Burger-n-Fries

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Best fast food places I like around the city and 'burbs to stop in for a hot dog, burger or gyro, not named Hot Doug's, Superdawg, Paradise Pup or Wiener's Circle
  • 5.0 Sterne
    6.2.2007

    This is a classy, family-owned restaurant with great gyros, burgers, Polish and pepper & egg sandwiches. Usually crowded around lunchtime. They have daily specials. Their perch dinner and steak sandwiches are the best! I also like the curly fries and fried zucchini slices. I've been coming here 15+ years and it's a good place to bring kids too. Lots of families come here on weekends after sports with the kids still in baseball or soccer attire. Drop in your business card in the fishtank and you can win a free meal too. After a few visits, you get to know Nick and Pam, the co-owners. Placing an order or picking up makes you a "buddy" right away though.

    I came here a while ago with just my 2 kids: a one-year old and a four year-old. They had the courtesy to bring the food to my table since they didn't want me to leave the kids unattended at the table. They even checked if I needed anything during the meal, though this is not a full-service restaurant. That makes a big statement about their level of service and will most certainly assure that I will keep coming back here.

    Every Saturday around noon, there's usually anywhere from 6 to a dozen ham radio guys who gather round for lunch and a nice long and loud session of Geek-speak for at least an hour. They are as much part of the Papa Chris ambience as the people behind the counter.

    Only downside is they are closed on Sundays.

  • 4.0 Sterne
    18.1.2009

    I came here with the kids after gym class on Saturday since it's less than a mile from International Gymnastics. Located on the corner of Rand in the same area as Menard's and Aldi, right next to Business Center Drive.

    Inside it's kept very clean despite the snow on the ground. They manage to do it without putting dirty cardboard on the floor like some places. Vintage Chicago photos hang on the wall above the order counter.

    The smell of flame-grilled burgers hits you immediately. I got the 1/4-pound cheeseburger and the kids got grilled cheeses. We got only 1 order of fries. Their "small" is enough to feed 3 people. Good burger with all the toppings, no complaints.

    Besides the usual fast food choices, they also have a Mexican menu of burritos and a few other items I was surprised to see. I think I'll have to run my steak burrito benchmark test on them in the coming weeks, so look for an update. I see us returning to this place every week given its proximity to the gym.

    And finally, the kids got free small ice cream cones, which is apparently the standard practice. Unfortunately, Stunt Baby has no idea how to eat ice cream, so he just flicks the tip of his tongue at it. I got to finish it for him.

  • 4.0 Sterne
    23.2.2009

    We stopped here for dinner on a snowy Saturday night. This is a Greek-run burger and gyros joint with other menu options as well.

    There had to be around 15-20 people eating in the place - all men. The parking lot had several City of Elmhurst snow plows lined up in back, plus a fancy Canada Northern ultility vehicle decked out with all sorts of hydraulic hoses and controls of some sort. Inside, it was like a Carhartt working clothes fashion show in progress. Hard-working burly men in thickly layered clothes and flannel eating hearty meals to warm up during their OT shift of clearing snow on the streets.

    So, of course we joined them. My wife and I ordered a 2-piece Greek chicken platter that came with rice and a salad and cost only $6.99. The kids ordered a mostaccioli platter to share. Let's just say this ain't no ordinary 2-piece chicken dinner like you'd get at KFC. I got a pair of chicken leg quarters, alongside a heaping mound of tasty rice. The kids' mostaccioli also came with a side salad. We thought we'd have it for ourselves, as if our dinner wasn't enough.

    Well, when the food arrived, all the platters filled up our table that we could not even place all the dishes on it, and had to move a platter to a vacant neighboring table. Both our chicken dishes also came with garlic bread and  a Greek salad too, sprinkled with a flavorful and not too oily dressing - just right. The side salad with the mostaccioli dish had a creamy garlic dressing that was downright awesome.  I'd gobble it all up if I hadn't already filled up on the 1 piece of chicken and rice that I managed to eat.

