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Chickies-- Alive and Well

Chickies-- Alive and Well
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  • Post #31 - May 14th, 2012, 6:36 pm
    Post #31 - May 14th, 2012, 6:36 pm Post #31 - May 14th, 2012, 6:36 pm
    Apparently, the Pulaski's Chickies reopened a week ago. I passed by it on Saturday, and it indeed was open with signs of business going on inside, but I was on my way to a job and didn't have the opportunity to pop in. Just a heads up for anyone else out in that direction. Also, there appears to be a bustling trade of barrel drum grills on Pulaski south of Roosevelt, if anyone is in the market for one. There was even a guy selling rib tips, ribs, and chicken made with one of these on the sidewalk just by the Crawford Sausage plant. I don't know if his presence is usual, a one-off, or a Saturday afternoon kind of thing.
  • Post #32 - May 15th, 2012, 4:21 pm
    Post #32 - May 15th, 2012, 4:21 pm Post #32 - May 15th, 2012, 4:21 pm
    Well, I popped in Chickies Mark III on Pulaski. It's changed a bit, although I don't think it's a bad beef. It's not quite what I remember Chickies to be, but unlike the last time I visited Chickie's (under the second set of owners), the texture of the beef reminded me of the original Chickie's more. The original Chickie's has always had a sliced-but-falling apart texture to it, which is what my beef today was like. The gravy wasn't overly spiced or anything like that, which is the way I like it. It didn't seem quite as beefy as I remember it being, but it's been, what, four years or so since the original Chickie's has been gone? The mouthfeel of the sandwich was also a bit on the greasy side, although that may be because of the next item: the giardinera. No more distinctive peppers & celery giardiniera with that wonderful crunch. This was a more standard giardiniera with carrots, peppers, celery, (although I didn't notice any cauliflower or other vegetables). I should have asked for it on the side to get a better look at it.

    The hot dogs were a disappointment, though. No longer natural casings. I went to Chickie's just as often for their hot dogs, so this is a disappointment for me, as it's hard to find a natural casing stand in my neck of the woods. I got into a brief conversation with the guy working the food line who said the problem with the natural casing hot dogs is that snap they have. To which I replied, "but that's my favorite part!" Well, it seems the neighborhoods tastes change, and he said I was the first person to remark on it. That's not surprising, as I doubt most people even pay attention or know there's a difference.

    Didn't get a chance to try the fries. I had already blown my caloric allotment for the day.

    Still, I would go back for the beef. I'd encourage others to try it and see how it compares with their memories. My recollection of Chickies Mark II was that it was nothing like the original Chickies, while others here had more positive experiences with it. This one I'd say the beef reminds me more of the original Chickies, but the gravy is a bit different and the giardiniera is definitely different.
  • Post #33 - May 25th, 2012, 5:11 pm
    Post #33 - May 25th, 2012, 5:11 pm Post #33 - May 25th, 2012, 5:11 pm
    I've only been to each place once but thought I'd go ahead and post some first impressions of the newly reopened Chickie's on Pulaski and the new Chickie's Express on Cermak in Cicero.

    It's good to see the old Chickie's back in business, sporting some new art both outside and in.

    Image

    Image

    It's obvious the giardiniera is different, with carrots supplementing the fresh-cut celery and jalapeños.

    Image

    Image

    I like this style of fresh giardiniera, and the carrots seem like a reasonable addition, but it could use a little more jalapeño punch. The beef and gravy seem almost identical to the old stuff, in other words some of the best around. I like the thin sliced (but not shredded) texture and the bold gravy. They'd been open barely a week when I stopped by so maybe they're still working out some kinks. In any case I'm quite pleased with their beef, even if it's not absolutely identical to the beefs of yore.

    Chickie's Express has taken over the old Tom's Tender Sandwiches shop, not far from Chickie's old Cicero outpost.

    Image

    At a glance it looks very much like a Chickie's beef, with the signature jalapeño-and-celery giardinera.

    Image

    Image

    Unfortunately I found this to be a surprisingly flavorless sandwich. Bland giardiniera rivaling Mr Beef for my Most Boring Giardiniera award and the shredded meat contributed little in the way of taste or moisture. I hope I simply hit them at the wrong time but I left disappointed. To be fair it wasn't a bad sandwich (and the portion was generous) but judging by Chickie's high standards it just didn't make the grade.

    Keep in mind, it was only a single sandwich at each place. I've been a longtime fan of Chickie's and will be certain to make more visits.

