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Which Polish is best: Jim's Original or Maxwell St Express?

Which Polish is best: Jim's Original or Maxwell St Express?
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  • Who makes the better tasting Polish Sausage sandwich:
    Jim's Original?
    64%
    49
    Maxwell Street Express?
    36%
    27
    Total votes : 76
  • Which Polish is best: Jim's Original or Maxwell St Express?

    Post #1 - April 23rd, 2005, 3:53 pm
    Post #1 - April 23rd, 2005, 3:53 pm Post #1 - April 23rd, 2005, 3:53 pm
    Hi,

    Recently at the Ed Levine pizza lecture, ReneG had a conversation with Bruce Kraig from Culinary Historians. Rene learned Dr. Kraig prefers the Polish from Maxwell Street Express over Jim's Original. ReneG was so surprised, he asked twice and learned the same information. I inquired again by e-mail to learn Dr. Kraig and Monica Eng had tried both side by side and found Maxwell Street Express better. Dr. Kraig suggested I make a trip soon to compare since he saw less people seeking Jim's products over Maxwell Express; which we have observed countless times.

    The only time I ever ate at Maxwell Street Express was during that dismal period after Jim's and Maxwell Street Express closed their Halsted and Maxwell St. establishments. Maxwell Street Express opened first on the frontage road location, so I tried a Polish there and found it quite lacking in comparison to my memories of how a Jim's Original tastes. Yet I have never made a contemporaneous side-by-side comparison.

    I'd been thinking of conducting a taste test as a prelude to a walking tour of Maxwell Street. However, we are a cyber community who can organize a tasting without any real plans. I propose on your next visit to buy a Polish sandwich from each establishment to taste side-by-side; perhaps bring a buddy to share the largess. Taste both and decide which is your preference, then participate in the poll and write a few comments below.

    We'll let the chips fall where they may in the great cyber taste off!

    Jim's Original Hot Dog
    700 West O'Brien Street
    Chicago, IL 60607
    312-733-7820

    Maxwell Street Express

    Both estalishments are just east of Halsted and Roosevelt. When you come to Dan Ryan expressway exiting to the south, it is on the frontage road of the expressway.
    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 #2 - April 23rd, 2005, 5:31 pm
    Post #2 - April 23rd, 2005, 5:31 pm Post #2 - April 23rd, 2005, 5:31 pm
    Cathy2 wrote:Hi,

    Dr. Kraig suggested I make a trip soon to compare since he saw less people seeking Jim's products over Maxwell Express; which we have observed countless times.



    Well I'll wait to actually do a side-by-each comparo before casting my vote but do you know if Dr. Kraig actually did the same? The quoted comment is a bit disturbing. I mean if the number of people frequenting an establishment is to be the key determinant in its foodworthiness then perhaps Charlie should close Trotter's and open a McDonalds, no?
    Objects in mirror appear to be losing.
  • Post #3 - April 23rd, 2005, 5:49 pm
    Post #3 - April 23rd, 2005, 5:49 pm Post #3 - April 23rd, 2005, 5:49 pm
    Hi,

    I'm hoping people will be honorable, will taste the Polish sausage sandwiches and come to their conclusion. Dr. Kraig did taste them side by side and concluded his preference for Maxwell St. Express. Since he has not yet registered here, I know he hasn't voted.

    We certainly are aware as much as I and many others here like Jim's version very much. We know the foot traffic has always been in favor of Maxwell Street Express at the frontage road location. So in real dollars and cents, the answer has been Maxwell Street Express for a very long time. I have heard the opposite was true at the original locations on Halsted and Maxwell Streets, where Jim's Original beat the pants off of Maxwell Street Express. Only at that time I only went to Jim's and never paid any attention to the competitor nearby.

    I've been very content to give my all to Jim's and have for a very long time. Yet when someone like Dr. Kraig who waxes poetic on hot dogs like many here now favor's Maxwell Express, then I know I need to at least revisit my evaluation of Jim's vs Maxwell Express. I suggest some here may want to do the same.

