Monday, June 28, 2010

Uncle John's Barbecue

-Grubbing in Chicago
Where the locals eat.

Mark today's stop as one of my favorite spots in the city. When it comes to BBQ, Uncle John's over on Calumet and 69th and its pitmaster Mack are the holy grail of smoked meats in the Windy City. Its a spot I was first put onto by my man G Wiv thru one of his posts about it over at LTHforum. In case you didn't know G Wiv is also the godfather of Chicago 'que and has written a book on making real deal BBQ the real deal way, low and slow. If there was one book you needed to own in your BBQ collection, this would be it. Uncle John's is where the boss of BBQ in this city eats his smoked meats and it's damn easy to see why. It is one of the best barbecue joints in not just the city but the country. It's been around for about four years now since Mack opened it up after working at another famous Chicago 'que joint. It has been getting lots of press of late since it is G Wiv's spot for good Chicago BBQ. Recently its been in the Tribune, on WGN news and discussed on all sorts of food forums and boards and featured in other articles. Just a couple weeks ago Gary aka G Wiv took Andrew Zimmern of Bizarre Foods there for the Chicago taping. So its already getting loads of people from all over with plenty more coming after the episode airs and I'm about to send more.


Andrew Zimmern with G Wiv outside Uncle John's (pic by PhilW)

Let me start off by letting everyone know that if you have any hesitation about going to the neighborhood because you've never been south of 18th street to have that fear no more. It was a safe place when the spot was relatively unknown by northsiders and now that there's people coming from all over its still just as safe. The people that work with Mack, family and friends, are as nice and helpful as you can get. What's funny is, its the places like Uncle John's where I experience the best and most warm receptions from its employees. Its when I go to some trendy ass bar or hipster restaurant where I get snobby ass looks and actions from employees that are mad that I'm ordering alot of food and drinks and asking questions. Mack would love to share his knowledge of BBQ with you and is happy to answer questions about his specialty and what they do with it. As G Wiv put it "It's great to have Mack back and cooking BBQ, there are only a few real Pitmasters left in Chicago."


To the right as you walk in


The aquarium style smoker used at Uncle John's to smoke the meats

As you can see from the picture above, the meats are smoked at UJ's using an aquarium style smoker which is a custom piece of equipment very popular to the Chicagoland area. If you go over HERE you check out a thread from LTH about the history of the aquarium style smoker. Once again I will quote the Godfather of Chicago Barbecue on them in which he said "The Aquarium cooker seems to be Chicago specific, and they can be found all over Chicago, unfortunately few places still use them for anything but show or holding meat. Turning out good BBQ on an Aquarium style smoker is a dying art." Which is why UJ's is such a treasure to have and it's all about the 'que. As you do or don't know, I always order my BBQ with the sauce on the side. Its a way of being able to taste the smokiness and not drown the meat in sauce and changing the texture. The sauce is however phenomenal. It comes in a hot or mild variety and the hot is HOT. I always go with that.


Mack's HOT sauce

So what about the BBQ? what is it at Uncle John's that makes them one of the best yet? Well its all about the tips and links and everyone will tell you this. Don't discount the full slabs of ribs either because those too are great but in Chicago we love our rib tips. We also LOVE Mack's housemade hot links which are some of the best links you will ever come across. When you the pair the two of those together in a combo, you got a little taste of heaven.


XL Tips and Links Combo

Rib tips are Chicago's BBQ specialty. Memphis has the ribs, KC the sauce, Texas the brisket, Carolina's got pulled pork and Chicago's got its rib tips. I've basically grown up on the meaty end part of a spare rib slab that is cut off and smoked and then chopped, bones and all before serving. Tips when done right are full of flavor and provide a perfect balance of succulent smokey meat and crisp charred edges or bark as the pitmasters call it. While we still have 100's of places in Chicago that do up rib tips there arent as many that do a perfect job with them each and every time, which is the case over at Uncle John's. I just cant get enough rib tips from Mack and his staff. They got the perfect amount of smoke, fat and gristle in each and every bite and manage to make the outside nice and chewy in a good way while the meat inside is tender and melts on your tongue.


