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After 35 years Mr. D's finally gets some love

After 35 years Mr. D's finally gets some love
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  • Post #31 - February 22nd, 2011, 11:19 am
    Post #31 - February 22nd, 2011, 11:19 am Post #31 - February 22nd, 2011, 11:19 am
    Good for Mr D.... by the way I love this place. Apart from some operation hours inconvenience, I manage to go to the place for Shish kaboob. Place doesn't look attractive but food is excellent...
  • Post #32 - February 22nd, 2011, 11:54 am
    Post #32 - February 22nd, 2011, 11:54 am Post #32 - February 22nd, 2011, 11:54 am
    I took my first trip out to Mr. D's yesterday. We arrived in the middle of the lunch rush and the place was filled with customers happily chowing down on shish kabob and steak sandwiches. As has been mentioned, there's no question the neighborhood has embraced Mr. D's. Most of the customers were obviously regulars since they didn't need to look at the menu to order and they were greeted with questions about their spouses/children etc. If this isn't a neighborhood place, I don't know what is.

    We ordered a shish kabob sandwich that comes with an order of fries. You can see the fries are fresh cut, and they're definitely twice fried, once in the fryer on the right then in the fryer on the left. Mr. D worked quickly to man the grill and the fryers while his wife took the orders and assembled the sandwiches. Mr. D was working like crazy to keep up with the line of customers that was almost out the door by the time we left.

    I'm a little sad to say it because I really did like the vibe of the place, but this frantic pace was a detriment to the food. The kabob went on the grill along with a couple orders of steak sandwiches. The steak is cut thin so it cooks pretty fast while the kabobs are thicker so they take longer. Mr. D kept turning my kabob, but it sat on the grill far too long. It developed a great smokey flavor, but it was pretty overcooked. Not dry, but definitely tough and kind of chewy. It's a shame because the sandwich, with the gravy at the bottom and the rich caramelized onions, was pretty tasty overall, but the toughness of the meat kept it from reaching greatness. Similarly, I saw him pump out order after order of fresh cut fries. No question the fry time for each batch varied wildly. For the order before ours I saw him drop a couple fries in the fry oil as he was transferring them, then take them straight from the oil to the top of the pile. Ours weren't quite swimming in oil, but they were limp and somewhat greasy. Once again, the fries were a good 80% of the way to greatness, but not all the way there.

    Mr. D's is serving its neighborhood admirably. The couple running the place seem to love their customers and they have a nice product. I wanted to love the place, but the food fell a little short for me.
    Last edited by turkob on February 28th, 2011, 6:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.
  • Post #33 - February 22nd, 2011, 7:29 pm
    Post #33 - February 22nd, 2011, 7:29 pm Post #33 - February 22nd, 2011, 7:29 pm
    Mr. D's definitely deserves to be a GNR. Their steak sandwich is very good, and they have been part of the neighborhood fabric for some time. Just my humble two cents. Good people. Good place. Just good all the way around.
  • Post #34 - February 24th, 2011, 2:06 am
    Post #34 - February 24th, 2011, 2:06 am Post #34 - February 24th, 2011, 2:06 am
    Image

    I was at Mr. D's during a late afternoon earlier this week and was totally charmed by the food and owners; it felt like being in a family kitchen, or a sleepy seasonal spot like in Grand Lake or Lutsen that are meticulously cleaned and shuttered for the offseason, and inhabited by content regulars when open. It's snug, unhurried, and seemed remarkably uncommercial. The view of the mid-century Triangle Package Machinery office annex out of the big front window is nothing short of inspiring.

    My batch of fries was ideal; for this whole-potato style, top of the heap in flavor, crispness, appearance and salt. The shish kabob sandwich reminded me strongly of an oft longed-for pork souvlaki hoagie at a place I knew in Villa Park, improved here by the gravy and lemon. Learning about a great place this close is the very spirit of the GNR cycle to me. I am grateful for the nomination.
  • Post #35 - February 24th, 2011, 4:35 pm
    Post #35 - February 24th, 2011, 4:35 pm Post #35 - February 24th, 2011, 4:35 pm
    I also found a way to visit Mr. D's this week. Quirky cola selection, and forgettable chili. But wonderful steak sandwich with a nice bit of cheese and giardinera, and excellent, perfectly cooked, tender and flavorful shish. Great fries, too. The Bride would love this food.

