The Original Maxwell Street Station – S. Cicero, Chicago

27 09 2009
  • 6659 S. Cicero Avenue
  • Chicago, IL 60638
  • (773) 581-3500
  • No Known Website
  • Menu
The Original Maxwell Street Station on South Cicero in Chicago.

The Original Maxwell Street Station on South Cicero in Chicago.

My brother loves Chicago Style hot dogs.  You would think that someone who lives so close to Chicago would have access to a Chicago style dog, but you’d be wrong.  Where he lives, just an hour south of the city, no one does them right.

My whole family packed up and headed north for the weekend.  Once we got checked into our hotel, we went looking for lunch.  We went for a walk.  There was a little shack right across the street from our hotel that had everything we wanted.

The Original Maxwell Street Station on the corner of South Cicero and West Marquette Road is one of a handful in Chicago.  The building is very tiny and is really the kind of place I love.  There is very little seating inside the bright yellow building.  There are no tables.  Just a counter that overlooks the kitchen with a few bar stools.  Since we had my one year old niece, my brother decided that wasn’t a good idea.  The only other option is a couple picnic tables right outside.   Again, it was very close to the very busy Cicero Avenue and that made him a little nervous.

It just so happened that the special for the day was 2 Chicago Style Dogs and 2 Fries.  That was perfect.  My brother wanted two dogs and I would take one of the fries.  My dad did the same and my mom took the other order of fries from his order.  They both got the dogs without the tomato wedges that are common on Chicago dogs.  What my brother really likes is the sprout peppers and the poppy seed bun. Read the rest of this entry »


Nicky’s Carry-Out, Crestwood, IL

14 09 2009
  • 14001 Cicero Avenue
  • Crestwood, IL 60445
  • (708) 388-4626
  • No Known Website
  • No Online Menu
Nickys Carry-Out in Crestwood, IL

Nicky's Carry-Out in Crestwood, IL

Months before I started dating J, I was sent up to Chicago to shoot a high school basketball game at St. Xavier University on the south side.  I didn’t know then that I’d be spending so much time on the south side of Chicago and when I got off the Interstate on Cicero Avenue, my first order of business was finding some place to get an Italian beef. 

The first place I came across was Nicky’s Carry-Out in Crestwood, so I stopped and got a beef.  I didn’t know it at the time, but there was a Portillo’s right down the street.  If I had known that, I probably would have waited, but I’m sort of glad I didn’t. 

I haven’t been back to Nicky’s since then even though we do drive by it quite a bit on our way to J’s parents’ house.  On my last trip home by myself, I had to make a stop at J’s parents on the way back to Lansing to pick up some things we forgot on our last trip home. 

I left my parents in kind of a rush because I slept much later than I had intended.  After a quick stop at my brother’s, I headed towards Chicago….hungry.  I could have stopped at Portillo’s, but since I was by myself, I decided to stop at Nicky’s to see if it was what I remembered now that I’ve been formally introduced to Chicago cuisine. Read the rest of this entry »

New York Pizza Depot – E. Williams

18 01 2009
  • 605 E. William
  • Ann Arbor, MI 48104
  • (734) 669-6973
  • Website
  • Menu
The New York Pizza Depot on Williams Street in Ann Arbor

The New York Pizza Depot on Williams Street in Ann Arbor

When I’m in a college town, one of my favorite meals is to find a place that sells pizza by the slice.  I was in Ann Arbor by myself to shoot a basketball game which means I was going to be on my own for lunch.  A few weeks ago, I picked up one of those travel magazines at a rest area.  It had a list of restaurants by location in town, so looked for something in the campus area.  I found a pizza place and assumed they would do pizza by the slice, so when it came time for lunch, I headed down towards the State Street area to find the New York Pizza Depot.