    The poll is a quick summation. I personally will be more interested in the comments generated from those who have tried both Polish sandwiches side by side.

    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 #4 - April 23rd, 2005, 6:27 pm
    Post #4 - April 23rd, 2005, 6:27 pm Post #4 - April 23rd, 2005, 6:27 pm
    The night of the all-night-a-thon, back in 2003, Seth Zurer bought one of each and we tried them side by side. Jim's was the clear winner in my book.
  • Post #5 - April 23rd, 2005, 7:55 pm
    Post #5 - April 23rd, 2005, 7:55 pm Post #5 - April 23rd, 2005, 7:55 pm
    I posted this on CH a while back:

    Today, driving back from the Maxwell Street Market, we dropped by neighboring polish sausage parlors on Union: Jim’s Original (southernmost on Union) and the place next door(northernmost on Union).

    It’s always amazed me that Jim’s routinely has just a few customers, but the place next door always seems to have at least twice as many. I’m amazed because Jim’s has been recognized as the “inventor of the Maxwell Street Polish” (http://lists.indymedia.org/pipermail/pressreleases/2001-July/000009.html), so you might figure they know what they’re doing. Also, I’ve had their sausages, and they’re good. Nevertheless, I started thinking that the other, more popular place might be at least as good if not better.

    I was way wrong.

    The Wife, two daughters, and I did a side-by-side comparison: two polishes, with everything, from Jim’s Original and the place next door.

    The difference was clear and remarkable.

    My first bite was of the one from the place next door. It was like chomping into a thicker version of Oscar Mayer bologna. It had no snap, no kick, no bite. It was not even warm. The grilled onions were mushy. It was not that it had a bad flavor. It just had very little flavor of any kind, and the mosaic of fat globules suggested that it may have been insufficiently cooked.

    The Jim’s was superior in just about every way. Not only a larger sausage, but it had delicious smoky tang, full of juice and a pleasing reddish color. Some good garlic and other spice in there (marjoram?), fine snap, crispy on the outside and warm through and through (that simple consideration matters much on a freezing morning in January). Also, the onions were cooked, but they still had body; toothsome, sugary brown, and slightly acidic.

    However, my youngest -- a girl who prefers French fries to any other food -- judged the fries from the place next door to be better. I defer to her judgment.

    Eating in our car, though, we all agreed on the sausage: the decision in favor of Jim’s was unanimous. We couldn’t even finish the one from the place next door. I went back to the window of Jim’s and asked a counterman: “How come you serve a clearly superior sausage and the other guys next door get most of the business.” The man, who looked like he could have been a scion of the Jim Stefanovic family, said, “They come here a month earlier than us. But we’re the ORIGINAL, and I’ve got the pictures to prove it.” A statement which proved nothing, but when I went to throw out the remainder of inedible sammie from the place next door, the same counterman at Jim’s signaled me over and asked to see the competitive product. The rest of the staff huddled around as he opened the paper in a way that reminded me of a mother opening a used diaper: gingerly, with a hint of suppressed revulsion. He showed his staff, announcing triumphantly, “Look. No spice or nothing.” I don't know how he could determine there was no spice just by looking at the sad wiener, but he was right.

    So why is it that Jim’s Original has a demonstrably better product and gets fewer customers? The prices are the same: $2.20 for polish and fries. It hardly seems that a one-month lead could have resulted in market dominion. Could it simply be that the place next door is just closer to Roosevelt and so more visible to passing motorists? Do they maybe serve other items, besides polish, that are better than Jim’s? It remains a Maxwell Street mystery.

    Fun Maxwell Fact: The owners of Jim’s Original (Stefanovic family) and the owners of the place next door (Lazerevski) are actually related to one another! Maybe kind of like the Penzy’s/Spice House family feud. (http://www.bluesfreepress.org.uk/BackIssues/Back05/issue5_BluesNews.htm).


