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Uncle Joe's [and South Side Jerk Chicken]

Uncle Joe's [and South Side Jerk Chicken]
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  • Uncle Joe's [and South Side Jerk Chicken]

    Post #1 - June 21st, 2006, 12:08 pm
    Post #1 - June 21st, 2006, 12:08 pm Post #1 - June 21st, 2006, 12:08 pm
    well, i've searched for any previous mention of this place and cant find it, so here goes.... uncle joe's (at 8211 s. cottage grove) has outstanding jerk chicken. and it's a real deal at $8.75 for the whole bird (albeit a small one). i gave up eating chicken skin years ago for health reasons, but this skin was too tasty to pass up. the meat underneath the skin is slightly pink tinged (not undercooked) and moist all the way to the bone. it's flavorful even without the jerk spices resting on the skin. the homemade jerk sauce on the side is incendiary but adds flavor as well as heat to the chicken. i also love the room. it is small and very dark, with several aquariums adding their cool blue glow. there's a bar on one wall (tho no liquor license) and a chinese standing screen and some hanging bamboo beads separating it from a wall of comfortable wooden booths and a row of tables. the chairs are black with gold trim and the place feels like a really old fashioned lounge. i wouldnt be surprised if it had once been a faux polynesian tiki bar (tho joe tells me he designed it 6 years ago when he sold 'tropical island' and started uncle joes.) i also had some really melt in your mouth steamed cabbage and crispy fried plantains. my cousin who lives nearby and eats here regularly says the chicken is always this moist and tasty. needless to say i took a chicken to go. justjoan
    uncle joes-(773)962-9935. also 10210 s. vincennes ave.(773)779-9966
    Last edited by justjoan on December 28th, 2009, 3:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #2 - June 21st, 2006, 12:15 pm
    Post #2 - June 21st, 2006, 12:15 pm Post #2 - June 21st, 2006, 12:15 pm
    see the bottom of this recent post

    other thoughts:
    * extra charge for dining-in (to wash the dishes? what the...)
    * the chocolate cake here is from a "secret cake lady".

    uncle joe's has been consistently showing up on Time Out as well.
  • Post #3 - June 21st, 2006, 12:19 pm
    Post #3 - June 21st, 2006, 12:19 pm Post #3 - June 21st, 2006, 12:19 pm
    [I]'ve searched for any previous mention of this place and cant find it [...][I] wouldnt be surprised if it had once been a faux polynesian tiki bar [...]


    LOL!!

    ;)

    I agree, Uncle Joe's jerk chicken is great.

    E.M.
  • Post #4 - June 23rd, 2006, 12:17 pm
    Post #4 - June 23rd, 2006, 12:17 pm Post #4 - June 23rd, 2006, 12:17 pm
    Erik M. wrote:LOL!!

    ;)

    I agree, Uncle Joe's jerk chicken is great.

    E.M.


    oh, you just solved the mystery!... (it doesn't appear as though anyone chimed in w/ the right answer??)

    i missed this thread but mentioned uncle joe's in this threadyesterday too... there seems to be a debate on how jerk is supposed to be prepared (smoked, not smoked? hmm)


    "....after reading reviews it seems as though the non-chicken items are just as, if not more popular... I do like their chicken, but I've tried the catfish and curried goat too.. The catfish is delicious. Though you have to contend with a lot of small bones, so it requires patience too."

    last week when i was there, there were about 10 cops eating at the same time... so if they eat there, it must be good, ehh?

    btw.. i'm a bit perplexed by something... on their menu, it says they add $0.50 per item if you dine in... does this seem strange? i've heard of charging extra for carry out, but dine in??? i noticed that a lot of people seem to order to-go, then eat at the counter... i suppose this avoid paying extra... but still seems strange.
  • Post #5 - June 23rd, 2006, 12:58 pm
    Post #5 - June 23rd, 2006, 12:58 pm Post #5 - June 23rd, 2006, 12:58 pm
    dddane wrote:oh, you just solved the mystery!... (it doesn't appear as though anyone chimed in w/ the right answer??)


    Yes, I gave it all away. :wink:

    The photos I posted in that thread were from Uncle Joe's.

    I am surprised that TonyC didn't get that one.

    E.M.
  • Post #6 - June 23rd, 2006, 6:54 pm
    Post #6 - June 23rd, 2006, 6:54 pm Post #6 - June 23rd, 2006, 6:54 pm
    ^ after failing to identity ANY of your references in the first 5 GtR games, i gave up. :lol:

    and after reading your "LOL!" link above, i figured replying w/ an answer would be cheating...