    The kids ate their mostaccioli, but there was so much of it, we could have fed 2 other kids as well. Good thing we got the pasta sauce and meatballs on the side. The sauce had a bizarre taste, as if it had been seasoned with garam masala - a spice mix used in Indian or Moroccan cooking that consists of cinnamon, cumin, cloves and fennel. It just tasted weird in the context of a pasta dish. I don't know what was up with that. It was the only thing we disliked about the place.

    In the end, we had a ton of leftovers to bring home and enjoy: 2 whole pieces of chicken and a ton of pasta and rice. We could have been well-fed on just splitting a 2-piece chicken dinner between us, plus the salad. Definitely a great amount of food for the money. Friendly and fast service too. I'd recommend the chicken, rice and salad but pass on their pasta sauce.

  • 4.0 Sterne
    10.8.2010
    Erster Beitrag

    "Five guys, five stars" is what my 7 year old son told me after our first meal here. My 4 year old repeated "five stars" to sway my vote, but as the registered Yelper of the household, I'll say 4 solid stars.

    As Five Guys novices, we came to this location on the first day it opened. Located across the street from the big Starbucks shop and Pickwick building, it's a prime location in Uptown PR.

    Setting foot inside, I was impressed with its simple red and white motifs on the floor and walls. The next thing my 7 year old pointed out is "There are more than 5 guys working here!" He was right - I counted 14, plus maybe some more in back possibly. Signs all around posted glowing quotes and testimonials for Five Guys from various publications and critics.

    We came right before the big dinner rush, so there was no line ahead of us. With a quick glance at the menu, I went for the jugular ...er coronary artery perhaps, and ordered a bacon cheeseburger. My son got the "little" cheeseburger. My 4 year old got a grilled cheese. Our order taker recommended we split a single large fry, as it would be enough to feed all of us.

    As we waited for our food, we enjoyed a free cardboard "boat" of peanuts we scooped from a box. The food came to us in paper bags, wrapped in foil. No nonsense. No mascots, no clowns, no toys.  Classic rock like Cheap Trick, ZZ Top and Genesis blasted in the place. Clearly, this is a man's joint and it appealed to me. It's also clear the food, not the scenery, rules here. A handwritten white board sign on the wall even showed which farm today's potatoes came from.

    The "little" burger was huge - rivaling a regular 1/4-pound burger at other places. And you can taste the beef's quality in its appearance, smell and love at first bite. The grilled cheese was round, essentially like a burger bun with the top and bottom shaved off. Nothing too impressive, but I think the fresh-cut fries were the definite winners here. Among me and my 2 boys, we cleared a large fry serving that came in a plain-looking 22 oz. paper cup. Not greasy, not too crispy, but an honest potato taste.

    We left the place fully loaded, too full for even an Italian ice at Lisa's across the street like we usually do when visiting the area.

    Bottom line, I'd give it 5 stars if the order taker had explained that toppings are free, but not included when you order. Even naked, my burger was superb, but some pickle, onions and tomato would have been nice. It cost $20 to feed the 3 of us to capacity. Not cheap eats, but reasonable for the generous serving and that forever-full feeling that followed.

  • 4.0 Sterne
    17.10.2010

    We were out in the area and decided to try Iving's for Red Hot Lovers. After all, it was Sweetest Day. If you're coming from the west (Glenview), it's easy to miss on Lake Ave., as it is located on the west side of a strip mall at the corner of Skokie Road and Lake.

    Once inside, it became clear to us quickly that this place must be a big hit with the locals. Even though it was past the peak lunch hour at 1 PM, there was a line to the door and nearly every table was taken in the small dining area. Families with kids and high school kids from nearby Loyola Academy all came here for lunch or ice cream.

    I ordered a grilled Polish sausage. My wife got a brat with sauerkraut and onions. My older son got a plain hot dog. This place gets it right. The order-taker calls out every item as a crew in back get busy on each order. It did not appear that he wrote anything down, yet we got everything just right. Pretty amazing how they got the routine down. We also found the line moved very quickly.