Nice piece of bark from a batch of Rib Tips

But you cant go there and just get the tips, you need to get the combo. The housemade hot links are simply outstanding. Quite easily some of the best sausage anywhere on the earth and as addictive as crack and facebook. Mack takes a very well coarse link that's perfect in texture and is seasoned with fresh spices and peppers and then smokes it to precision and once you dip it in some hot BBQ sauce it's called sheer perfection. In fact if you call ahead, which I always suggest you do, to make sure they're open, you can order Mack's hot links by the case and half case. Give them a day or two's notice but these are a must have for any tailgate or backyard BBQ party your planning on having this summer. It's hard to come up with anything better, all you need is the links, some wood and a little bit of time along with an ice cold beer.


Mack's housemade hot links on the Godfathers smoker

So if you were planning on taking a trip to Chicago this summer or taking a trip somewhere in your city for some good bbq, you now have your spot. The 'que even travels real well (make sure you get sauce on the side) so you can can make a call ahead order and take it over to Calumet Park and eat it along the lake or back home or at US Cell field for some tailgating eating or whatever the hell you want to do. Its all up to you, just know that all of us who have been, have done so a countless amount of times. Its one of those places that will be in your regular rotation, the rest of your life. Please note to call before your visit if you plan on making a trek to UJ's (which is well worth it) the hours can sometimes change and they, like the rest of us, like a vacation now and then too. Although every time I go by there, I feel like I'm on vacation eating the best bbq in the Midwest. If your planning on taking a food journey this summer, Uncle John's is your spot.


Inside of a hot link, a beautiful piece of art it is...

Uncle Johns
337 East 69th Street
Chicago, IL 60637-4638
(773) 892-1233

Uncle John's Barbecue on Urbanspoon

Friday, June 25, 2010

Koney King

-Exploring NW Indiana

With the one year anniversary of the King of Weird's death coming around your going to see quite a few news stories and such about it. I'm sure to go with that, you'll see a boatload of memorials and plenty more weird people crying that he's gone. So were going to try to go with the flow and so with that today we head to Michael Jackson's hometown of Gary, Indiana to a place I'm sure the Jackson's visited now and then, the Koney King. Like the rest of the town this little popular Coney dog shack is stuck in time back when it was an up and coming U.S city with its steel mills and other urban plants and plenty of work. As you can see according to its sign this particular place has been in operation since 1920 and I'm sure it has some stories to tell.


a locals favorite in Gary, IN

I had read about this place thru LThforum and since I find it very interesting to take a ride thru Gary I eventually passed by it one day while riding thru to Michigan. I had to have a stop in and see what was going on at this last of a dying breed Coney shop in Gary. There was a time when there were quite a few Coney dog shops in Gary much like there are in Detroit and other Midwestern blue collar cities. The inside is fairly simple with a counter and some stools, the menu is also fairly simple and the hot dogs sit on a flattop in the window. The service is very friendly and on our visit there was a group of regulars who had most likely been eating and chatting there for generations.


Koney Kings menu


regular old hot dogs roasting away

After some very friendly dialect between us and the reg's I decided I had to have a dog, burger and cup of chili. You just don't find too many places like this spot anymore and we were quite pleased with the visit. The chili came with onions and crackers and it was a hearty Midwest blend. It wasn't my all time favorite but you could see yourself indulging after a long day of work at the mill in the wintertime. I'm suspecting many people that have lived or still do reside in Gary have been here countless times, its a real neighborhood type spot. The chili cheeseburger tasted old school in that good way meaning it seems like they been making them like that for a long time now.


cup of Koney King's chili


chili cheeseburger

But hey its not called the Koney King for nothing so its all about the Coney dogs. I somewhat surprisingly very much enjoyed my dog and the sum of it as a whole. Sure the hot dog was your standard child's play version but when combined with the chili and cheese and some fresh diced onions it was real chart topper. In case you couldn't figure it out by now I'm not all that sad of the king of pop's death. Quite frankly I think he was straight weird but for those that haven't been to Gary, its a startling place and it's death is more saddening than Jacko's, to me anyway. Luckily there are a few things that remain from when it was a different world and the Koney King and their dogs are one of them.