    Uncle Joe + Tropical Time + Tropical Island = interesting jerk-off.
  • Post #7 - July 5th, 2006, 9:32 am
    Post #7 - July 5th, 2006, 9:32 am Post #7 - July 5th, 2006, 9:32 am
    A long time ago I mentioned Uncle Joe's.

    TonyC wrote:Uncle Joe + Tropical Time + Tropical Island = interesting jerk-off.


    A jerk-uh-thon would be interesting. In our first year or so (2000/1; pre-LTH) in Hyde Park, A2Fay and I went through quite a few Caribbean spots. I didn't care for Tropical Island (79th st. I think; in the past year actually). Maxine's was good. Our sampling/rating was based on jerk chicken and goat curry dinners. I think while individual elements were better at assorted places (red beans and rice at Maxine's IIRC), UJoe's was the optimal winner. I will note that most of these places use a commercial jerk paste - Joe's for sure - from one of the wholesale places (not A&G but one nearby 71st/State).

    The overall 'best' place (based on a number of dishes; also this was Haitian not Jamaican) we went to however was Le Creole – which closed about three years ago, ostensibly for renovation (which they did start on). I kept stopping by (on TdP runs; sadly that's shut too) and asking when they'd open. By Summer, I was told – first by Maurice (who manned it when I ate there) – then by someone else who said it was his place. Two Summers went by and this is the third. I doubt it'll reopen (they seemed to have stopped 'renovating' a while ago).

    Le Creole click for larger
    Image

    Maxine's Jamaican Cuisine
    1225 E 87th St
    Chicago, IL 60619
    (773) 933-0540

    Le Creole
    9174 S South Chicago Ave,
    Chicago, 60617
    (773) 721-3885
  • Post #8 - December 17th, 2006, 7:39 am
    Post #8 - December 17th, 2006, 7:39 am Post #8 - December 17th, 2006, 7:39 am
    sazerac wrote:A long time ago I mentioned Uncle Joe's.

    TonyC wrote:Uncle Joe + Tropical Time + Tropical Island = interesting jerk-off.


    A jerk-uh-thon would be interesting. In our first year or so (2000/1; pre-LTH) in Hyde Park, A2Fay and I went through quite a few Caribbean spots. I didn't care for Tropical Island (79th st. I think; in the past year actually). Maxine's was good. Our sampling/rating was based on jerk chicken and goat curry dinners. I think while individual elements were better at assorted places (red beans and rice at Maxine's IIRC), UJoe's was the optimal winner. I will note that most of these places use a commercial jerk paste - Joe's for sure - from one of the wholesale places (not A&G but one nearby 71st/State).

    The overall 'best' place (based on a number of dishes; also this was Haitian not Jamaican) we went to however was Le Creole – which closed about three years ago, ostensibly for renovation (which they did start on). I kept stopping by (on TdP runs; sadly that's shut too) and asking when they'd open. By Summer, I was told – first by Maurice (who manned it when I ate there) – then by someone else who said it was his place. Two Summers went by and this is the third. I doubt it'll reopen (they seemed to have stopped 'renovating' a while ago).

    Le Creole click for larger
    Image

    Maxine's Jamaican Cuisine
    1225 E 87th St
    Chicago, IL 60619
    (773) 933-0540

    Le Creole
    9174 S South Chicago Ave,
    Chicago, 60617
    (773) 721-3885



    Hmm. Ive been to Uncle Joe's maybe half a dozen times in the past few
    months - and pretty much every time it has been, basically, the best
    Jerk Chicken in Chicago to me. The jerk sauce especially has been
    quite outstanding. (I too didnt care that much for Tropical Time, but
    liked Tropic Island (also on 79th I think?)

    So... the ratings above.. when you say UJ's was the "optimum" winner,
    you didnt mean just for the Jerk Chicken itself? If there is a better Jerk
    Chicken spot out there please let us know - Id love to try it :-) (Its been
    so good, Ive found it hard to get past the to-go order of Jerk Chicken
    there in all my trips. Ridiculously smoky, great spices, wonderful
    sauce).