    My grilled Polish was excellent and my wife said her brat had the right "snap" to it - perhaps the best she's tried around here. We also got a side of onion rings and sweet potato fries. Servings aren't big on side items but their o-rings are great tasting. Same with the fries.

    Overall, it's a cramped sort of place, as many of the best hole-in-the-wall fast food joints often are, but it wasn't long before we struck up a conversation with another guy who stopped in for lunch too. And we looked over at some Loyola kids with cheese fries. If my cholesterol wasn't a concern, I'd gladly pounce on those and devour them.

    After our meal, it was amazing to see the crowd had not subsided at all. For a little town in the North Shore, Wilmette sure has a lot of Red Hot Lovers. Add us to the list of fans who will return here next time we're back in the area.

  • 4.0 Sterne
    6.2.2007

    If all you want is a good hot dog, this is the place. This is a no-nonsense, low price, Vienna all-beef, made with fresh-cut fries and wrapped in the wax paper along with the hot dog. You like ketchup? Bring a few packets with you and keep it to yourself to avoid embarrassment. The hot dogs have a rubbery quality to them but I was hooked on this place when I went to Triton College. I boast that I lost 5 pounds just by not eating there anymore. Late at night, they have a line to the door sometimes, so you know Gene & Jude's is doing something right.

  • 4.0 Sterne
    9.5.2008
    Erster Beitrag

    I work not far from Eden's, so I came here for the first time with a couple people who already went here for lunch before. The place is almost across the street from the Sauganash area Whole Foods on Cicero. Based on the seemingly endless stream of people coming, looks like a great lunch spot. In the 30 minutes we were there, I saw maybe 15-20 school kids, suit & tie types, and even construction workers with orange vests stop in for food.

    Eden's has a really small eat-in area consisting of 4 booths and 3 tables in the middle, but it also has an outdoor seating area for nice days. The interior is very clean, the menu board looks new, well-structured and easy to follow. Eden's offers breakfast, lunch and dinner selections.

    While I chose the half-pound cheeseburger, both my colleagues chose the gyros. From the look of their platters, I should have done the same. My burger was awesome too, don't get me wrong. Even the edges of the patty were seared crisp to my liking. The burger was larger than the bun, and it was loaded with lettuce, tomatoes and pickles. No disappointment at all, but the gyros just looked so hot and fresh that I should have ordered it instead.

    The food came quickly too. Seemed the gyros only took 2-3 minutes from the time we ordered. My burger took a little longer but very reasonable wait time. They are well-staffed and the orders just keep coming.

    I will definitely make this a regular lunch place in lieu of Backyard Grill on Devon, since service here is so much better and it's not as expensive.

  • 1960 N Rand Rd
    Palatine, IL 60074
    Vereinigte Staaten
    4.0 Sterne
    23.5.2012

    I was out on "Nursery Row" along Rand Road in Palatine when it was lunchtime. Tore & Luke's caught my attention, being so close to Knupper's on the other side of the road. It looked more enticing than most of the chain places out that way. We came inside to cool off and give them a try.

    The place is big inside - cavernous huge - with a high ceiling and plenty of floor space. Overhead, there's a large model of a WW II era fighter plane. There's also a giant deer head, a trophy swordfish and plenty of kitsch from yesteryear in the form of signs, old black & white photos and cars. There's even a multi-shelf glass cabinet with rows of miniature Model T Fords my kids stopped to admire while we waited for our food.

    I'd compare this place to Portillo's in terms of its range of menu items. It's both a hot dog/burger joint and an Italian place with pasta and pizza. After trying things from both sides of their menu, I think they execute both very well. My wife and I both ordered grilled Maxwell Polish while my kids got cheese pizza and a size of pasta. We also got a side of fries.

    Serving sizes are huge. For starters, the side order of fries alone would have been enough for all 4 of us - probably equal to 4 packets of small fries served by a well-known chain with Mc in its name. The Polish sausages were served on thick Gonnella Italian bread rolls, with what I think may have been a bit of butter inside for an even better taste. The Polish was as long as the bread it was served on and quite filling.