    Jim’s Original
    700 West O’Brien
    Chicago, IL
    312-733-7820
    Last edited by David Hammond on April 23rd, 2005, 11:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #6 - April 23rd, 2005, 8:07 pm
    Post #6 - April 23rd, 2005, 8:07 pm Post #6 - April 23rd, 2005, 8:07 pm
    I've always preferred the Jim's polish, I did the side by side last year before my son was born and I was still in the habit of eating polishes at 4 in the morning. Admittedly, I've never done the comparison sober, but then again, I never eat polishes when I'm sober. I suspect that the Maxwell advantage has to do with their location as the first place people come to, which seems strange, but I am hard pressed to explain why the inferior product draws more of a crowd. A friend who lived here for 2 years and moved back to California is coming to visit in May, he loves the Jim's polish, but always gets his pork chop sandwitch from Maxwell St. I am sure that a stop there is in the cards during his visit, I promise to conduct a thorough investigation (multiple polishes from each location to increase sample size??) when he gets here. Anyone ever go to Maxwell St. Depot on 31st? It's closer to Hyde Park and often ends up being my late night burger destination. They only serve burgers and polishes, some of my friends swear by the polish there, but if that is my desire, I always go the extra mile, as it were, to Jim's.
  • Post #7 - April 23rd, 2005, 9:35 pm
    Post #7 - April 23rd, 2005, 9:35 pm Post #7 - April 23rd, 2005, 9:35 pm
    Between the two choices offered, I prefer Jim's, although neither one of them would be my first choice for a polish. I much prefer the more traditional (to me) Vienna sausages served up by Wolfie's, Poochie's, etc.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #8 - April 23rd, 2005, 11:44 pm
    Post #8 - April 23rd, 2005, 11:44 pm Post #8 - April 23rd, 2005, 11:44 pm
    I will take that challenge.

    As for a walking tour, the timing is good. I won't take this opportunity to go into the whole "UIC Is Evil" thing yet again. (Especially since I have a whole website devoted to it at http://maxwellstreet.org.)

    I was just down there on Thursday and the reconstruction is nearly complete. Two of the buildings to be rehabilitated haven't been started yet (which makes me nervous) but the ones that are finished look good and so do the remounted facades and brick pavers on Maxwell itself between Halsted and Union.

    Seeing it this way is bittersweet, but I guess that's better than just plain bitter.
  • Post #9 - April 25th, 2005, 10:50 pm
    Post #9 - April 25th, 2005, 10:50 pm Post #9 - April 25th, 2005, 10:50 pm
    Returning from the south suburbs tonight, I decided to do the side-by-side test. Thanks to this board, I've never bothered with Express Grill, but this poll gave me the excuse I needed to compare firsthand.

    When I pulled up there was nobody in line at Jim's (and only a handful at Express)...I was planning on ordering the Express one first, but a Jim's counter guy called toward me and signaled to get in line there, so I obeyed. Got my order, walked north to Express and ordered there as well. Returning to my car, I momentarily forgot which bag was which, but it didn't take long to figure it out (fries came in different containers, and i told the Express guy I didn't need any ketchup).

    Anyway, one bite of each Polish was sufficient to answer the poll question: Jim's is superior. The onions, mustard, and buns all tasted fairly similar, but the Jim's sausage was bigger and spicier, with a better snap to it. The Express sausage wasn't bad...it just seemed a bit bland. It was there, but it just didn't do anything.

    So add another vote for Jim's...they'll continue to get my business over Express.
  • Post #10 - April 26th, 2005, 7:48 am
    Post #10 - April 26th, 2005, 7:48 am Post #10 - April 26th, 2005, 7:48 am
    The last (and only) time I did the side-by-side was the Allnightathon, and like YourPalWill said, it wasn't even close.

    Jim's.
  • Post #11 - April 26th, 2005, 8:55 am
    Post #11 - April 26th, 2005, 8:55 am Post #11 - April 26th, 2005, 8:55 am
    OK then! Than why the disparity in the number of customers? C2 has hinted at a possible reason before but did not deliver. Is it a race issue?
  • Post #12 - April 26th, 2005, 11:29 am
    Post #12 - April 26th, 2005, 11:29 am Post #12 - April 26th, 2005, 11:29 am
    Hi,

    We know both businesses are owned by cousins of Macedonian descent. Jim's employees are usually Hispanic or of Central European extraction. Maxwell Street Express usually has a black crew. I believe when there is a choice of supporting one business over the other, some clients choose to support a business they believe derives from their community.