    Chickie's
    2839 S Pulaski Rd
    Chicago

    Chickie's Express
    5836 W Cermak Rd
    Cicero IL
    708-222-9000
  • Post #34 - June 17th, 2012, 11:56 am
    Post #34 - June 17th, 2012, 11:56 am Post #34 - June 17th, 2012, 11:56 am
    Sign in the window of the former Carm's Beef on Wolf in Hillside says Chickie's will open soon.
  • Post #35 - June 19th, 2012, 2:48 pm
    Post #35 - June 19th, 2012, 2:48 pm Post #35 - June 19th, 2012, 2:48 pm
    I stopped in to the Chickie's on Taylor a few months ago, as I was early for a lunch at ISB. Reading the menu and talking to the staff - they ended up giving me a free, little, sample sandwich. I did not ask for giardinera, just took it as delivered. The beef was not good, cut too thick, a bit overcooked. Did not post on this because it made me feel ungrateful, but probably worth sharing as a single data point.

    Very excited to hear about Pulaski reopening, the quality on Cermak (though it just increases the challenge CESJ, Troha's or Chickie's?), and Chickies coming to Hillside, as I miss Carm's.
    d
    Feeling (south) loopy
  • Post #36 - October 28th, 2012, 7:13 pm
    Post #36 - October 28th, 2012, 7:13 pm Post #36 - October 28th, 2012, 7:13 pm
    Well the original family is alive and well after a 5 year hiatus opening the location on Wolf Road.

    Stopped in and had a beef. Tender, flavorful. Well filled.

    The family had owned two locations, Pulaski, which they sold 5 years ago and Cermak (near Central), closed 7 years ago. They only sold the name and never the recipe.

    The Taylor St location was opened by a long time employee who later also opened up the present location on Cermak (near Austin). He wasn't sold the recipe but it is guessed that after the long years of service he was able to reverse engineer the recipe.

    Looking forward to a return visit to Wolf Rd.
    "Make Lunch, Not War" ~ Anon
  • Post #37 - October 28th, 2012, 7:35 pm
    Post #37 - October 28th, 2012, 7:35 pm Post #37 - October 28th, 2012, 7:35 pm
    Panther in the Den wrote:Well the original family is alive and well after a 5 year hiatus opening the location on Wolf Road.

    Stopped in and had a beef. Tender, flavorful. Well filled.


    Sweet! Info, as I didn't see it in this thread:

    Chickies
    1801 S Wolf Rd
    Hillside, IL 60162-2110

    I'll be heading there soon.
  • Post #38 - October 31st, 2012, 12:25 pm
    Post #38 - October 31st, 2012, 12:25 pm Post #38 - October 31st, 2012, 12:25 pm
    Chickie's is back. What's left to say? One of my top four beefs, maybe even #2 or #3.

    Image

    Image

    The Original Chickie's
    1801 S Wolf Rd
    Hillside IL
    708-449-1000
    http://www.originalchickies.com/
  • Post #39 - October 31st, 2012, 1:05 pm
    Post #39 - October 31st, 2012, 1:05 pm Post #39 - October 31st, 2012, 1:05 pm
    And open till 10:30 during the week and midnight on the weekend!
    This greatly increases the odds I'll be visiting soon.
  • Post #40 - October 31st, 2012, 2:13 pm
    Post #40 - October 31st, 2012, 2:13 pm Post #40 - October 31st, 2012, 2:13 pm
    Rene G wrote:Chickie's is back. What's left to say? One of my top four beefs, maybe even #2 or


    Nice and I noticed from your picture of the outside that it looked an awful lot like the building the old Carm's of Hillside was in and the address confirms that. Hopefully they can make it work. Looking forward to getting over there soon.
  • Post #41 - October 31st, 2012, 11:08 pm
    Post #41 - October 31st, 2012, 11:08 pm Post #41 - October 31st, 2012, 11:08 pm
    Where's the beef in that beef?
  • Post #42 - October 31st, 2012, 11:22 pm
    Post #42 - October 31st, 2012, 11:22 pm Post #42 - October 31st, 2012, 11:22 pm
    Woooooooooooooooooooooo! :-)

    Does it stack up to the old Pulaski location? Same magic?

    (If the answer's no, probably best to just lie to me and say yes.)
    Dominic Armato
    Dining Critic
    The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com
  • Post #43 - November 1st, 2012, 12:56 pm
    Post #43 - November 1st, 2012, 12:56 pm Post #43 - November 1st, 2012, 12:56 pm
    popped over today as it is close to my work. had to park in the neighborhood about a block and a half away. Parking spots are small/tight/short if you drive a larger truck or suv.

    man I don't know, breads edges were hard(stale), tried a combo, sausage was relatively flavorless, as was the beef, beef was tender. Pepper mix... oily, lots of celery and peppers, but really no lip numbing heat I seek.

    At first glance Lil' Joe's in Countryside is still my favorite in the area(hell I didnt like Lil Joe's on my first visit, so I will definitely give Chickies in Hillside another try).

    they do have RC which is cool.