Koney Dog from Koney King

Koney King
4601 Broadway
Gary, IN 46409-2425
(219) 887-1843

Koney King Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

De Pasada

-Got Beef? taco's de carne asada

We're back on the steak taco tour. Ashland ave is home to many taquerias and has been for some time. That list includes De Pasada on the 1100 N. block of it in Ukrainian Village. Its been around for a while now and I hadn't been in a long time since La Pasadita is right down the street but I stopped in a month or so back to try some of their tacos de carne asada.


Located along Ashland ave

Its hard to get a good read on this place. The hours can vary greatly and sometimes there's no one in there other times there's a nice crowd. There had been times before when I was going to stop in and get a couple tacos but they weren't open at a time they usually were and seem to have late night hours but sometimes they arent open. I have been to their other location over on Taylor st. but I believe this to be the original. Aside from their steak tacos the breakfast burrittos also seem to be ordered by a few people on my last visit. I did make a mental note that maybe I should come back and try one but this visit was all about the steak tacos. I went with a steak taco dinner which included three steak tacos and some rice and beans. It was a pretty good deal but would it be any good?


Steak Taco Dinner from De Pasada

I'm afraid that really wasn't the case on my most recent visit. I've come to expect a good steak product when I'm getting steak tacos from a popular authentic place and that just wasn't the deal on my visit. The tortillas were barely warmed thru and the steak must of been cooked a while ahead. It had no juice and was basically dried out but not in a good taco cecina type way. I might get back one day for one of those breakfast burrittos they have on the chalkboard but I don't think I'll be back for tacos de carne asasda anytime soon.


Up Close of a steak taco from De Pasada

Rating Scale 5/5

steak: 3
cilantro/onions: 3
tortilla: 2
salsa: 3

Score: 11/20

De Pasada
1108 N. Ashland ave
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 278-4886

Monday, June 21, 2010

Little Frank's Pizza & Shaved Ice

-The other Chicago-style pizza: Tavern Style

Back in April I took a trip to Burbank to try out a longtime favorite pizza spot of the locals and also a BBQ buddy of mine. I was with two of my boys and we weren't starving since we hit up another place to be featured but wanted to try a pizza from here since that was the original plan. We made our way over and before getting in the parking lot I spied a Hawaiian shaved ice spot that I made a mental note of that was right around the corner from the pizzeria/bar/barber shop trio that's been around since the 70's. There also happens to be a model train shop next door to the trio so this place is indeed pretty damn old school.


Locals favorite in Burbank, IL

In the trio of the barber shop/bar/pizza place both the pizzeria and the bar are connected. The ordering area for Little franks has no seats and is used for pick-up, delivery and anybody who wants to eat a pizza at the bar next door. We went with a large thin sausage pizza and told the people at the SRO ordering area that we'd be eating the pie at the bar next door. So we hopped on in to watch a little baseball (it was early in the season, Cubs still had hope) while we waited. It already started right with the fact their special that night was a large pizza and pitcher of beer (the usual cheap ones from USA) for $12, still you cant beat that. It took about 20 minutes and then the bartender brought us out the pizza.


Large sausage pizza from Little Frank's

It came out piping hot so we gave it a good five minutes before we digged in. The pie wasn't as thin as Marie's or Pat's and other spots like that but still thin. It reminded me of Rosangela's on 95th in Evergreen Park more than anything. This was some really good bar food and they had some great specials like two for one pizza night etc...


Sideshot

Overall the pie was great for what its there for, bar patrons and neighborhood people. I thought the best part was the sausage. Like usual in Chicagoland it was very good and the best part of it. I also liked the sauce, nice and tangy. It's a good pizza to have if your at the bar next door and for anyone from the neighborhood to have as their go to pizza place. I enjoyed the trip and loved the leftovers I chowed down at room temp later on that night.