    And, yeah, the whole vibe, including the owners and the clientele had a great Chicago feel the day after the new mayor landslid his way in. The highest praise is this - next time I find myself in Elmwood Park, I may have to think twice before just heading to Johnny's.
    d
    Feeling (south) loopy
  • Post #36 - February 24th, 2011, 5:34 pm
    Post #36 - February 24th, 2011, 5:34 pm Post #36 - February 24th, 2011, 5:34 pm
    HI,

    Burt's pizza also carries Royal Crown (RC) beverages. Fortunately, both institutions also carry a very respectable Dr. Pepper. Otherwise it would have been Lake Michigan over ice.

    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 #37 - February 26th, 2011, 5:45 pm
    Post #37 - February 26th, 2011, 5:45 pm Post #37 - February 26th, 2011, 5:45 pm
    There should be no doubt that Mr. D's falls within anyone's definition of a "neighborhood restaurant." From the moment you walk though the door, the place just oozes old-school, mom-and-pop friendliness. Mr. D. exchanges banter with a kid from down the block. "You gonna get me shot by accident, you wearin' that drive-by cap." The kid sheepishly responds, "Okay, Mr. D. Ha, ha," as he straightens his crooked baseball cap.

    Neighborhood charm -- check.
    So, the food...

    The shish kabab sandwich was delicious. Tender, moist cubes of meat; deep flavor; sweet grilled onions; good char on both. Once I ditched the lousy tomatoes, this may well have been the best shish kabab sandwich that I've ever had.
    Image

    The steak sandwich was really pretty awful. Gristly, dry, chewy beef. Ronna and I split half of the sandwich and abandoned the rest.
    Image
    Image

    The fries were good. Not crisp, not soggy. Not great, but good.

    Mr. D.'s appears to be another place to put in the "They only do one thing well, but they do it really well" category. I wouldn't go out of my way for it or take out-of-town guests there, but I damn sure plan to pick up a shish kabab sandwich whenever I drive by hungry.

    --Rich
    I don't know what you think about dinner, but there must be a relation between the breakfast and the happiness. --Cemal Süreyya
  • Post #38 - February 27th, 2011, 10:23 am
    Post #38 - February 27th, 2011, 10:23 am Post #38 - February 27th, 2011, 10:23 am
    Cathy2 wrote:Burt's pizza also carries Royal Crown (RC) beverages. Fortunately, both institutions also carry ...

    I remember once reading Royal Crown Cola described as being "to the cola wars what France is to the space race, which is to say, a distant third."
    "Your swimming suit matches your eyes, you hold your nose before diving, loving you has made me bananas!"
  • Post #39 - February 28th, 2011, 6:00 pm
    Post #39 - February 28th, 2011, 6:00 pm Post #39 - February 28th, 2011, 6:00 pm
    I was making a run to GNR Riviera for some staples and decided to try Mr. D's since I was in the area. We got there just before noon, there were people waiting for food but it wasn't crowded until we left, that may have helped alleviate some of the problems others had. We ordered the shish kebab sandwich which was delicious and the hamburger which was very good. The shish kebab sandwich was clearly the star, the meat was charred, but still juicy with wonderful flavor, whatever their marinade is they should bottle it, the grilled onions and gravy were the perfect accompaniment. The hamburger was very good, we got a single patty without cheese so we could taste the beef. It had good flavor and was nicely juicy, but clearly the double is the way to go, still the star of the show is clearly the shish kebab. The fries were a revelation, crispy, with a soft yielding interior, we had to stop ourselves from getting another order.

    Nice neighborhood vibe with the grill man knowing most of the steady stream customers who came in and engaging them in light banter. Great place, wish it were closer, I'm happy to endorse the GNR nomination.
    For what we choose is what we are. He should not miss this second opportunity to re-create himself with food. Jim Crace "The Devil's Larder"
  • Post #40 - March 1st, 2011, 2:02 pm
    Post #40 - March 1st, 2011, 2:02 pm Post #40 - March 1st, 2011, 2:02 pm
    RAB wrote:...The steak sandwich was really pretty awful. Gristly, dry, chewy beef. Ronna and I split half of the sandwich and abandoned the rest...


