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  • Jimmy’s Red Hots

    Post #1 - September 25th, 2008, 9:51 am
    Post #1 - September 25th, 2008, 9:51 am Post #1 - September 25th, 2008, 9:51 am
    Image

    Nomination: Jimmy’s Red Hots

    GNRs recognize board favorites, and if those LTH-popular places happen also to be favorites of mine, then that is truly a “great” harmonic convergence of tastes. It doesn’t always work out that way.

    Recently, I was the recipient of a coordinated public drubbing, as well as backchannel person-to-person harassment, for my disapproval of Jimmy’s, a long-time hot dog establishment that receives much vehement affection from many in this community. Mike Sula of Chicago Reader noted the LTH “shitstorm that broke when contributor David Hammond dared to slag Jimmy's Red Hots. Hey, you guys are friends! (But for the record, I wondered what Hammond was smoking too.)” For more, enjoy:

    http://blogs.chicagoreader.com/food/200 ... hot-dogma/

    Still, this place is beloved, and that’s all I need to know to put it forward as my GNR nomination.

    viewtopic.php?f=14&t=11478&p=213112&hilit=jimmy%27s#p213112

    We’ve discussed how the GNRs reflect our community’s respect for the food and the place itself, and although discussion of Jimmy’s seems to be filled with adoration for the environment first with quality of eats sometimes barely mentioned, that should surely not stop anyone from recognizing it as a Great Neighborhood Restaurant. If the suburban Gene and Jude’s is worthy, then so surely should be its urban adult contemporary counterpart.

    Should this place be recognized, however, I would defer to others to deliver the award documents, as I cannot see myself ever voluntarily walking into this joint again…unless, you know, I’ve been out with GWiv doing research on tequila bars.

    Jimmy’s Red Hots
    4000 W Grand
    773-384-9513
    Sun-Thu 10:30am-1am; Fri-Sat 10:30am-2am
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #2 - September 25th, 2008, 10:09 am
    Post #2 - September 25th, 2008, 10:09 am Post #2 - September 25th, 2008, 10:09 am
    Hammond,

    You nomination of Jimmy's encapsulates the essence of the LTHForum Great Neighborhood Restaurant Awards. It made me laugh, feel good about the GNRs, LTHForum in general and shake my head in both admiration and amazement at the way your mind works.

    I respectfully second your nomination of Jimmy's Red Hots.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #3 - September 25th, 2008, 10:32 am
    Post #3 - September 25th, 2008, 10:32 am Post #3 - September 25th, 2008, 10:32 am
    Mr. Hammond,

    You are a gentleman and scholar. :)

    I happily endorse this nomination.

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #4 - September 25th, 2008, 1:47 pm
    Post #4 - September 25th, 2008, 1:47 pm Post #4 - September 25th, 2008, 1:47 pm
    I endorse this nomination as well and will gladly take on the burdensome chore of delivering the GNR certificate, should it be awarded. :wink: You're a big man, Mr. Hammond. I salute you.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #5 - September 25th, 2008, 3:27 pm
    Post #5 - September 25th, 2008, 3:27 pm Post #5 - September 25th, 2008, 3:27 pm
    Mr. Masked Man,

    Hammond has done your bidding and made the nomination. Please untie him and let him go home to his wife and pig. Oh yes, the ransom money is under the garbage can in the secret place we agreed upon. Yes, this whole episode will vanish from my memory as soon as I see his hat with his smiling face underneath.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #6 - September 25th, 2008, 3:42 pm
    Post #6 - September 25th, 2008, 3:42 pm Post #6 - September 25th, 2008, 3:42 pm
    Image
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #7 - October 5th, 2008, 8:30 am
    Post #7 - October 5th, 2008, 8:30 am Post #7 - October 5th, 2008, 8:30 am
    How many hot dog places are in Chicago? Going beyond that: How many fantastic restaurants are in Chicago worthy of praise?

    So, based on the sheer numbers involved in the queries above, the fact that I recommend Jimmy's to more people than any other place must be a testament to how good it is.

    I think Jimmy's is deserving of a GNR. To me it is what a Chicago hot dog place should be.