    This is not an unusual situation and one that occurs everyday across all racial, ethnic and economic lines. It is only frustrating because an otherwise very good product is being overlooked. We are also cognizant if Jim's doesn't sell enough volume, which at those low prices they are counting on, then they will give up their ghost and we'll miss them.

    I could almost envision a Gorilla marketing scheme: As clients depart Maxwell Street Express with their purchases, there is a Jim's employee handing out samples of their sausage. I'd bet dollars to doughnuts, those customers would reconsider their source of Polish next time.

    I haven't been down there yet to do my contemporaneous side-by-side. I hope to do it Sunday with a Mario's Italian Ice chaser.

    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 #13 - April 28th, 2005, 4:24 pm
    Post #13 - April 28th, 2005, 4:24 pm Post #13 - April 28th, 2005, 4:24 pm
    Has anyone verified that the most popular items at both locations are the Polish?

    Is it possible that Maxwell St. Express makes a better, say, Pork Chop Sandwich, and that the long lines are to purchase those?

    Just a possibility... :)

    I plan on taking the challenge tonight on my way to Canuckistan.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #14 - April 28th, 2005, 4:32 pm
    Post #14 - April 28th, 2005, 4:32 pm Post #14 - April 28th, 2005, 4:32 pm
    Has anyone verified that the most popular items at both locations are the Polish?

    Is it possible that Maxwell St. Express makes a better, say, Pork Chop Sandwich, and that the long lines are to purchase those?


    That's a good question. My memory from my tour of Jim's, I had the impression their number one volume seller was Polish followed by Pork chop sandwiches. Hot dogs was their least profitable, which I do remember clear as a bell.

    Why don't you chat them up tonight? I wonder if we will be expanding the survey to side-by-side pork chop sandwiches?

    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 #15 - April 28th, 2005, 11:07 pm
    Post #15 - April 28th, 2005, 11:07 pm Post #15 - April 28th, 2005, 11:07 pm
    I didn't chat them up -- my shyness got the better of me.

    Summary: Jim's is better, but, frankly, it's not a huge difference. Both sausages are quite good. n.b., i take my polish mustard-only, so peppers and onions weren't evaluated. Jim's had more of a snap and a juicier interior, and I suspect a coarser grind. But I'd happily eat both of them on a regular basis.

    Fries were mediocre across the board.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #16 - May 20th, 2005, 7:08 pm
    Post #16 - May 20th, 2005, 7:08 pm Post #16 - May 20th, 2005, 7:08 pm
    Cathy2 wrote:Recently at the Ed Levine pizza lecture, ReneG had a conversation with Bruce Kraig from Culinary Historians. Rene learned Dr. Kraig prefers the Polish from Maxwell Street Express over Jim's Original. ReneG was so surprised, he asked twice and learned the same information. I inquired again by e-mail to learn Dr. Kraig and Monica Eng had tried both side by side and found Maxwell Street Express better. Dr. Kraig suggested I make a trip soon to compare since he saw less people seeking Jim's products over Maxwell Express; which we have observed countless times.

    Last Saturday night I had an enjoyable time at Lakeview Lounge (but lead guitarist Larry is missed). Leaving the bar a little before 5am I was hungry and decided it would be a perfect time for a couple of Polishes. It had been quite a while, about two years, since I tried Jim’s and Express Grill side by side.

    South Union Avenue at 5:30am
    Image
    I arrived at 5:30am to find only a small group of customers at Express Grill but not a soul waiting at Jim’s.

    A Pair of Polishes at Sunrise
    Image
    I ordered a Polish with everything at both places and went around the corner to the empty lot on O’Brien. Sitting on the concrete barriers amid weeds, puddles, and broken glass I ate my sausages while various drunks eating in parked cars shouted miscellaneous obscenities in my direction.