    You say the UJ's jerk sauce is also commercially available? If so, is
    there a spot on the northside that one can find it? (Or even a store
    on the southside - is it just wholesale? Or retail too?) Id love to pick
    some up - can eat that just with bread and be quite happy, really :-)

    c8w
  • Post #9 - December 17th, 2006, 10:49 pm
    Post #9 - December 17th, 2006, 10:49 pm Post #9 - December 17th, 2006, 10:49 pm
    c8w wrote:So... the ratings above.. when you say UJ's was the "optimum" winner,
    you didnt mean just for the Jerk Chicken itself?
    <snip>
    You say the UJ's jerk sauce is also commercially available? If so, is
    there a spot on the northside that one can find it? (Or even a store
    on the southside - is it just wholesale? Or retail too?) Id love to pick
    some up - can eat that just with bread and be quite happy, really :-)


    It's been a while - but IIRC UJ's jerk chicken itself was better than others we had tried. The red beans and rice and goat curry may have been marginally better at some other (but not any one single) place. By optimal, I meant overall.
    I should mention there are a still others on the Southside (79th - ) that we haven't tried. There was one other good jerk place (Stony&67th?ish) but that closed. There's a couple of places just off S. Chicago Ave. (Eastward a few streets south of 79th) - that we wanted to check out but never did.

    As for the UJ jerk paste - it isn't 'theirs' as much as they get a commercial one (possibly they doctor it). It is available in somewhat large (but not too) quantities at one of the wholesale places on Wentworth around 67th (not A&G, but the place you can see from the highway - a big red brick building with different brands/products painted large). At least that's where I saw a guy buy a tubful - later that evening we were at UJoes and they same guy (or identical twin) in identical fishnet vest was behind the counter. Hope this helps.
  • Post #10 - December 17th, 2006, 11:40 pm
    Post #10 - December 17th, 2006, 11:40 pm Post #10 - December 17th, 2006, 11:40 pm
    HI,

    I believe the very first Chow-event I went to was at La Creole organized by Rene G. Or maybe it was a Maxwell St. event. Hmmm maybe La Creole was the 2nd.

    On our way to NWI for exploring recently we passed La Creole's location. Rene G pointed out La Creole's uniquely painted exterior wall was now painted over. At least at that location, it is not likely La Creole will rise from the ashes.

    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 #11 - April 29th, 2009, 7:05 pm
    Post #11 - April 29th, 2009, 7:05 pm Post #11 - April 29th, 2009, 7:05 pm
    Had a nice meal at Joe's in Cottage Grove last Friday. The whole jerk chicken was great - good blend of heat, spices, smoke. The escoveritched catfish was ok, but nothing stand-out. Also tried the curried goat, which again was good, but I'm not sure I'd rush back for another (very bony) serving.

    Image
    Catfish with yams, beans & rice with gravy and cut-up jerk chicken

    Walked away thinking that if the place were convenient, I'd probably run in regularly to grab a whole chicken to go, but given it's location I'm not sure it's worth the trip.

    Definitely would not recommend the Hyde Park location - stopped by and they had eerily-blank menu boards (as in, /completely/ blank), were out of almost everything, and generally lacked any ambiance.

    Turns out that Joe's has a website: http://www.unclejoesjerk.com

    -Dan
    --
    Effete and self-important snooty-pants dilettante.
    @dschleifer
  • Post #12 - December 28th, 2009, 1:23 pm
    Post #12 - December 28th, 2009, 1:23 pm Post #12 - December 28th, 2009, 1:23 pm
    Tried to go to Dat Donut for breakfast, but they were closed on Saturday due to it being a holiday weekend. Disappointed but hungry, we walked down to Joe's. I remembered the meal posted ^ and decided to just go straight for the chicken and skip the other proteins. A whole chicken, sides of rice & peas and fried plantains was just barely too much food for two people.

    On a cold and snowy day, sitting inside the warm, Caribbean-themed restaurant and eating smoky, spicy jerk chicken was just what I needed.

    -Dan
  • Post #13 - September 10th, 2011, 3:48 pm
    Post #13 - September 10th, 2011, 3:48 pm Post #13 - September 10th, 2011, 3:48 pm
    First the bad news: Uncle Joe's on Cottage Grove & 82nd has closed.

    Image

    Now the good news: the main restaurant is now at 47th & King.

    Image

    Image

    They'd planned this new location for quite a while but a serious fire in the building significantly delayed the opening. Fans of the old place on Cottage Grove might be a little surprised by how fancy the new Uncle Joe's is. The lower level seems to be a lounge (unoccupied when I was there midday) and the dining room is upstairs.

    Image

    Image

    With the closing of the Tropic Island shack at 79th & Jeffrey a few years ago, Uncle Joe's has taken its place as my favorite jerk chicken in Chicago.

    Image

    A takeout jerk chicken from the new place maybe wasn't quite as moist and spicy as the best I've had from Uncle Joe's but still was very good. The fiery sauce—one of my favorites—is exactly as I remember it. They now sell bottles of sauce ($5). I didn't notice that until I was leaving but will be sure to grab one next visit.