    The cheese pizza was great too and both my kids enjoyed their slices. The pizza is a medium-thin crust, soft - not crisp, with cheese right up to the edges and a little carmelized on the outer perimeter. The slices are slender but long, which also makes them a generous serving size too. I'd definitely go for their pizza in a future visit if I'm out there again.

    In all, it was a pleasant lunch in a spacious and cozy place. Tore & Luke's is definitely worth a visit if you're out in Palatine looking for a good meal.

  • 4304 N River Rd
    Schiller Park, IL 60176
    Vereinigte Staaten
    4.0 Sterne
    23.5.2012 Aktualisierter Beitrag

    Just stopped in at Frannie's with my boys yesterday. It is one of those timeless kind of places that still seems the same every time we return, even if we've been away for half a year. The fries are just as good as the day I fell in love with them nearly a decade ago. But there is one change this time: Blueberry Italian ice joins the growing lineup of ices to choose from. And I can say I love this flavor too.

    4.0 Sterne
    17.5.2011 Vorheriger Beitrag
    Frannie's added pineapple to its selection of Italian ice flavors. It was a hit with me and my kids,… Weiterlesen
    4.0 Sterne
    4.3.2010 Vorheriger Beitrag
    So I was out with my older son and his younger Stunt Boy brother. We had just gotten our haircuts.… Weiterlesen
    4.0 Sterne
    27.2.2007 Vorheriger Beitrag
    Being an expert on finding the good dives around town, this is another classic. On the outside, it's… Weiterlesen
  • 1006 N Northwest Hwy
    Park Ridge, IL 60068
    Vereinigte Staaten
    4.0 Sterne
    5.12.2010 Aktualisierter Beitrag

    If this is your first time here, got a great recommendation for you. Try the sweet potato fries and your life will forever be changed, or at the very least you will find yourself coming here more often to score more of them.

    4.0 Sterne
    9.3.2007 Vorheriger Beitrag
    Located on the corner of Oakton and NW Highway, Wally's inverted McDonald's arches logo is a stark… Weiterlesen
  • 5016 N Pulaski Rd
    Chicago, IL 60630
    Vereinigte Staaten
    4.0 Sterne
    7.3.2008
    Erster Beitrag

    Just a block south of Gompers Park on Pulaski, GT's is located in a strip mall across from the neighborhood Aldi's. Considering I've worked in the area nearly 10 years and never visited this place is unbelievable. I've passed it many times, reluctant to try, but finally checked it out. It is definitely not a dive considering its proximity to the lot next to the Salvation Army building where the undocumented workers hang out along the fence looking for work.

    GT's is a nice diner, complete with the long counter and the round stools. Very clean and shiny counter you can eat off of - literally. Their menu has breakfast, lunch and dinner items you would expect: eggs, bacon, pancakes, hash browns, hot dogs, burgers, gyros, and even a Mexican selection of burritos, tacos, quesadillas and sopes. Being the observant Catholic, I settled for a fish sandwich on this particular Lenten Friday. If Burger King thinks they have a Big Fish sandwich, look out! GT's stacks about 3 inches tall with all the works included! Lots of fries on the side, and all made to order quickly.

    Their drinks include Aguas Naturales: Horchata, Jamaica and Tamarindo.

    Some of the booths have small tears in the cushions, but the overall upkeep on this place is good and the food preparation area looked very clean to me. It's a lot less crowded than Backyard Grill on Devon about 2 miles north of here, and a lot cheaper too. I think I'll be returning here more often for my weekly lunch out.

  • 4.0 Sterne
    2.2.2008

    Whenever I'm in the Oak Park/River Forest area at lunchtime, this is the place I prefer to any of the Foo-Foo's cafe places on Marion Ave. or something. It has the look and feel of a blue collar burger and gyros joint on the outside, right down to the order counter displaying its menus and specials in your face. The smell of grilled burgers hits you the moment you get out of your car.

    Service is fast and there's plenty of room to sit at clean tables and booths. I can see it being a favorite place of mine if I were a local.