    Polishes from Express Grill (left) and Jim’s (right)
    Image
    It took only a bite of each sandwich to come to a clear conclusion: Express Grill’s was better. The sausages were much closer in quality than I remembered and the fries, buns, mustard, and peppers were too close to call. It was the onions—an extremely important component to me—that made the difference. Jim’s had been cooked down into a very sweet and unappealingly mushy mess while those from Express retained a nice onion taste and texture. Obviously the onions (and probably the sausage) at Jim’s had suffered from too long on the griddle waiting for customers too slow to arrive.

    I have to say I was very surprised by this comparison but I think it just goes to show the dangers of evaluating places based on a single visit. I have little doubt that overall Jim’s is superior to Express but it certainly wasn’t evident last Sunday morning.

    Jim’s Original
    700 W O’Brien St
    Chicago
    312-733-7820

    Express Grill
    1236 S Union Av
    Chicago
    312-738-2112
  • Post #17 - May 20th, 2005, 9:11 pm
    Post #17 - May 20th, 2005, 9:11 pm Post #17 - May 20th, 2005, 9:11 pm
    Rene G wrote:Sitting on the concrete barriers amid weeds, puddles, and broken glass I ate my sausages while various drunks eating in parked cars shouted miscellaneous obscenities in my direction.


    That is street food poetry, man. Thank you.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #18 - May 21st, 2005, 12:58 am
    Post #18 - May 21st, 2005, 12:58 am Post #18 - May 21st, 2005, 12:58 am
    I drove by tonight and was unable to stop and sample, but can confirm that at about 9:30 PM the crowd in front of Maxwell Street Express was probably four times that of Jim's.
  • Post #19 - May 21st, 2005, 5:33 am
    Post #19 - May 21st, 2005, 5:33 am Post #19 - May 21st, 2005, 5:33 am
    Rene G wrote:A Pair of Polishes at Sunrise

    Peter,

    Simply an amazing picture.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #20 - May 21st, 2005, 8:57 am
    Post #20 - May 21st, 2005, 8:57 am Post #20 - May 21st, 2005, 8:57 am
    Rene G wrote:Jim’s had been cooked down into a very sweet and unappealingly mushy mess while those from Express retained a nice onion taste and texture. Obviously the onions (and probably the sausage) at Jim’s had suffered from too long on the griddle waiting for customers too slow to arrive.


    The quality snap of the Gene and Jude's dog has been attributed to the huge crowds and high turnover of the place. Jim's, as you suggest, may suffer from the lack of both. So what we have is a strange cycle: people don't go to Jim's (which, I feel, serves better polish WHEN properly prepared), which means polishes get worse and worse as they sit, and then when people do go to Jim's, they get a bad polish that's been sitting around, and so they don't go to Jim's again, which reduces business further, and so polishes sit there longer.

    Hammond
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #21 - May 22nd, 2005, 8:27 pm
    Post #21 - May 22nd, 2005, 8:27 pm Post #21 - May 22nd, 2005, 8:27 pm
    David Hammond wrote:The quality snap of the Gene and Jude's dog has been attributed to the huge crowds and high turnover of the place. Jim's, as you suggest, may suffer from the lack of both. So what we have is a strange cycle: people don't go to Jim's (which, I feel, serves better polish WHEN properly prepared), which means polishes get worse and worse as they sit, and then when people do go to Jim's, they get a bad polish that's been sitting around, and so they don't go to Jim's again, which reduces business further, and so polishes sit there longer.

    Hammond


    Going off subject, but I have come to believe that Gene and Judes is MUCH better when it is not crowded. There is greater risk on the crowded days, say a Saturday afternoon when the line snakes upon itself, that the dogs move too fast, that they are under-cooked. Worse, on crowded days, the fries are hardly ever as good, just not cooked long enough.