The New York Pizza Depot sits on the corner of Williams and Maynard Streets.  The New York Pizza Depot is a small chain founded in Ann Arbor looking to franchise out.  Right now, they have five stores under the franchise umbrella Uncle D’s New York Pizza.  Three in Ann Arbor, one in Ypsilanti, and one in Bloomington, IN.  To my surprise, the shop was pretty big.  There is a main room when you walk in with a glass case full of pizza and a few tables.  There’s also another room with more tables down a short hallway.  It looks like it used to be two separate store fronts that were put together.  The decor is really nice.  The booths are cloth covered and it feels more like your sitting on a couch than a restaurant booth. Read the rest of this entry »

Pluto’s Original Beef & Hotdogs – Oak Lawn, IL

5 01 2009
  • 10341 S. Cicero Ave.
  • Oak Lawn, IL 60453
  • (708) 425-2222
  • Website
  • Menu
Plutos Original Beef and Hot Dogs on South Cicero in Oak Lawn, IL

Pluto's Original Beef and Hot Dogs on South Cicero in Oak Lawn, IL

Did you think I would go to Chicago and not get an Italian Beef?  It doesn’t matter how short of a trip it is, there’s a place on every corner, so I will get an Italian Beef eventually.

Right before J and I left for Michigan on Sunday afternoon, her mom offered up one more meal.  The night before, we were talking about the best burger on the south side when her step dad brought up Pluto’s.  We drive by Pluto’s every time we go to her parents and any place with the word “beef” in the title is appealing to me. 

J’s parents order from there quite often, so they had a menu at home and the lady working knew her mom by name.  I passed on the burger and went straight for the Italian Beef.  J’s step dad ordered the special which was three hot dogs and three things of fries, so I didn’t have to order fries.  J got a homemade chicken fingers which came with fries and a chocolate malt while her mom got a salad.  They also got an order of the jalapeno poppers for all of us.

After about five minutes, we piled in the car to go pick it up.  We didn’t all need to go, but I always feel bad making someone else go after my food, so J and I went with her mom to get it.  We pulled up to the drive through and J’s mom told the intercom who she was.  The lady who knew her answered and told her to pull around to the window.  The food wasn’t quite ready, but it was close.  Read the rest of this entry »

Mr. Gyros – Oak Lawn, IL

25 12 2008
  • 10806 S. Cicero Ave.
  • Oak Lawn, IL 60435
  • (708) 741-4014
  • Website
  • Menu
Mr. Gyros on South Cicero in Oak Lawn, IL

Mr. Gyros on South Cicero in Oak Lawn, IL

I can only take so many cookies.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas cookies, but usually by dinner time on Christmas day I’m craving some real food.  J and I made it back to her parents in the south suburbs of Chicago and went on a hunt.  Surprisingly, there’s not a whole lot open.  We drove around for ten minutes or so before finding Mr. Gyros open.

Mr. Gyros is in a small strip mall on Cicero near 108th.  Neon signs filled the front window and there signs for their specialty, the “Big Pappa.”  J and I went in to find a counter and a small dining room.  There were a few other people who had the same idea we.  Most of the tables were full and there was even a guy sitting at the bar along the wall.

Mr. Gryos must have brought the whole family in to work Christmas Day.  We were met at the counter by a kid who couldn’t have been very far into his teens.  He asked what we wanted and started writing down the order.  J asked for a grilled cheese and fries then I ordered the Special #5 which is an Italian Beef, fries, and a pop.  I think we confused him.  He wasn’t writing as fast as we were talking and he got all confused.  He thought the #5 was the grilled cheese and it took some explaining to straighten things out.  Finally, it must have sunk in.  I got my beef without peppers and onions, but I did add mozzarella.  In another weird twist, J ordered a Diet Coke to add to her sandwich.  After we paid, the kid turned around and grabbed a can of Coke out of the cooler for me then got J a fountain Diet.  That was bizarre.  Why they have both cans and fountains and why one comes with the special over the other beats me. Read the rest of this entry »

America’s Dog – Downtown Chicago

30 11 2008
  • 26 E. Randolph St.
  • Chicago, IL 60601
  • (312) 345-0100
  • Website
  • Menu
Americas Dog on Randolph St. in downtown Chicago

America's Dog on Randolph St. in downtown Chicago

J and I have been planning a day out in Chicago with my brother and his wife for quite some time.  My brother was going to surprise his wife with tickets to Wicked at the Ford Theater on Randolph in downtown Chicago.  J and I saw the show a couple years ago, so we weren’t going to go, but we were going to spend the day downtown walking and just enjoying the Mag Mile around Christmas time. 