    Jamie
  • Post #8 - October 7th, 2008, 7:54 am
    Post #8 - October 7th, 2008, 7:54 am Post #8 - October 7th, 2008, 7:54 am
    Aaron sez we should "vote" in the nomination thread. Am I voting based on my personal opinion of Jimmy's, which has been stated or based on my view of the overall board consensus on this place.

    No, I do not think this place is a good enough hot dog stand to merit a GNR based on my visits.

    No, I do not think there is enough consensus or track record on the board as to whether other's think this is a GNR. I see two strong negative opinions of this place; a person who likes it but also admits it can be variable, and 3 or so people who love the place. Where does that average out to?
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #9 - October 7th, 2008, 5:16 pm
    Post #9 - October 7th, 2008, 5:16 pm Post #9 - October 7th, 2008, 5:16 pm
    Vital Information wrote:No, I do not think this place is a good enough hot dog stand to merit a GNR based on my visits.


    VI,

    I'm surprised that a person who likes Gene & Jude's as much as you do doesn't like Jimmy's. To me, they are brothers in the fight to keep the traditional minimalist school alive. After eating at Gene & Jude's and Jimmy's on back to back days, I'd have to say that they are both great. I'd give the edge to Jimmy's in the fries dept., but the dogs were both perfect examples of their type and I would be hard pressed to pick one over the other in terms of a favorite.

    To me, Jimmy's seems like a no brainer in terms of being GNR worthy. It's a hot dog heritage site.

    Jimmy's Hot Dog 10-07-08
    Image
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #10 - October 7th, 2008, 11:38 pm
    Post #10 - October 7th, 2008, 11:38 pm Post #10 - October 7th, 2008, 11:38 pm
    Vital Information wrote:No, I do not think there is enough consensus or track record on the board as to whether other's think this is a GNR. I see two strong negative opinions of this place; a person who likes it but also admits it can be variable, and 3 or so people who love the place. Where does that average out to?


    Well, I see several positive opinions in that thread, in addition to three who love it. And Jimmy's is woven a little deeper than that into the LTH fabric:

    REB: viewtopic.php?p=217984#p217984
    ab: viewtopic.php?p=183246#p183246
    Big Willi: viewtopic.php?p=176674#p176674
    chainey: viewtopic.php?p=120142#p120142
    trixie-pea: viewtopic.php?p=43179#p43179

    Plus, one of the two negatives mentioned is the nominator, so that balances a bit, no? And aren't you on record with them having exemplary fries, VI?

    So, yeah, I can see the argument that the record is thin. But on the other hand, this strikes me more as the kind of place that is so deeply embedded in the LTH psyche that there just isn't that much to post on. There is a lot of value in the "we ended up here late one night" or "here's where you take an out-of-towner" kind of posts. I'd be curious if others agree.
  • Post #11 - October 8th, 2008, 7:40 am
    Post #11 - October 8th, 2008, 7:40 am Post #11 - October 8th, 2008, 7:40 am
    Steve, there are places that we want to dislike, I think you know what I mean, and then there are places we want to like. Jimmy's is certainly a place I would like to like. It is a classic, a hold-out. Look at the effort they put into something as basic as a french-fry. And those fries are better than nearly any place in the city offering french fries, including most of the pomme-frites served at higher end bistros (and yes, better than Gene and Judes). It is just on every visit over a few years, I have never had a hot dog that would amount to one I really liked. Great fries and the rest just cannot balance that out. At one of the recent LTH events, someone said to me that they did not believe the dogs were skinless as much as they were not tendered with enough care, that they were left out so long that they tasted skinless. Maybe, as the visual evidence in this thread shows dogs with casings, they do not serve skinless dogs. Still, in my visits, the dogs seemed, well as I've stated up-thread what they seemed. Hammond seemed to find the same.

    Aaron, I understand that this is a place woven into the history of LTH, in the sense that it has been a long-time favorite of a few long time posters, but I do not see from the threads, a deep love for this place across the board. Maybe I'm wrong about that, but this nomination thread has been up for a while. Pretty much except for the people already on record on this place, no one else has pipped in.

    I cannot speak for David and the nomination, but his negative opinion of the place has to be taken into account when acessing this nomination, does it not?
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #12 - October 8th, 2008, 7:47 am
    Post #12 - October 8th, 2008, 7:47 am Post #12 - October 8th, 2008, 7:47 am
    stevez wrote:VI,

    I'm surprised that a person who likes Gene & Jude's as much as you do doesn't like Jimmy's. To me, they are brothers in the fight to keep the traditional minimalist school alive.