Piece of tavern style thin from little Frank's

Rating Scale 5/5

crust: 3
sauce: 4
toppings: 4
Crispness: 3

Score: 14/20

The best part of the meal wasnt even ordered and came from a stereotypical Harley riding Vet. He had the gut, beard and bikers outfit as your picturing in your head right now along with the Veteran baseball cap. He was a regular at the bar named Gordo who stopped by to tell a few jokes, that were pretty damn funny, and to offer us up some of his homemade super spicy peanut brittle. It was a wonderful treat that went from sweet to super hot and then back to sweet. He was a really nice and also funny dude and even gave us a bagful that he insisted we take upon leaving. All he asked was that we come on back. That I will next time I'm in the area.


Gordo's Spicy peanut Brittle

My mouth was feeling the heat from the brittle and I went around the corner to check out the Hawaiian shaved Ice spot and see what was up. It wasn't anything crazy authentic according to my buddy who goes to Hawaii every year, but it did the trick of cooling down my steaming mouth and I still quite enjoyed it since I have always loved shaved ice and its a great summertime treat, especially after some of Gordo's brittle.



around the corner from little Frank's in Burbank


The machines can be rented out for parties


cantaloupe/watermelon Ice
______________________________

Little Franks Pizzeria
6355 West 79th Street
Burbank, IL 60459-1149
(708) 598-8660

Little Frank's Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

Tropical Sno
7905 Narragansett Avenue
Burbank, IL 60459-1807
(708) 430-8604

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Great Steak Sauce Taste Off

--Tailgatin' and how to make mofos start playa hatin' (Recipes)

I recently mc'd a gathering for 6 (+me) of my food buddies and we had a steak sauce taste off. It was a great event and a helluva way to start off summer the grilling season. We would be trying six different steak sauces including the most well known of the bunch, A1. I had brought a few and another friend of mine who said he had a few different kinds in his pantry brought the others. We had a friend who was judging the contests wife pour the bottles into plastic cups and label them 1-6 and since she wasn't all that into it, she would be the only one who knew what the numbers of each sauce was. Scoring was quite simple with 6 points being awarded to a judges favorite all the way down to just one point for their least favorite. Of course we would be using grilled steaks as the meat of choice for tasting the sauces with. Here is how it went down. Read on to see how you can have a chance to get a free bottle of the winning sauce.


2010 Great Steak Sauce Taste Off Contestants
________________________________________

A1

Final Score: 17 points for 5th place
Highest Score: 4 by one person
Lowest Score: 1 by one person
Weird Ingredient: raisin paste

Notes: Well this was interesting considering that A1 is the most widely known brand at least in the United States. Well it didn't fare too well in this blind tasting contest and was voted in the bottom half by six of the seven judges. I would believe the steak sauce is one of the Kraft food companies big earners and I actually don't mind it but it didn't stack up with the rest, it got a two from me.
________________________________________

Ashanti

Final Score: 23 points for 4th place (lost tiebreaker)
Highest Score: 5 by one person
Lowest Score: 1 by one person
Weird Ingredient: raisin paste, OJ concentrate, oil of grapefruit

Notes: This is a steak sauce made by Bridge Foods who is based out of New Orleans. I brought this one with me and score it a four and quite enjoyed it to the point where I wanted to give it maybe even a five but when I had a taste off with my five score it just lost out.
________________________________________

Louisiana Supreme

Final Score: 23 points for 3rd place (won tiebreaker)
Highest Score: 6 by one person
Lowest Score: 1 by one person
Weird Ingredient: raisins, crushed oranges

Notes: The second of the Louisiana natives steak sauces just so happened to score the same points as the other contestant. Louisiana Supreme won the tiebreaker with having a score of six (Ashanti scored a high of five) from one of the judges but it also had a one just like Ashanti sauce did. I gave it a score of three so I actually slightly preferred the Ashanti sauce but never the less I also liked this. The contestants in the 1st ever Sauce Off were pretty strong in my opinion.
________________________________________

Original Australian

Final Score: 12 points for 6th place
Highest Score: 3 by two people
Lowest Score: 1 by four people
Weird Ingredient: raisin paste, anchovy