    Uncle Joe's Tropical Dining
    4655 S King Dr
    Chicago
    773-855-8284

    Uncle Joe's Hyde Park
    1461 E Hyde Park Blvd (= 51st St)
    Chicago
    773-241-5550

    Uncle Joe's Chatham
    8601 S Stony Island Av
    Chicago
    773-221-2438
  • Post #14 - September 10th, 2011, 6:43 pm
    Post #14 - September 10th, 2011, 6:43 pm Post #14 - September 10th, 2011, 6:43 pm
    i'm going to miss that funky old room, but 47th street is a lot closer to home, for me. and the dining room looks really bright and cheerful. i'll have to check it out soon. thanks for the update. justjoan
  • Post #15 - April 7th, 2014, 3:51 pm
    Post #15 - April 7th, 2014, 3:51 pm Post #15 - April 7th, 2014, 3:51 pm
    In 2011 Rene G wrote:First the bad news: Uncle Joe's on Cottage Grove & 82nd has closed.

    Now the good news: the main restaurant is now at 47th & King.

    Now some more good news: the original Uncle Joe's on Cottage has reopened!

    Image

    Image

    Still some of the best jerk chicken in Chicago, with great sauce and excellent sides—especially that callaloo.

    These few blocks of Cottage Grove comprise a true Chicago culinary destination. Hot links (plus tips or whatever strikes your fancy) at Barbara Ann's, some chicken plus sides at Uncle Joe's, and maybe a few donuts or fritters at Dat and you're all set.

    Uncle Joe's (reopened)
    8211 S Cottage Grove Av
    Chicago
    773-962-9935

    Barbara Ann's Bar-B-Que
    7617 S Cottage Grove Av
    Chicago
    773-651-5300

    Dat Donut
    8251 S Cottage Grove Av
    Chicago
    773-723-1002
  • Post #16 - April 7th, 2014, 4:29 pm
    Post #16 - April 7th, 2014, 4:29 pm Post #16 - April 7th, 2014, 4:29 pm
    that is really good news. i loved the interior of that location- i hope nothing's changed...
  • Post #17 - April 7th, 2014, 6:53 pm
    Post #17 - April 7th, 2014, 6:53 pm Post #17 - April 7th, 2014, 6:53 pm
    Rene G wrote:These few blocks of Cottage Grove comprise a true Chicago culinary destination. Hot links (plus tips or whatever strikes your fancy) at Barbara Ann's, some chicken plus sides at Uncle Joe's, and maybe a few donuts or fritters at Dat and you're all set.

    Uncle Joe's (reopened)
    8211 S Cottage Grove Av
    Chicago
    773-962-9935

    Barbara Ann's Bar-B-Que
    7617 S Cottage Grove Av
    Chicago
    773-651-5300

    Dat Donut
    8251 S Cottage Grove Av
    Chicago
    773-723-1002



    I hope I'm not coming across as the ass who dared correct Rene G, but imo, you forgot one. Maybe it's closed, but it's still listed on their site:

    Garrett deserves to make the list!

    The few times I've been to that location, they've had the possibly "elusive" spicy cheese popcorn which takes the Chicago Mix to a level that I guarantee Julia Louis Dreyfuss would not "yada-yada" past.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #18 - April 9th, 2014, 11:19 am
    Post #18 - April 9th, 2014, 11:19 am Post #18 - April 9th, 2014, 11:19 am
    justjoan wrote:that is really good news. i loved the interior of that location- i hope nothing's changed...

    I'll be curious to hear what you think. The overall feel of the place seems the same but I think there might have been some changes. Standing there, waiting (and waiting…that part hasn't changed) for our order, I couldn't remember the arrangement of the room from several years ago. At least the food is pretty much unchanged, and that's a good thing.

    seebee wrote:I hope I'm not coming across as the ass who dared correct Rene G, but imo, you forgot one. Maybe it's closed, but it's still listed on their site:

    Garrett deserves to make the list!

    The few times I've been to that location, they've had the possibly "elusive" spicy cheese popcorn which takes the Chicago Mix to a level that I guarantee Julia Louis Dreyfuss would not "yada-yada" past.

    Interesting addition, thanks. I didn't know that Garrett's flavors varied from store to store and was unaware that the spicy cheese flavor existed. I'm not much of a popcorn eater so almost never set foot in Garrett but I'll make a point to try the spicy.

    Next door to Garrett is St Rest #2 Country Kitchen, a worthy soul food cafeteria. It's a good area for eating.

    Garrett Popcorn Shop
    737 E 87th St
    Chicago
    773-855-8288
    888-476-7267

    St Rest #2 Country Kitchen
    727 E 87th St
    Chicago
    773-962-0700
  • Post #19 - April 14th, 2014, 3:57 pm
    Post #19 - April 14th, 2014, 3:57 pm Post #19 - April 14th, 2014, 3:57 pm
    Rene G wrote:
    In 2011 Rene G wrote:First the bad news: Uncle Joe's on Cottage Grove & 82nd has closed.