    I was there a few days ago, on a quiet Friday night (pre-rush), and all I could think, well all I can think was, who's givin' this place the GNR nomination :evil: :wink: :evil:
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #22 - May 22nd, 2005, 8:32 pm
    Post #22 - May 22nd, 2005, 8:32 pm Post #22 - May 22nd, 2005, 8:32 pm
    Vital Information wrote:I was there a few days ago, on a quiet Friday night (pre-rush), and all I could think, well all I can think was, who's givin' this place the GNR nomination :evil: :wink: :evil:


    That would be you (it's only fitting)...though I'd second it.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #23 - June 7th, 2005, 2:56 pm
    Post #23 - June 7th, 2005, 2:56 pm Post #23 - June 7th, 2005, 2:56 pm
    Rene G wrote:It had been quite a while, about two years, since I tried Jim’s and Express Grill side by side.


    Me too, I guess, though I must say it surprises me that nearly two years have passed since the Allnightathon. Not as great as my surprise at Rene G's Express Grill verdict, though, since the Allnightathon tasting, and many successive tastings by others, seemed overwhelmingly in favor of Jim's.

    While I can't match his street poetry and I didn't have the benefit of a night long drunk to facilitate my tasting and lubricate my gullet :lol: :wink: , I was able to soak up the summer-like heat of my unairconditioned car, two piping hot Polishes, and a bundle of sport peppers today on the way back to work from dropping the family off at Midway.

    And Express Grill was a better sausage, no question. Better spicing, better snap, better texture. The difference in onions noted by Rene G was the same--a mushy mess at Jim's, nicely crisped at Express Grill.

    The last side-by-side tasting left me thinking I'd never return to Express Grill. Had this been my first, I'd likely not return to Jim's. Now, I'm not sure what I'll do. Probably not eat two Polishes for lunch again for a while.

    Cheers,

    Aaron
  • Post #24 - June 8th, 2005, 7:22 am
    Post #24 - June 8th, 2005, 7:22 am Post #24 - June 8th, 2005, 7:22 am
    I did the side-by-side last night with a friend visiting from New Yawk.

    I have to say, my conclusion was EXACTLY as at the Allnightathon. The Express Grill's polish, to me, tastes just a bit too processed (as in chemically, not too fine a grind of meat). It was excessively salty and just not so wholesome. Jim's tasted more pure. It was the kinda thing that made me happy to eat.

    I'm not a huge onion fan (and rarely eat raw onions), so the state of the onions did not much influence me. I would note that Express Grill's sport peppers seemed more like Jim's sport's peppers than Jim's (i.e., olive green, tough). Last night, Jim's peppers verged on normal.

    As usual, there were no customers at Jim's. But that's where I will be next time.

    Rob
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #25 - August 5th, 2005, 2:53 pm
    Post #25 - August 5th, 2005, 2:53 pm Post #25 - August 5th, 2005, 2:53 pm
    LTH,

    Driving past on the expressway today I noticed a third hot dog stand being built directly South of Jim's. The building appears to be going up fast, soon there will be three hot dog stands in a 1/2 block radius.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #26 - August 5th, 2005, 3:19 pm
    Post #26 - August 5th, 2005, 3:19 pm Post #26 - August 5th, 2005, 3:19 pm
    Nope, Maxwell Street Express is moving into that spot as its "permanent" new home.

    Not sure where Jim's is moving.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #27 - August 5th, 2005, 5:23 pm
    Post #27 - August 5th, 2005, 5:23 pm Post #27 - August 5th, 2005, 5:23 pm
    Driving past on the expressway today I noticed a third hot dog stand being built directly South of Jim's. The building appears to be going up fast, soon there will be three hot dog stands in a 1/2 block radius.

    Nope, Maxwell Street Express is moving into that spot as its "permanent" new home.

    Not sure where Jim's is moving.

    As I understand it, Jim’s will be at 1250 S Union (on the southwest corner of O’Brien; it’s presently near the northwest corner) and Express Grill will be immediately south at 1260. So the new Jim’s will be north of the new Express but they’ll be side-by-side yet again. For a while Express Grill was slated to move to one of the fancy new buildings on the east side of Halsted, just south of Roosevelt. I don’t know the exact opening dates but it won’t be long.