Notes: The sauces full name goes by Original Australian Awesome Steak Sauce but nobody thought of it like they think of themselves. The main reason being how much thinner it was than all the others. It was almost like a marinade and not a sauce. It was my lowest rated mostly to do with this. I kept thinking maybe it would be better served by marinating some cubes of beef for Australian steak kabobs or something to that effect.
________________________________________

London Pub Jamaican Style Spicy

Final Score: 35 points for 2nd place
Highest Score: 6 by two people
Lowest Score: 4 by one person
Weird Ingredient: Tamarind concentrate

Notes: This sauce comes from the London Pub line of condiments which is a line of many English condiments including their original style steak sauce and this spicy Jamaican version that scored very well. I am a regular consumer of this brand when I see them in the grocery store and had brought this bottle with me along with the two Louisiana sauces. I love this stuff, specifically the Jamaican style due to the extra heat and fact it goes so well with everything. I use it in my Sheppard's pie, meatloafs, steaks, tater tots, you name it. I was surprised when I scored it a five and it had me wondering what I scored the six. Its still one of if not my favorite steak sauces.
________________________________________

YR Sauce

Final Score: 37 points for 1st place
Highest Score: 6 by three people
Lowest Score: 4 by one person
Weird Ingredient: Apples, Dates

Notes: It was a close call but the fifth generation YR Irish Sauce beat out the English sauce for 1st place in the 1st ever Great Steak Sauce Taste Off. In fact I even gave it a six over my favorite that I had brought which I gave a five. I really liked the stuff because as opposed to the last place finisher it was thick and hearty as it describes itself. I will stock up when I get my chance. If your in the Chicagoland area and you know where to get this let us know. Read on.


The 2010 Great Steak Sauce Taste Off Winner (win this bottle)

Oddly enough my rankings pretty much equaled the final results with just a switch here and there. So when I asked my friend where he got the bottle he told me Strack & Van Til over on Clybourn, a spot I like b/c they carry regional products and have a selection unlike the two main grocery stores in town. But then when I went over there to get some they didn't have any and I went to the people at the company and they told me they didn't think there were any spots for it in Chicago but that they would send me a few bottles, after I told them why I was looking. Well I'm pretty sure you can because I've seen the stuff since at a couple Irish Pubs and know its around since my friend got it at S&VT. But I can make it easy for you. Read on below.


One of the steaks used in the taste off with some twice baked mashed

To get a bottle of the 2010 "Steak Sauce Taste Off" just join my facebook group or click follow on this very site near the top right (those already in the group or following are automatically entered) and you will be automatically entered into the contest where two random winners will be chosen from a random computer drawing on June the 25th, 2010. Good grillings to all and thanks again for reading. Plenty more to come this summer. Stay tuned.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Muskie's

-Got beef?
The Burgers of Chi

Today were headed to a classic neighborhood joint not too far from where I come from. In fact I've been eating the burgers at Muskie's since I can remember and its a place that's always been in my rotation. Its one of them spots where when you see it and its old school sign and you just gotta stop on in and see whats going on. Anyone who's lived in the 'hood and all those that currently do have most likely been to Muskie's. Its been around forever and from my recollection it hasn't really changed all that much. Its one of them neighborhood joints where the people working there are great and you can also get a well priced to go with the kindness and of course their much loved charred burgers and dogs, fresh cut fries and shakes.


a staple in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood

The menu at Muskie's is pretty simple since it is literally a small shack. Aside from their most popular item the burgers they also do up an amazing grilled chicken sandwich and have a gyro cone along with hot dogs and some exceptional fresh cut fries from real American potatoes. Some of the best fries in the city in fact. You see not to many places do up thin fresh cut fries anymore. Luckily there's still alot of spots that make fresh cut fries and Muskies is one of them and they also happen to be thin, about the same size of McDonalds but these are so, so much better.


Muskie's thinly cut fresh fries

-The Sammy's of Chi

I had heard a while back that Muskie's had a really fantastic chicken sandwich and it wasn't to be missed. So maybe about three or four years ago I finally gave their famous chicken sandwich a try. It quickly became my favorite grilled chicken sandwich in the city. They char up a well marinated breast perfectly and top it with bacon, Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato and mayo. Its no surprise muskie's always smells so good when you walk by. The smoke from the burgers, dogs and this fine sandwich are always grilling away while the place is open because people cant get enough. I cant get enough either and when the hankering for a char grilled chicken sandwich comes around, Muskies comes to mind. Apparently the same can be said for what seems like the entire CPD (Chicago Police Department).