    Now the good news: the main restaurant is now at 47th & King.

    Now some more good news: the original Uncle Joe's on Cottage has reopened!

    Uncle Joe's (reopened)
    8211 S Cottage Grove Av
    Chicago
    773-962-9935


    Question - is there a compelling difference in food, between UJ's at 82nd and UJ's on 47th? UJ has been my go-to for Jerk Chicken in Chicagoland for several years now, I think its awesome, and I was a regular at 82nd (and was very very sad when it closed). But when 47th opened...I didnt personally find any drop-off in food, everything stayed the same I thought (food, prices, even some servers IIRC). Only the "place" was better, more seating, live music on Saturdays etc...

    Does the new reopened UJ's on 82nd offer something new/more, or has anyone noticed a difference in food-quality? (They used to have an attached Juice Bar which was pretty good back in the day)...

    c8w
  • Post #20 - March 8th, 2017, 1:32 pm
    Post #20 - March 8th, 2017, 1:32 pm Post #20 - March 8th, 2017, 1:32 pm
    Is this the same Uncle Joe's Jerk Chicken that is located at 1461 E. Hyde Park Blvd in Hyde Park? I find myself in Hyde Park more frequently than before and came across this place. Tried to get some Jerk wings a few hours before closing and they were out. It had jerk chicken and goat on the menu as well as some fish options. The place was small and had some tables but was mostly take out. Anyone been here lately? The other jerk place (did not get the name) located a couple blocks south is more upscale with alcohol and live music. Will try to go back.
    What disease did cured ham actually have?
  • Post #21 - September 24th, 2017, 7:07 am
    Post #21 - September 24th, 2017, 7:07 am Post #21 - September 24th, 2017, 7:07 am
    Not sure if there is a catch all Jerk restaurant thread, didn't see one so posting here.

    Yesterday mid afternoon did a 3 restaurant jerk tasting on south Halsted.

    Tried a 1/4 dark from each of the three places.

    Fire Jerk
    754 W Garfield (corner of Garfield & Halsted)
    773-624-2009

    Jamaica Island Jerk
    5058 S Halsted
    773-675-8389

    Reggae Island Jerk
    5101 S Halsted
    773-675-5039

    Fire Jerk portion portion was tiny, dry and burnt, jerk sauce on side was had LOTS of vinegar, + for heat factor

    Reggae Island Jerk portion was good, chicken was very moist, jerk sauce was excellent with good heat yet lots of spice notes, my favorite of the three places.

    Jamaica Island portion was good, chicken moist, jerk sauce, tasty. What intrigued me about the menu at Jamaica Island was the mention of holiday jerk duck, thinking about this has my mouth watering.

    All the above places had jerk tacos as well.
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #22 - September 25th, 2017, 8:32 am
    Post #22 - September 25th, 2017, 8:32 am Post #22 - September 25th, 2017, 8:32 am
    Thanks for the great report, Sweet Willie.

    I think Fire Jerk shows a lot of promise:

    Image

    I agree they use small chickens and run the fire hot (this bird was piping to the bone) but the smoke flavor was excellent, and I sampled the yams, rice, mac, and cabbage and they were all scratch and above average. Better yet, a full supply of Jamaican sodas and hard dough bread.
  • Post #23 - July 22nd, 2021, 12:51 pm
    Post #23 - July 22nd, 2021, 12:51 pm Post #23 - July 22nd, 2021, 12:51 pm
    I had the pleasure of jerk chicken for lunch today at St Bess, 4838 W 79th St, Burbank. I ordered 1/2 mixed jerked bird with 2 sides of cabbage as I am trying to watch my carb intake. The place is super clean, the staff was friendly and really tried to talk me in to getting rice/beans or mac and cheese. I of course had to decline. Also, there were 2 couples of islander's in the place waiting and they charming and so engaging!

    It took about 15 minutes for my order as it only 1130. When my order was ready, I took it home. To my surprise I got 2 orders of cabbage; which was wonderful and had slight kick because there appeared to be scotch or habanero slivers in it. They also included rice and beans which was awesome. I took a few bits and had my son eat the rest. As for the chicken, it travelled quite well. It was slightly smoky and was perfectly cooked. Might be the best pieces of chicken I've had in months. The skin was crispy, the meat juicy and the jerk sauce had tons of flavor and a nice bite of heat. Cant waint to go back. This was truly a great lunch!!

    St Bess
    4838 W 79th St
    Burbank, Il

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