    As am I, though I was with VI at Jimmy's one afternoon 5-6 years ago when they were not quite up to snuff, though I would be shocked if VI was basing his negative opinion on a solitary visit half a decade ago.

    I've been to Jimmy's any number of time since, and before, and as a rule when I bite into the pure beef snap of natural casing goodness, not to mention crisp hand cut fries, I hear angels sing.

    I'm in the same camp as Steve, I see both Gene and Jude's and Jimmy's as Hot Dog Heritage sites, keepers of the Minimalist Style Natural Casing Flame.

    As a note, I was at Gene and Jude's a few days ago, dogs were dead-on delicious, but the fries limp, soggy, greasy and needed salt. Gene and Jude's has switched from Pepsi to Coke.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #13 - October 8th, 2008, 8:04 am
    Post #13 - October 8th, 2008, 8:04 am Post #13 - October 8th, 2008, 8:04 am
    Gary, I've visited Jimmy's way less often than you, but enough that my initial visit with you was not the outlier. Listen, I am highly sympathatic to the issue of consistency with places like Jimmy's, Johnnies and Gene and Judes, and why it cannot always be achieved. I have had less stellar versions of the fare at the later two. My problem is, I have only had less stellar versions at Jimmy's.
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #14 - October 8th, 2008, 8:17 am
    Post #14 - October 8th, 2008, 8:17 am Post #14 - October 8th, 2008, 8:17 am
    Vital Information wrote:Maybe I'm wrong about that, but this nomination thread has been up for a while. Pretty much except for the people already on record on this place, no one else has pipped in.

    Rob,

    As in GNR years past a Hell Yeah in the nomination thread counts for no more or less than posting on the general threads and, as you say, Jimmy's is woven into the fabric of LTHForum.

    I really am puzzled by both your and Hat Hammond's lack of love for Jimmy's to the extent I intend on offering to buy the two of you lunch at Jimmy's and witness this phenomenon for myself. Or, better yet, the light of true love and appreciation for Jimmy's shine in your eyes after the first bite of natural casing goodness.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #15 - October 8th, 2008, 8:40 am
    Post #15 - October 8th, 2008, 8:40 am Post #15 - October 8th, 2008, 8:40 am
    G Wiv wrote:Gene and Jude's has switched from Pepsi to Coke.


    Gary,

    You buried the lead.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #16 - October 8th, 2008, 9:28 am
    Post #16 - October 8th, 2008, 9:28 am Post #16 - October 8th, 2008, 9:28 am
    I really am puzzled by both your and Hat Hammond's lack of love for Jimmy's to the extent I intend on offering to buy the two of you lunch at Jimmy's and witness this phenomenon for myself. Or, better yet, the light of true love and appreciation for Jimmy's shine in your eyes after the first bite of natural casing goodness.


    Is this on the Events board? I didn't see it.
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  • Post #17 - October 8th, 2008, 9:35 am
    Post #17 - October 8th, 2008, 9:35 am Post #17 - October 8th, 2008, 9:35 am
    Mike G wrote:Is this on the Events board? I didn't see it.

    Keyword - Intend

    When a date is picked it will most certainly be on the Events Board. I'd like as many people as possible to witness the look of pure beef bliss on David and Rob's face as they bite into a natural casing Jimmy's dog.
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #18 - October 8th, 2008, 9:39 am
    Post #18 - October 8th, 2008, 9:39 am Post #18 - October 8th, 2008, 9:39 am
    Well, not many days to comment left, and I know you'll want to set up a tasting for turkey sandwiches from the deli counter at Peoria, so let's get cracking!
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
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  • Post #19 - October 8th, 2008, 10:45 am
    Post #19 - October 8th, 2008, 10:45 am Post #19 - October 8th, 2008, 10:45 am
    Mike G wrote:Well, not many days to comment left, and I know you'll want to set up a tasting for turkey sandwiches from the deli counter at Peoria, so let's get cracking!

    Thanks for the suggestions Mike.
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #20 - October 8th, 2008, 12:07 pm
    Post #20 - October 8th, 2008, 12:07 pm Post #20 - October 8th, 2008, 12:07 pm
    It was ever thus.