Muskie's must get chicken sandwich

Chicago is a roadfood loving type of town. We love our hot dogs, beefs, pizza, taco joints and all the rest of the wonderful regional eats you can find throughout the city and course we love burgers. I wouldn't say that there's a specific "Chicago Style" burger but if I were asked to describe one, the burgers from Muskie's and how they are done would be my answer. The burgers are char grilled to your liking and the only way to get one is with cheddar. Except this isn't a slice of cheddar cheese, like so many other spots in Chicago Muskie's has been using Merkt's cheddar spread for their cheeseburgers. You don't find this spectacular combo in too many other spots around the country. The melted spread works real well with a charred burger patty and some grilled onions and mustard and the bun holds up to the slop. It's quick, cheap and always been an old neighborhood standby going on 20+ years now.


Muskie's char grilled cheddar burger

Muskie's Hamburgers
2878 North Lincoln Avenue
Chicago, IL 60657-4202
(773) 883-1633

Muskie's Hamburgers on Urbanspoon

Friday, June 11, 2010

West Bay Diner (Grand Marais, MI)

Eating like a local:
Regional food specialties

-The Diners of America ft Grand Marais, MI

This is an excerpt from a trip report I wrote. Me and a couple buddies took this trip a couple summers ago. We did the Lake Michigan Circle Tour and decided to head up to Lake Superior and while up there we went to visit the Great Lakes Shipwreck museum. We found a great little diner way up there in Michigan.


We stopped for food/gas in Grand Marais, MI (click pic to enhance)

This ended up being a blessing. One of the things I try to do on a roadtrip is not plan to eat at too many places. This way you always stumble across a gem tucked away somewhere or something unexpected. The Stern's (roadfood) would really love this place.


West Bay Diner

"This rare 26-seat 1949 Paramount "Road King" diner car is the former Matamoras diner from the Pocono Mountains of eastern Pennsylvania. The diner came across the Mackinac Bridge to the shore of Lake Superior in 1997"--from a postcard the waitress gave me.

This is a real small spot and if busy your order may take a while but its all worth it. On top of the diner fare they also have a ice cream station, deli, pop shop and a bunch of other things to keep you busy during your wait. Also featured on the menu is the days selection of burgers. On any day you may have a choice between beef, elk, buffalo and venison.


Not your typical diner food


One of the two pop coolers where they feature a nice selection of bottled pop

I still remember this place maybe the most out of all the stops we made for food on our epic journey around Lake Michigan and up to Lake Superior. Since we were within a few 100 yards of the great lake and they had fresh whitefish on the menu, that's what we all went with. Smart choice, always eat whats local to the area your in and you should be all good. Were will summer take me this year? Stay tuned.


Fresh fried whitefish sandwich


Whitefish and chips


Some pop for the cooler in the car as we continued our journey

West Bay Diner
P.O Box 218
Veterans Street 49839
Grand Marais, MI

West Bay Diner & Delicatessen on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Hip Asian in LP

-Oh Yeah, I've been there too
Little Brothers

Neighborhood: Lincoln Park/Depaul
Cuisine: Korean/Pan Asian
Price Range: $8-$10
Would I go again? Ya I'll get back there again, I enjoyed my first visit


a popular stop for students in Lincoln Park

Little Brothers has been open for a few years now, maybe even just a couple and it seems to be doing pretty well. Its on Fullerton right off Lincoln about a block down from the Fullerton Red Line stop and right near the Depaul campus. Its menu is pretty simple and it can best be described as Hip Asian with a feature on Korean menu items. What is hip Asian you ask? Its basically a spot that was made to attract the young aged crowd that it rests around. The main menu item ordered from here are plates and they come with two sides. You can build your plate with steak, chicken or tofu and have your meat one of three ways-Korean Spicy, Thai Sweet Chili or teriyaki. For those that cant decide you can also go with a two meat plate or just get all three. On my first visit I got a steak Korean Spicy style and got some dumplings and edamame to go with it along with a big side of white rice. I was very pleased with my plate and am eager to try it again and have my eye on another favorite of mine they have on the menu bibimbap. The steak was really tender and had some great flavor. I like how they keep the menu small yet still give you a nice selection that everyone can find something they like from it.