    Fair point that - I liked the flavor and the char. I also admit freely that I have no problem with certain textures that others might find objectionable. My steak was not dry, nor particularly gristly, but it was chewy and I know a lot of people who might not have liked it. Sort of like the best Italian Beef in that sense - one starts with pretty lousy meat, prepares it well, dresses it nicely and the components come together in a miraculously tasty whole.

    Anyway, I do not see Rich and me being as far apart in our judgment as you may think - some of it is that his sounds a bit overcooked, my piece of steak was less gristly, and I may like a more chewy and flavorful steak. Make any sense, Rich?
    d
    Feeling (south) loopy
  • Post #41 - March 1st, 2011, 2:26 pm
    Post #41 - March 1st, 2011, 2:26 pm Post #41 - March 1st, 2011, 2:26 pm
    dicksond wrote:Anyway, I do not see Rich and me being as far apart in our judgment as you may think - some of it is that his sounds a bit overcooked, my piece of steak was less gristly, and I may like a more chewy and flavorful steak. Make any sense, Rich?

    Makes sense to me. Did I mention the terrific kabab?
    --Rich
    I don't know what you think about dinner, but there must be a relation between the breakfast and the happiness. --Cemal Süreyya
  • Post #42 - March 2nd, 2011, 9:35 pm
    Post #42 - March 2nd, 2011, 9:35 pm Post #42 - March 2nd, 2011, 9:35 pm
    LTH,

    Another positive post for Mr. D's.

    Crisp full potato flavor fries, and some of the longest fries I have ever encountered.

    Mr. D's extra long fries

    Image

    Kabab, tender with tasty grill char on both meat and onions. Mr. D said he uses pork tenderloin.

    Mr. D's kabab sandwich

    Image

    Burger was fine, nice grill char, solid sesame seed bun, we split a single patty cheeseburger, probably get a double next time.

    Mr. D and his wife seem very nice, quick with a smile, friendly, comfortable vibe.

    Mr. D at the grill.

    Image

    Potatoes are huge, and the one in the cutter was a small.

    Image

    One huge potato

    Image

    Simple menu, done well, next time I will try the Italian beef, which I'd guess is a very good version, based on four construction types I saw power down two apiece when I first arrived.

    Mr. D's Menu

    Image

    I should point out that in addition to being friendly, reasonably priced and serving tasty food, Mr. D's is spotless, including the bathroom.

    Mr. D's Shish-Kabobs, count me a fan.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #43 - March 2nd, 2011, 10:41 pm
    Post #43 - March 2nd, 2011, 10:41 pm Post #43 - March 2nd, 2011, 10:41 pm
    Made it in to Mr. D's as well, even though I admit to not being terribly enthusiastic about making the drive since I was coming from far south--luckily, I was persuaded. Pork tenderloin kabob was uncommonly delicious--great char AND juicy--not easily done! And the fries were perfect--crispy, golden brown (I like my fries on the well done side), and too good--I ate WAY more than I should have. And I must say, that I haven't had a diet rite in a very long time and it wasn't half bad! Mr. and Mrs. D asked how we liked everything and seemed to be genuinely enjoying their afternoon at work--something I don't see often enough but really appreciate when I do. Definitely feels like a GNR to me.
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #44 - March 3rd, 2011, 4:44 am
    Post #44 - March 3rd, 2011, 4:44 am Post #44 - March 3rd, 2011, 4:44 am
    I visited Mr. D's yesterday and had the steak sandwich. Mr. & Mrs. D were taking a break, sharing a few shots of what looked like Ouzo with a friend at one of the tables while a younger guy (possibly Junior D?) manned the grill. My sandwich was nicely flavored from a good long soak in a marinade but was a bit skimpy on the meat in relation to the roll on which it was served. The "steak" was cooked to approximately medium rare and was still very juicy, which was a great thing because the bread needed a bit of moisture to bring the sandwich into balance. Fries were cooked perfectly!