    Image
    R.I.P. jimswside - 5/2/16



    @GrubSeeker
  • Post #44 - December 8th, 2012, 9:08 pm
    Post #44 - December 8th, 2012, 9:08 pm Post #44 - December 8th, 2012, 9:08 pm
    I stopped in last weekend and I have to say it was not bad at all. Johnnie's Quality? Probably not, but 85% as good. Given the other options in the area I think it a winner if you're in need of lunch. Fries were decent too on my trip. A BIG plus is that almost nothing decent in that area is open at past 9:00 or so, so for a semi-late snack it's invaluable.
  • Post #45 - December 9th, 2012, 3:28 pm
    Post #45 - December 9th, 2012, 3:28 pm Post #45 - December 9th, 2012, 3:28 pm
    zoid wrote:I stopped in last weekend and I have to say it was not bad at all. Johnnie's Quality? Probably not, but 85% as good. Given the other options in the area I think it a winner if you're in need of lunch. Fries were decent too on my trip. A BIG plus is that almost nothing decent in that area is open at past 9:00 or so, so for a semi-late snack it's invaluable.

    I imagine you are talking about the Wolf Road location?
    "Make Lunch, Not War" ~ Anon
  • Post #46 - December 9th, 2012, 6:33 pm
    Post #46 - December 9th, 2012, 6:33 pm Post #46 - December 9th, 2012, 6:33 pm
    Panther in the Den wrote:
    zoid wrote:I stopped in last weekend and I have to say it was not bad at all. Johnnie's Quality? Probably not, but 85% as good. Given the other options in the area I think it a winner if you're in need of lunch. Fries were decent too on my trip. A BIG plus is that almost nothing decent in that area is open at past 9:00 or so, so for a semi-late snack it's invaluable.

    I imagine you are talking about the Wolf Road location?


    Yep - looking forward to hitting it again soon.
  • Post #47 - December 10th, 2012, 10:50 am
    Post #47 - December 10th, 2012, 10:50 am Post #47 - December 10th, 2012, 10:50 am
    My brother and I are going around the city and burbs trying a lot of the famous beef joints. On November 18th we stopped at Chickie's in Hillside. I had Chickie's on Pulaski a few years ago and the beef in Hillside was every bit as good. Chickie's is definitely in the top tier of all Italian Beef joints. The one knock is the strange housemade giardiniera. Fresh cut fries are really good, but next time I'll order them well done.
  • Post #48 - December 10th, 2012, 1:04 pm
    Post #48 - December 10th, 2012, 1:04 pm Post #48 - December 10th, 2012, 1:04 pm
    The one knock is the strange housemade giardiniera.


    For me, it's a plus, or at least not a minus. Pop's on Kedzie also has a similar type of fresh, fairly unadorned celery-and-peppers giardiniera. This is not to say I don't like the more traditional Chicago giardiniera, too, but I kind of find this style to play a little better with the beef as a counterpoint.
  • Post #49 - January 28th, 2013, 9:26 am
    Post #49 - January 28th, 2013, 9:26 am Post #49 - January 28th, 2013, 9:26 am
    I was fighting a cold last week, so I loaded up on Combo's, Gyros, etc for lunch to fight it off. Did Lil Joe's on Tuesday & Chickies on Thursday, Chickies fared better this time, I like their basic pepper and celery blend, sausage and beef was better this time as well..- still not as good as Lil Joes, but better than Portillos/Buona Beef.

    My problem the bread, again, not quite as fresh as I prefer even when dipped.

    Not sure how Chickies is faring compared to the other IB spots in the area. I dont even try to go to some between 12 & 12:15 on most days(no parking, seats, etc). Chickies crowd has been pretty sparse the times I have been during the lunch time frame.

    Chickie's Combo Hot:

    Image
    Last edited by jimswside on January 28th, 2013, 1:05 pm, edited 4 times in total.
    R.I.P. jimswside - 5/2/16



    @GrubSeeker
  • Post #50 - January 28th, 2013, 12:56 pm
    Post #50 - January 28th, 2013, 12:56 pm Post #50 - January 28th, 2013, 12:56 pm
    Binko wrote:
    The one knock is the strange housemade giardiniera.


    For me, it's a plus, or at least not a minus. Pop's on Kedzie also has a similar type of fresh, fairly unadorned celery-and-peppers giardiniera. This is not to say I don't like the more traditional Chicago giardiniera, too, but I kind of find this style to play a little better with the beef as a counterpoint.