    Image
  • Post #28 - August 5th, 2005, 6:03 pm
    Post #28 - August 5th, 2005, 6:03 pm Post #28 - August 5th, 2005, 6:03 pm
    Hi,

    Finally there is some sense being made on the placement of Jim's and Maxwell Express. Keeping them on the frontage road along the Eisenhower makes sense and keeps them from being a neighborhood pariah.

    Now when Jim's will be the first stand people come across, how will the customer dynamics play out? From information here, when these competitors were at Maxwell and Halsted, Jim's attracted the most customers. When they moved to the temporary location, Maxwell was not only placed in the first position, it opened before Jim's. If, as some believe, it was location, location, location, then Jim's should be in position to regain some of the customer base lost. Only time will tell what happens next in this bitter rivalry.

    Oh, I have yet to try the competitors side-by-side ...

    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 #29 - August 28th, 2005, 7:57 am
    Post #29 - August 28th, 2005, 7:57 am Post #29 - August 28th, 2005, 7:57 am
    LTH,

    Stopped around Midnight Saturday for a Polish comparison, Jim's Original vs. Maxwell Street Express. Same order at both, Pork Chop sandwich and a Polish with everything and a Coke, which in both cases meant Pepsi. Both were same price, $5.80, both had customers, though Maxwell Street Express was the busier by far.

    Jim's Original:
    Image

    Polish, ~shrug~. No snap, somewhat greasy, no real resistance to the interior, just verging on mealy with a ever so subtle hint of chemical smoke. Jim's onion's were cooked to a slightly sweet caramelized stage, which I thought lent a nice flavor to the Polish. ReneG, in a previous post in this thread, found the more caramelized onions at Jim's, as opposed to Maxwell St Express, not to his taste.

    Pork Chop Sandwich, quite good, meaty with a full pork flavor, slight char, onions were same style as on Polish, lent a nice counterpoint.

    Fries, slightly crisp, greaseless, and three nice sized pack included with our two sandwich order.
    Sport Peppers, large amount in a separate bag, slightly larger size than normal, were very good.

    Maxwell Street Express:
    Image

    Polish was very good, crisp outside, snap when bit into, nice flavor, good interior texture and not a hint of chemical smoke. Onions were just slightly browned and had a noticeable, but not over the top, onion flavor. Different style than Jim's, but quite good as well.

    Pork Chop Sandwich, large meaty chop, but mostly devoid of flavor. Looked like a pork chop, but had little or no pork flavor, also suffered from a slightly mealy texture to the meat.

    Fries, greasy, limp, not worth eating.
    Sport Peppers, just a few along with the sandwiches, slightly on the large side as well, good sport pepper flavor.

    Conclusion:
    Maxwell Street Express, at least Midnight on a late summer Saturday, gets the nod for Polish Sausage, Jim's for Pork Chop Sandwich and fries.

    The street scene, with double parked cars, dvd vendors, the disenfranchised asking for dollars and change, moms, pops, families, boppers, coppers all milling about with the average Joe and schmoe get my vote as one of the more interesting, vibrant slices of urban life in Chicago. I should add that, even with the great diversity, and verging on late hour, not a cross word was to be heard or a second glance given.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #30 - August 31st, 2005, 10:23 pm
    Post #30 - August 31st, 2005, 10:23 pm Post #30 - August 31st, 2005, 10:23 pm
    G Wiv wrote:Stopped around Midnight Saturday for a Polish comparison, Jim's Original vs. Maxwell Street Express.


    At about the same time Saturday night, I was a few miles south, stopping in at Chicago Rib House, 38th and Michigan, and enjoying a similar late night vibe. Most amusing overheard conversation between random man and woman:

    Drunk guy: You could be a fashion model.

    Nubian beauty: For real?

    Drunk guy: You got not a flaw on you, not a flaw on you. Me, I got a lazy eye, but you...not a flaw on you.

    David "Midnight Rambler" Hammond
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”

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