    So, I couldn't wait and I even set aside my Al Bawadi leftovers to find Jimmy's, wherever the heck it is (just follow the city workers, it turns out) and finally try this legend for myself.

    Now, I should say that I don't find legendariness sufficient in itself. Hence the lack of GNRs for Margie's, Lou Mitchell's, Ann Sather's, Gino's, etc. If Jimmy's was going to make it, it would be dog to dog and fry to fry vs. Gene & Jude's and (dogs if not fries) the perpetually underrated Wolfy's.

    The dog first. I went at straight up 12 to catch them at what ought to be their high point; it's a knock against them if they're serving soggy dogs at 3:30, but first I wanted to know what was the best they could dish up. My take was basically, I could enumerate a number of ways in which this wasn't quite the Gene & Jude's dog: it's bizarrely thin (I've never thought of the word "pencil" when eating a hot dog before) and I wish the onions and relish they slather on it didn't carry so much juice with them to soak the bun. But these are, if slightly larger than quibbles, smaller than dings. I thought given the skinny little earthworm-dog they're serving up, which is NOT skinless by the way, no question on that point today, they prepared it pretty much spot on.

    And the fries are quite good. They're a little soggy, maybe the temp should go up 25 degrees, or maybe they like 'em that way. I wish they were fried in something other than the blandest imaginable vegetable oil, but hey, that's a problem all over the place, and so ubiquitous most people would never think twice about it.

    The biggest problem I had was with the proportion of the two, since fries come with, as we city workas say in Shikoggar. If you ordered two dogs, in order to get a reasonable amount of meat and hot doggy pleasure, you would wind up with approximately one metric ton of fries. I could wish the amount of fries went down and the specs on the dog went up, but judging by the steady stream of Shakman Decree graduates, it ain't a problem for them.

    So, greatest hot dog in Chicago, no, worst hot dog in Chicago, no, as Stevez said a brother in the fight to keep the traditional minimalist school alive, sure. Local color, yes, value for money, yes, amusing quirks such as hot dog served in a see-through chicken bag, yes, nomination operating on a level of irony many don't seem to get, yes, DVD of The Dark Knight, no comment.
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
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  • Post #21 - October 8th, 2008, 12:36 pm
    Post #21 - October 8th, 2008, 12:36 pm Post #21 - October 8th, 2008, 12:36 pm
    Mike G wrote:DVD of The Dark Knight


    Why So Serious? :twisted:

    I stopped in on the way to an afternoon in the office for the first GNR Nominee visit of my fatherhood (needing some unhealthy food after lovingly preparing steel-cut oatmeal with fresh fruit, roast turkey sandwiches, vegetable salads, hot tea, and scratch soups for the past few days).

    I had visited previously, but had sort of forgotten until I saw the signs (both exterior and interior) again. The dogs hadn't left that strong of an impression on me before, and they didn't this time either. Fully competent, traditional execution of your snappy hot dog and alternatingly crisp-moist fries. Absolutely hit the spot, and I used secret ketchup from my glove compartment on the fries (I keep it next to the crab pick and prawn deveiner).

    While thankful to Jimmy's for the sustenance, I don't think it hits GNR territory culturally (G & J, Superdawg) or culinarily (Hot Doug's, Wiener & SC). Is it unfair that some of these non-traditional dog joints get me as a champion and some time-honored institutions don't? I don't think so. But I also get deeply nostalgic for Russell's BBQ, so take that for what it's worth.
  • Post #22 - October 8th, 2008, 1:39 pm
    Post #22 - October 8th, 2008, 1:39 pm Post #22 - October 8th, 2008, 1:39 pm
    Mike G wrote:
    And the fries are quite good. They're a little soggy, maybe the temp should go up 25 degrees, or maybe they like 'em that way. I wish they were fried in something other than the blandest imaginable vegetable oil, but hey, that's a problem all over the place, and so ubiquitous most people would never think twice about it.



    Doesn't Jimmy's use lard?
  • Post #23 - October 8th, 2008, 2:34 pm
    Post #23 - October 8th, 2008, 2:34 pm Post #23 - October 8th, 2008, 2:34 pm
    I'd be very, very surprised if that were true based on what I ate today.