    To me, housemade giardiniera is as annoying as housemade ketchup. Housemade ketchup sucks. For example - Owen and Engine, big mistake. The ketchup alone (with it's strong bell pepper flavor) is enough for myself and a few others to probably pass on this incredible burger and fries or bring our own Heinz packets in. Kuma's version is ok at best. My brother, who is a much bigger foodie than I also gets really annoyed at housemade giardiniera and ketchup.

    To summarize and avoid confusion - Chickie's doesn't make their own ketchup, just their own (lousy) giardiniera. And I understand a lot of people go for it. But a lot don't. Chickie's Beef rocks.
  • Post #51 - January 28th, 2013, 7:52 pm
    Post #51 - January 28th, 2013, 7:52 pm Post #51 - January 28th, 2013, 7:52 pm
    I went to Chickie's last Friday. I think it is a worthy successor to Carm's which I remember enjoying quite a bit. Counter service was really friendly - I ordered a beef with hot peppers and extra crispy fries (thanks for the inspiration RAM4). The beef itself was great. I think i'd give it the nod over Al's, but it doesn't reach the zenith of Jonnie's.

    I don't think the giardiniera works very well. It seems somehow out of balance - not enough acidity and certainly not much heat; it tasted too "green" for a lack of a better word. I guess I'm a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to this particular condiment. I'll definitely be back and will take a pass on the peppers. The fries are an incredible deal - fresh cut, twice fried and only a buck and a half for a large serving.

    With Chickie's, there are two surefire hits in the strip mall - Quesabroso may be my favorite taqueria in the w.burbs. I've also heard that the Mediterranean Deli is worth a visit.
  • Post #52 - January 24th, 2018, 11:12 pm
    Post #52 - January 24th, 2018, 11:12 pm Post #52 - January 24th, 2018, 11:12 pm
    Chickie's will be moving their operation on...

    1801 S Wolf Rd, Hillside

    ... to a brand new building at...

    4152 W Roosevelt Rd, Hillside

    ... at the end of February.

    Dining area maybe a bit smaller but it will have a drive thru and a banquet hall.

    I drove by today and it looks like they are working on the interior.
    Last edited by Panther in the Den on January 25th, 2018, 11:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
    "Make Lunch, Not War" ~ Anon
  • Post #53 - January 25th, 2018, 9:57 am
    Post #53 - January 25th, 2018, 9:57 am Post #53 - January 25th, 2018, 9:57 am
    Too bad - sounds like a big move; that is, far enough away that I'll not be running across it. The youngish owner - Chuck I believe is his name - is a nice guy and the beefs are great. And I am a fan of the hot peppers for a change of pace from standard giardeneria (as noted above, a lot like Pop's). Best of luck to him!
  • Post #54 - January 25th, 2018, 10:49 am
    Post #54 - January 25th, 2018, 10:49 am Post #54 - January 25th, 2018, 10:49 am
    Oh, good news for me! That brings it back closer to my neighborhood (pretty much exactly 4 miles north). But that seems like an oddball location to me. Unless my mental map is wrong, there's not a heck of a whole lot going on out there. Is there a bunch of recent development I'm not aware of? Anyhow, glad to see it closer to home; I really miss the location on 29th & Pulaski. Not only for the beefs, but because it was pretty much the only place I could think of for natural casing hot dogs anywhere near my home.
  • Post #55 - January 25th, 2018, 11:30 am
    Post #55 - January 25th, 2018, 11:30 am Post #55 - January 25th, 2018, 11:30 am
    I must apologize.

    I have edited my post to reflect they will be remaining in Hillside.

    Not too far of a move.
    "Make Lunch, Not War" ~ Anon
  • Post #56 - January 25th, 2018, 3:41 pm
    Post #56 - January 25th, 2018, 3:41 pm Post #56 - January 25th, 2018, 3:41 pm
    Ah! That makes a _lot_ more sense. :)
  • Post #57 - January 25th, 2018, 4:51 pm
    Post #57 - January 25th, 2018, 4:51 pm Post #57 - January 25th, 2018, 4:51 pm
    yay!
  • Post #58 - January 25th, 2018, 5:07 pm
    Post #58 - January 25th, 2018, 5:07 pm Post #58 - January 25th, 2018, 5:07 pm
    Despite it being so far away from me, I have to say "yay," too, because Keeler & Pulaski would have been the death knell of that business. :)

    I still have to make my way to the Hillside location. I can't believe it's been that long that it's been gone from the neighborhood. I said I'd be heading there "soon" apparently back in October 2012, yet I seem to always forget about it when I'm out in the Western burbs. I really need to rectify this.
  • Post #59 - February 3rd, 2018, 1:23 pm
    Post #59 - February 3rd, 2018, 1:23 pm Post #59 - February 3rd, 2018, 1:23 pm
    It's probably been a good 5 years since I last had Chickie's. It was always a top 10 joint for me. Thanks for the heads up on the new spot.

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