po’ boy sandwich, which arrived with mixed greens and dirty rice. The fish was prepared with a slightly spicy and well-flavored seasoning, sautéed and served on a French roll. The smoky mixed greens complemented the sandwich nicely. The dirty rice had a bit of a kick and great flavor, and I was sad to see it go.

My dining partner chose the French onion soup and Creole quiche. The soup was really tasty, and I loved all of the classic Creole elements in the quiche. The holy trinity – green peppers, onion and celery – the roux and cayenne were all present and accounted for. I highly recommend it!

Infused with the sounds of jazz, Ursuline’s is a dimly-lit, romantic restaurant that welcomes all. The owner travels the room, talking with guests and welcoming feedback. We did not feel rushed to leave, allowing us to embrace a little New Orleans charm in Northwest Indiana.