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#1
Posted August 4th 2006, 7:27pm
After Pierogifest, Cathy2 and I took a tour of northwest Indiana. Armed with little more than some snapshots from a phone book, we set out to find some interesting food. Thinking that Madvek's might be a source of Coney dogs (it wasn't, but more about that in a future post) we stopped in for at least a cold drink.

Madvek's Doghouse, Looking South on Calumet
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Madvek's is an unassuming little building but neat as a pin. While enjoying our beverages we noticed a small sign alerting us that loose meat burgers were served.

Madvek's Menu
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Loose meat sandwiches around Chicago?? Isn't that an Iowa thing? We wasted no time ordering one ("Cut in half, please. We just came from Pierogifest.").

Loose Meat Sandwich
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This was my very first loose meat and I liked it a lot. It was subtly seasoned but not as boring as I had feared.

Madvek's Counter
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That's the loose meat in back, chili in front. I think you can see this place is spotless. I can't remember the last time I saw a cleaner restaurant.

The owner couldn't have been nicer, happily explaining how Madvek's got into the loose meat business some 40 years ago. It seems at one time there was a Maid Rite down the street and it seemed natural to serve the same sort of burger. The Hammond Maid Rite is long gone but Madvek's endures. I understand there’s a Maid Rite in Rockford but I wonder if anyone has seen loose meat sandwiches closer to Chicago.

As we were getting ready to post, Cathy and I were very surprised to see ’s very recent mention of Madvek's. I guess we'll have to revisit and try a hot dog.

Madvek's Doghouse
6923 Calumet Av
Hammond IN
219-932-1060
http://hotdogs.cc/index.html
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#2
Posted August 4th 2006, 10:37pm
Funny, though I'd heard of them I never realized "loose meat" meant hamburger-- I had a vague image of something like chipped beef. But since it is hamburger I suppose I should point out that, once again, my hometown of Wichita is heritage burger central-- in Wichita the equivalent of a "loose meat" sandwich is the Nu-Way burger, described by me here.

I had always heard that a little chicken stock (actually someone even said chicken gumbo) was the secret ingredient that gave a Nu-Way a flavor different from mere crumbled beef, but this Road Food thread claims it's the use of a little organ meat. Something, anyway, thickens it up a bit and gives it a very slight gravy-like, binding sauce, which I think is different from the style you describe (it looks different, certainly, if you compare the pictures of the meat).

Anyway, cool report, makes me wanna go!
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#3
Posted August 6th 2006, 4:18pm
Mike,

I know that all the KC Nu-Ways have closed, but did you know about this one:

Nu-Way Drive-In
510 Shawnee St, Leavenworth
913-682-4350
See historic Leavenworth photography!
Have a famous Pork Tenderloin sandwich!


Huh. Who knew?

Geo
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#4
Posted August 7th 2006, 8:54am
Mike G wrote:I had always heard that a little chicken stock (actually someone even said chicken gumbo) was the secret ingredient that gave a Nu-Way a flavor different from mere crumbled beef, but this Road Food thread claims it's the use of a little organ meat.


FWIW, this morning on the train I was reading the chapter on loose meat sandwiches in John Edge's Hamburgers and Fries and he cites Iowa church cookbooks which include chicken gumbo in the ingredients. He then proceeds to offer a recipe which doesn't use any kind of soup, broth, or for that matter organ meat.
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#5
Posted August 7th 2006, 9:13am
HI,

This series of books, which Hamburger and Fries is one of, are more poetry than culinary history. I met John T. Edge around the time I was doing research on pies, which he has a book on Apple pie. He advised me not to use his book as a serious source of information because it was more anecdotal than researched information.

It is also entirely possible the recipe you saw is not the one he submitted, his editor may have demanded a new recipe because, "Who cooks with beef heart?"

Overall is Hamburger and Fries a good read?

Regards,
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Cathy2

"You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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#6
Posted August 7th 2006, 9:31am
Cathy2 wrote:HI,

This series of books, which Hamburger and Fries is one of, are more poetry than culinary history. I met John T. Edge around the time I was doing research on pies, which he has a book on Apple pie. He advised me not to use his book as a serious source of information because it was more anecdotal than researched information.

It is also entirely possible the recipe you saw is not the one he submitted, his editor may have demanded a new recipe because, "Who cooks with beef heart?"

Overall is Hamburger and Fries a good read?

Regards,


The recipe in B&F is definitely not the recipe from the church cookbook -- I think the recipes in the books are all his own, although he acknowledges inspirations. For this one, he describes the presented recipe as "straddl[ing] the line between the simplicity of Marshalltown Maid-Rites and the racy ideas promulgated by Iowa church ladies." But he never mentions organ meat in any case.

This is the third in the series that I've read, and I am enjoying it enough that I ordered Donuts (the last that I haven't) today. I'm probably fine with a balance skewed towards poetry rather than real history :)

I mean, now that I've read all of Calvin Trillin's books, where else can I turn? :D
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#7
Posted August 7th 2006, 12:36pm
My Dad used to take me here as a kid....this post has brought back some great memories! I need to go back and re-visit some old times with him.

I am a fan of the "Cheese" version - sloppy and fun! Not gourmet but good comfort food.

If you are having a craving for ice cream...try Dairy Belle across the street a few blocks down.
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#8
Posted August 7th 2006, 10:15pm
There's (was?) a famous loose-meat place in Gainesville FL, called Steamers, I believe. It was sort of a hippy place. I never quite got it. Really bland. This place looks much better.
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#9
Posted July 12th 2007, 11:01am
Just in case anyone was planning to make the trip from Chicago, Madvek's is on vacation until July 16th.
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#10
Posted July 12th 2007, 2:33pm
Totally reminds me of Maid-Rite!
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#11
Posted July 12th 2007, 3:28pm
When I was growing up, my mother occasionally served what she called "Maid-Rite" sandwiches (ground beef, onion, Heinz chili sauce and who knows what else). In fact, I never even heard of "Sloppy Joe" until I was in my teens. Definitely must try Madvek's as well as the Rockford Maid-Rite.
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#12
Posted July 12th 2007, 3:35pm
Blown Z wrote:Totally reminds me of Maid-Rite!


It is very similar to Maid-Rite.

How much was a loose meat sandwich at Madvek's?

Maid-Rite has gotten so expensive (almost $3.00! w/o fries) that I cannot justify buying them anymore as much as I love 'low food'.
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#13
Posted July 12th 2007, 3:38pm
Paul SL wrote:... Heinz chili sauce...


A traditional Maid-Rite or loose meat sandwich will not have this. Just a seasoned hamburger flavor.
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