My brother drove up to J’s parents house in the south suburbs then turned the keys over to me.  They were going to eat at Portillo’s in Crestwood (review HERE), but when they drove by, it was way too crowded so they passed.  He really wanted a Chicago Dog.  There were a few places along Cicero on the way to I-55, but I knew of a place in the theater district that I figured we could stop at. Read the rest of this entry »

Pizza House

1 09 2008
  • 4790 S. Hagadorn Rd. #116
  • East Lansing, MI 48823
  • (517) 336-0033
  • Website
  • Menu
The Pizza House in East Lansing.  A little slice of Chicago in Mid-Michigan

The Pizza House in East Lansing. A little slice of Chicago in Mid-Michigan

The quest for the perfect pizza took me to East Lansing after getting several recommendations for the Pizza House in Hannah Plaza.  My family was in town and we spent the day in Frankenmuth.  As we were leaving, we debated on whether or not to go in to Detroit for dinner and gambling.  That was eventually shot down and my dad said he just wanted pizza.  Since the Pizza House has been so highly recommended, I thought that was a safe bet.  If you remember my review of Pisanello’s Pizza (review HERE) in Mt. Pleasant, you’ll recall that everyone in my family likes a different type of pie, so pizzaria’s can be a challenge.

I had a little bit of trouble finding Pizza House at first.  We put the address in the GPS and it brought us the right area, but as the GPS was saying “Arriving at Pizza House on right” I couldn’t see any signs for it.  We were at Hannah Plaza, so I assumed it was in there.  I turned into the parking lot and J saw the sign for it.  The building is nothing special.  Just your typical strip mall pizza joint….or is it? Read the rest of this entry »

Portillo’s Hot Dogs – Oak Lawn, IL

22 08 2008
  • 4020 W. 95th St.
  • Oak Lawn, IL 60435
  • (708 ) 422-1384
  • Website
  • Menu
Portillos Hot Dogs on 95th St. in Oak Lawn near Chicago

Portillo's Hot Dogs on 95th St. in Oak Lawn near Chicago

I said this a month ago when I reviewed the Portillo’s in Crestwood, IL (review HERE).  I LOVE PORTILLO’S!  The thing I miss the most about Illinois and Chicago cuisine is the Italian Beef sandwich so anytime I get a chance to get one, I make sure I do. 

J and I were at her parents before continuing our trip south to my parents for the annual Homecoming celebration.  We got in late and had plans to go to a 24 hour restaurant for breakfast, but we were too tired and just went to bed.  When we woke up, both of us were starving.  After playing Mario Kart Wii with her mom for a while, we got up and went looking for lunch.  J asked what I wanted and I said I didn’t care.  She knows me all too well and suggested Portillo’s.  I thought we were going to the one on Cicero we always go to, but she said there was one closer to her parents place near Christ Hospital.  Read the rest of this entry »

Portillo’s Hot Dogs – Crestwood, IL

20 07 2008
  • 13130 Cicero Ave.
  • Crestwood, IL 60445
  • (708 ) 385-6400
  • Website
  • Menu
Portillos Hot Dogs in Crestwood.  Real Chicago-Style Food!

Portillo's Hot Dogs in Crestwood, IL. Real Chicago-Style Food!

I seem to be spending about every weekend back in Chicago and this past weekend was not exception.  This time, however, I was in town for a concert and not work.  We got tickets to see Sugarland (for the third time!) at the Cedar Point Sportsmen Club in Peru, IL.  Peru is a little over an hour from Chicago, so we decided to stop at my girlfriend’s parents before and after the show.  On our way to meet my parents, whom we were going to the show with, we started talking about food.  We had a pretty packed day trying to fit everything we wanted to do in and we neglected lunch up until that point.  Since she’s more familiar with the area, she started running down places on the way to the meeting point.  After a few suggestions, I finally said, “What about Portillo’s?” 

Let me start by saying.  I LOVE Portillo’s.  This is Chicago style food at it’s best.  When I was in college, I interned downtown at Fox Sports Net Chicago.  The downtown Portillo’s is located a few blocks away and I used to walk there all the time.  Since I started dating my girlfriend, I take any opportunity I can to stop at this location on Cicero. Read the rest of this entry »