I wanted to highlight a couple places doing it right in the Western burbs. It drives me absolutely nuts that so many dog stands treat their staple item as an afterthought. They serve skinless waterlogged dogs
with BS fries dumped out of a bag. These places usually have menus featuring everything from philly cheesesteaks and chicken gyros to sub sandwiches and mostacolli. Most of the time it's not bad
, it's just that, well, it's not very good either. They go by names like Andy's Hot Dogs
or Barry's Beef. The problem is they don’t specialize. Barry’s beef is usually no different than Andy’s since they use the same foodservice company to supply them.
I'm a dogman. It started at C & C Carry Outs in La Grange Park where I remember my dad chatting up the guy at the counter while I was elbow deep in a snapper and fries. After they went out of business it was and has been Little Joe's in Countryside. They have a good snappy dog served with decent crinkle cut fries but I'm always on the lookout for new meat, so to speak. I came across 2 places in the last couple months that are serving an old fashioned natural casing
dog with fresh cut fries, you know, the right way. Both have smallish menus enabling specialization.
The first place is Mawell's Beef at 63rd and Woodward (not to be confused with Maxwell's on 63rd and Cass which has good fresh cut fries and good shakes but just an ok dog). It's not new but for some reason I had never made it over by there until recently. They have a good snappy dog and excellent fries. A lot of times when you carryout fresh cut fries they steam on the way home and by the time you open them up, it can be a mushy mess. These fries are pretty crispy and maintain their texture on the ride. $3 gets you a dog and a pile of really good fries. Their burgers looked legit too but I have yet to try one. They use what appeared to be hand packed ground beef cooked on the griddle. It's a nice place to have close to work if I get the hankering.
The other is Best Windy City Hot Dogs
in La Grange Park. They also feature a snapper and fresh cut fries. Their fries are much thinner than the Jimmy's or Gene and Jude's fresh cuts that I'm used to but damned tasty. I've had their dogs
a couple of times and they are above average. I also found myself there once on a Lenten Friday so I gave their fish sandwich a whirl. They took pieces of cod, put a light batter on it, deep fried it and served it with a homemade tartar sauce. I was impressed with the attention to keeping things as fresh as possible.
In a sea of fast food joints churning out decent but uninspired food I just wanted to point out 2 joints that seem to get it. I'd recommend either if you're in the area.
2003 63rd St
Downers Grove, IL 60516
Best Windy City Hot Dogs
403 N La Grange Rd
La Grange Park, IL 60526
Greater transformation? Collagen to Gelatin or Water into Wine