    Of course, they also use natural-casing dogs, except, possibly, when they don't.
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  • Post #24 - October 8th, 2008, 3:01 pm
    Post #24 - October 8th, 2008, 3:01 pm Post #24 - October 8th, 2008, 3:01 pm
    Mike G wrote:Of course, they also use natural-casing dogs, except, possibly, when they don't.


    They never don't.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #25 - October 8th, 2008, 3:31 pm
    Post #25 - October 8th, 2008, 3:31 pm Post #25 - October 8th, 2008, 3:31 pm
    Mike G wrote:Of course, they also use natural-casing dogs, except, possibly, when they don't.

    Jimmy's uses a natural casing dog, always. No lard, but as of last time I asked the fries were cooked with a mix of vegetable shortening and beef fat, same as the top notch fries at Wiener and Still Champion.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #26 - October 8th, 2008, 3:36 pm
    Post #26 - October 8th, 2008, 3:36 pm Post #26 - October 8th, 2008, 3:36 pm
    I don't know about the natural casing, I agree that it's improbable that a place that's been buying the same Vienna dogs for a million years would suddenly switch for a few days, although it's arguably no more improbable than serving your dog in a roasted chicken bag. But I have no reason to believe that that actually happens.

    Those fries, though, considering that I ID'd the beef lard flavor with no reason to suspect it at Wiener and Still Champion, and just had undeniable beef tallow fries at Top Notch, I feel I can reasonably claim some expertise in the beefiness of French fries. No taste like that at all today.

    If there's beef tallow in the oil used at my lunch today, it's in the PPM range.
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.
  • Post #27 - October 13th, 2008, 11:49 am
    Post #27 - October 13th, 2008, 11:49 am Post #27 - October 13th, 2008, 11:49 am
    I'm surprised that there is not more support for Jimmy's in this thread. I would like to wholeheartedly endorse it for a GNR. In my opinion it is the quintessential deconstructed hot dog experience. I go to Jimmy's for a good, snappy dog, excellent fries, and no BS and that's what I have always gotten. There is no dog and fry combo in the city limits that I'd choose over Jimmy's.
    Greater transformation? Collagen to Gelatin or Water into Wine
  • Post #28 - October 15th, 2008, 9:44 am
    Post #28 - October 15th, 2008, 9:44 am Post #28 - October 15th, 2008, 9:44 am
    If your going to have G&j (which I love) represented then why not here? same damn thing and if I could I would nominate Demon Dogs fro one too and they been closed for over 5 years. Best dog stand within city limits. 110% behind this.
  • Post #29 - October 15th, 2008, 12:34 pm
    Post #29 - October 15th, 2008, 12:34 pm Post #29 - October 15th, 2008, 12:34 pm
    I thought I was done posting about GNRs for this round until I scrolled down the page and noticed that I was the last poster in the Gene & Jude's thread, saying this:

    While I side with SteveZ on the "why isn't Jimmy's a GNR yet?" aspect of things, G&J's is certainly a Great Neighborhood Restaurant. Even if Jimmy's has the better fries.


    ...so I felt just a little obligated to follow up in this thread.

    Jimmy's is an only-in-Chicago oasis of similarly minimalist dogs, magically greasy fries, and every trip for me is a great a la trunko dining experience.

    Also, I don't think the fact that Mr. Hammond, as OP, is a noted non-fan of Jimmys should be a "ding" against it. In fact, I think the converse. The fact that someone that can dislike the place and can still recognize that it has LTH resonance and is a classic Chicago food destination for many - that just makes it more of a solid case for a GNR award. That's my take, anyways. If my garbled syntax makes sense, that is.
    Writing about craft beer at GuysDrinkingBeer.com
    "You don't realize it, but we're at dinner right now." ~Ebert
  • Post #30 - October 15th, 2008, 3:32 pm
    Post #30 - October 15th, 2008, 3:32 pm Post #30 - October 15th, 2008, 3:32 pm
    I've got to throw my support to Jimmy's. I was introduced to it in August during a Suburban food crawl, and, as it is (almost) in my neighborhood, I've been back several times since. Snappy dog, well-topped in minimalist fashion, great fries, delicious homemade hot sauce, and great overall vibe. I love the "don't even think about asking for ketchup" schtick. To me, Jimmy's is an easy GNR.
    I don't know what you think about dinner, but there must be a relation between the breakfast and the happiness. --Cemal Süreyya

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