    Mr. D's Steak Sandwich
    Image

    I enjoyed my visit to Mr. D's. I'm not sure if I would go out of my way to return, but combined with a visit to Joseph's Finest Meats, it's not a bad stop. Is it a GNR? I'm not completely convinced.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #45 - March 3rd, 2011, 5:03 am
    Post #45 - March 3rd, 2011, 5:03 am Post #45 - March 3rd, 2011, 5:03 am
    Wow, all this time I thought the kabob was beef. Guess it's a good thing I don't keep Kosher. :o
  • Post #46 - April 4th, 2011, 8:17 pm
    Post #46 - April 4th, 2011, 8:17 pm Post #46 - April 4th, 2011, 8:17 pm
    Second visit to Mr. D's and I am a confirmed fan. Steak sandwich with grill char highlights, fried and raw onions, out of season tomato, which I picked off, meat juice run-off soaking the bottom of the roll. Drizzle of giardiniera oil, perfectly crisp fries, one of the best lunches I've had in a while.

    Mr. D's Steak Sandwich

    Image
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #47 - August 17th, 2011, 2:18 pm
    Post #47 - August 17th, 2011, 2:18 pm Post #47 - August 17th, 2011, 2:18 pm
    I grew up not far from this small place, and watching the people come in at noon for lunch, I couldn’t help but remember the folks I used to see around my ‘hood in Portage Park when I was still in single digits. There were the Eastern European construction workers, hunkering down to lunch and holding sandwiches tight in hands that even multiple washings would not cleanse of the oil and dirt from a hard day’s work. There were moms with kids, a couple or two, and a mother with her adult daughter (though they looked very close in age). The daughter, early thirties I’m guessing, had a pixie-face with skin reddened and toughened by maybe a little too much sun and cigarette smoke and booze. She had on a tank top with pink sweat pants with the word “Sweet” emblazoned on the butt. She finished lunch and got up to cross the restaurant to say hi to a man sitting with a women at a table in the corner.

    HER: Don’t you remember me? You stood up for our wedding?
    HIM: Sure, I do.
    HER: How you been?
    HIM: Great. How’s George?
    HER: He’s still “away.”
    HIM: How long’s he got?
    HER: Fifteen years.

    She went on to explain the cause for George’s extended stay in a government-subsidized dormitory, but even my stunted sense of decency rebelled at the thought of further eavesdropping , though I’m pretty sure no would have cared.

    Excellent shish and fries.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #48 - October 13th, 2011, 4:09 pm
    Post #48 - October 13th, 2011, 4:09 pm Post #48 - October 13th, 2011, 4:09 pm
    Lunch today was the Steak Sandwich,...

    OUTSTANDING as always ! ! ! ! ! !
  • Post #49 - October 13th, 2011, 5:14 pm
    Post #49 - October 13th, 2011, 5:14 pm Post #49 - October 13th, 2011, 5:14 pm
    jazzman wrote:Lunch today was the Steak Sandwich,...

    OUTSTANDING as always ! ! ! ! ! !