    And in KD's review, he mentions the Riblet sandwich. Any of you love the McDonald's McRib when it appears for a few weeks each year? Well, one bite of this mighty good sammich and you'll think of it as McRib on steroids (or growth hormones maybe)? Either way, it's the most awesome boneless rib sandwich besides Fireplace Inn perhaps. Being a creature of habit, once I get hooked on something I like, I will keep ordering that item every time I visit the place. And so, I can't offer further insights on their other menu items besides stating they give you lots of fries too...

  • 4.0 Sterne
    29.12.2010 Aktualisierter Beitrag

    We came here on a weeknight for a late dinner following an evening at Brookfield Zoo with some friends. The place is still as clean as I remember it to be when I lived about a mile away, back when it first opened. It even has a sports bar feel to it, minus the beer signs and alcohol, since there are two big TV's on the wall. One was showing the Blackhawks, and the other an NFL game.

    Great burgers, hot dogs and Polish. It's also a popular hangout for local police and paramedics from Chicago, River Grove and Elmwood Park, and even my dentist from down the street on Belmont comes here from time to time. For a family of 4, we ate our fill for under $20, so it's still a great bargain.

    4.0 Sterne
    14.3.2007 Vorheriger Beitrag
    We started coming here when Goodie's first opened around 1998. It's still the same group of people… Weiterlesen
  • 951 W Wise Rd
    Schaumburg, IL 60193
    Vereinigte Staaten
    4.0 Sterne
    27.4.2007
    Erster Beitrag

    When I was on a mini-business trip in this heavily industrialized part of Schaumburg, I came across a strip mall with this place. Devil Dog's has great hot dogs & burgers. You can smell the grilling in the parking lot as you come in. Inside, there's a lot of Chicago sports memorabilia on the walls. Since this is a dining place relying heavily on the business types in the area, they take all kinds of credit cards, and it almost seems to be their preferred way of doing transactions. I went for their burger last time, but I can testify that I tried their Polish sausage before and it was charred to perfection, with grilled onions and mustard, just how I like it. Clean place, decent-sized dining area, and they have daily special combo meals that are a good deal indeed.

  • 2256 W Chicago Ave
    Chicago, IL 60622
    Vereinigte Staaten
    4.0 Sterne
    22.8.2007

    A nostalgic 4 stars for what is really a bare-brick walled, cramped-looking hot dog joint on the corner on Chicago & Oakley. Sandwiched between the 2 Ukrainian churches to the north and south, this was always a hub of activity after school when I was a kid. I don't know how many hundreds of bags of fries I ate here between 1st and 8th grade, coming for an after-school snack from St. Nicholas a block away. Back then, a curly-haired blond guy named ...Joe? was always the guy behind the counter. He's gone, but his face will always be associated with this place in my mind.

    I was in the area recently and I had to stop in to taste the fries of my childhood. And y'know? They haven't changed! Smooth potato sticks, squeezed gently to exude oil. That's what I grew up on. Of course, I had to have a Vienna Beef Chicago style hot dog to go with it.

    Like Kristina B says, the walls are adorned with kids in Halloween costumes dating back to 1987. There's also a few dirty old plaques from Smith Park Little League, honoring Peppe's sponsorship of their teams. And like any respectable Chicago dog-house, there's even a fading team photo of the '85 Bears, with maybe enough room to fit the '07 Bears alongside it, should they win it all again.

    As I crunched the brownish, salt-encrusted remnants of my fries, I walked out the door down the same path I walked 25-30 years ago on the way home from school.


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Park Ridge, IL, Vereinigte Staaten

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Februar 2007

Dinge, die ich mag

burgers, gardening, Michigan Upper Peninsula, arena football, breaking large icicles, bacon, Yoplait raspberry yogurt, McRib sandwich, blueberries, Adobe Illustrator, Italian ice, Ben Katchor comics, yucca fries, my little speed skater

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Park Ridge, IL

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I'm going over my seeds for spring planting

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I know what goes into hot dogs

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