Korean Spicy Steak Plate

Little Brothers
818 West Fullerton Avenue
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 661-6482

Little Brother's on Urbanspoon

Monday, June 7, 2010

Terry's Red Hot

-In Chicago: Every Dog Has it's Day

We're back on the Chicago hot dog stand tour and today's stop is Terry's Red Hot so get your seatbelts on, we taking a blast back to the past. Let me start out by saying I love this place and the food is only the second reason why. Here sits this ghetto red cinder block shack under the El tracks in what is now an ultra trendy neighborhood. Terry's Red Hot is about the only thing that remains from the 80's and early 90's when it comes to the area where it rests on North ave. and Larrabee. I love it. I'm sure there's millions of people who have driven by in their lifetime but not too many ever thought twice about stopping in. I tell it like it is and this place was a popular stop for the residents of Cabrini Green aka Gangsta City.

Please Note: some people may find the second link titled "Gangsta City" and its video offensive.


Found along North ave in/near Old Town

Its also always been a stop I have made a few times a year when I get the hankering for straight grease laced food at a great price. You wont find any salads on the menu over there. Terry's is one of the last of a dying breed. Most hot dog stands around town that were built back in the day are long gone. Terry's is almost a landmark monument as far as I'm concerned. It really is one of the only things that remains from the neighborhood where it rests. When you walk in there is no sitting room at all and most people make their order to go from the other side of the metal screen. There is nothing fancy at all about this place its about the bare minimum when it comes to decor and ambiance but it still has good traffic throughout the day. Oh and I promise nothing will happen to you if you decide to stop on in for a cheap, quick and greasy bite to eat.


Entry from Larrabee street side

Terry's is now owned by an Asian couple or family and like alot of the other Asian owned hot dog joints around town they have a few Asian items on the menu. The menu still consists of the namesake item, hot dogs as well as fried rice, egg rolls, tacos and a few other items I have never gotten and so I cant remember. Its pretty much the bare minimum when it comes to the food here as well but its cheap and quick and some of the items aint all that bad. I occasionally get a hot dog now and then. Its a standard dog but not a natural casing which is the norm for its minimalist aka depression dog toppings-mustard, onions, relish and sport peppers. They come with frozen crinkle cut fries but will set you back about $2.00 total.


Terry's Red Hot with everything

I don't think that there is one popular item at Terry's, hot dogs included, every time I'm in there different people are ordering up pretty much the whole menu. I have tried a few of the other items at terry's including the Chinese items of fried rice and egg rolls. The hood loves fried rice and its a pretty easy dish to do up and while nothing was great about the fried rice at Terry's (except maybe the price) it also isn't awful, I've had much worse. The egg rolls are your standard frozen variety I believe but they also arent all that bad and at a buck and change they taste pretty good when equate in the price. The Chinese food items especially the fried rice are definitely popular with the regulars and the workers behind the steel can really fry it up.


Egg roll from Terry's Red Hot


Shrimp fried rice

But the item that keeps me coming back to Terry's are the tacos. I'm not sure that these "ghetto" tacos would be loved by all but they sure are by me. Nothing fancy or even authentic about them. They take a flour tortilla, dip it in oil and then throw it on the flattop along with some ground beef. They then throw a piece of American cheese on the tortilla and let it melt for second and follow that with the sizzling beef. Toppings are limited to hot sauce and lettuce which I get both of. I don't know why but these are my favorite ghetto tacos out there. Pure grease and ever since my first trip to Terry's years and years ago, I have loved them and they are what keep me coming back. Damn now I want one right now.


"Ghetto Taco" from Terry's

Terry's Red Hot
1554 N Larrabee st.
Chicago, IL 60610
312 787 6712

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