    Had one last week. Do heavily salted beef hunks get any better? I doubt it.
  • Post #50 - March 9th, 2012, 12:06 am
    Post #50 - March 9th, 2012, 12:06 am Post #50 - March 9th, 2012, 12:06 am
    GNR season reminds me of places I would never have found except through nominations - this is my favorite example; I feel like my life is richer knowing this trailer of a place, and Mr. and Mrs. D therein. After a sustained steak or pork kebob sandwich regimen after the get-go, I switched a few weeks ago to the cheeseburger, and now it's hard to shake that. I find myself making excuses to go up there - unshakable daydreams of orderly bronzed fries.
  • Post #51 - March 9th, 2012, 8:42 am
    Post #51 - March 9th, 2012, 8:42 am Post #51 - March 9th, 2012, 8:42 am
    I hadn't been there in about year and since our refrigerator just broke, and Mr. D's was on the way home, I figured it was time to stop by. I really like the beef there, but decided to try the shish kebob. WOW! Delicious- it is tender, juicy, flavorful, nicely charred. Fries are better eaten there, as they don't travel well. Even the short trip to Oak park is too long, but they are excellent. My 4 year old couldn't stop eating them. Kids gave the hot dogs thumbs up as well. It's a place I definitely need to frequent more often.
    LO
  • Post #52 - March 9th, 2012, 5:09 pm
    Post #52 - March 9th, 2012, 5:09 pm Post #52 - March 9th, 2012, 5:09 pm
    This, along with Freddy's, is my favorite place to take neighbors and friends who have no idea this place exists out here.
  • Post #53 - March 9th, 2012, 5:25 pm
    Post #53 - March 9th, 2012, 5:25 pm Post #53 - March 9th, 2012, 5:25 pm
    I could have sworn I've mentioned this some where, but I don't see it in this thread, but among all the fine sandwiches at Mr. D's mostly mentioned, like the shish and the steak, is also has a very, very good Italian beef sandwich. In fact, Mr. D's could stand out just for that.
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #54 - March 9th, 2012, 5:40 pm
    Post #54 - March 9th, 2012, 5:40 pm Post #54 - March 9th, 2012, 5:40 pm
    Yep. I have a really tough time deciding between beef (actually, a combo, I like the weird way they do the sausage) and shish kabob.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #55 - July 3rd, 2012, 8:58 pm
    Post #55 - July 3rd, 2012, 8:58 pm Post #55 - July 3rd, 2012, 8:58 pm
    We enjoyed a round of Italian beef, shish kabob, and Polish at Mr. D's today. Fries were cut to order and expertly cooked - at their strongest like today, these are the best in the city, bar none, for me. Even at their weakest, the long cut and careful assembly is a visual work of art. Meats may not get a better sendoff in 100 degree heat than a ladle of gravy and squeeze of lemon at Mr. D's.
  • Post #56 - April 20th, 2014, 5:46 pm
    Post #56 - April 20th, 2014, 5:46 pm Post #56 - April 20th, 2014, 5:46 pm
    OK, anyone here remember when this was the Adobe Grill, mid to late 1950's ???
  • Post #57 - April 21st, 2014, 4:55 pm
    Post #57 - April 21st, 2014, 4:55 pm Post #57 - April 21st, 2014, 4:55 pm
    The other day I stopped by Mr. D's for a steak sandwich. The guy ahead of me was settling up for a huge order, like 20 different orders, and he was paying for each individually, keeping track of each transaction on a little ledger. Just a huge pile of food that must have taken 10 minutes to process. In the middle of the slow transaction, Mr. D brought my completed (small) order to the counter, looked me in the eye and said "You can either wait for him ... " - gesturing to the guy with the huge order - "or you can try to outrun me!" Then he turned his back and laughed like a madman.

    I waited.
  • Post #58 - February 12th, 2015, 7:53 pm
    Post #58 - February 12th, 2015, 7:53 pm Post #58 - February 12th, 2015, 7:53 pm
    Vital Information wrote:I could have sworn I've mentioned this some where, but I don't see it in this thread, but among all the fine sandwiches at Mr. D's mostly mentioned, like the shish and the steak, is also has a very, very good Italian beef sandwich. In fact, Mr. D's could stand out just for that.


    According to my daughter Sophie, there are three places that matter when it comes to Italian beef: Johnnie's in Elmwood Park, Al's on Taylor and Mr. D's in Mountclaire.

    Image

    She explained today, why Mr. D's was tops (in a way JoelF would appreciate!)

    Johnnie's has great beef and giardinara but mediocre (yet oddly lovable!) fries

    Al's has awesome fries, great beef, but to her (not me) too weird of a giardinara.

    Mr. D's, now there, she said, was a place that had it all.
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #59 - February 13th, 2015, 9:11 am
    Post #59 - February 13th, 2015, 9:11 am Post #59 - February 13th, 2015, 9:11 am
    Nice people at Mr. D's. Wish they had a fruit punch or grape drink option though.
    i used to milk cows
  • Post #60 - February 13th, 2015, 6:56 pm
    Post #60 - February 13th, 2015, 6:56 pm Post #60 - February 13th, 2015, 6:56 pm
    teatpuller wrote:Nice people at Mr. D's. Wish they had a fruit punch or grape drink option though.


    That's why God created carry-out :D

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