Jay would like to thank everyone who has been so supportive (and hungry) of his authentic Chicago street-fare. You’ve enabled us to grow our presence in the Nashville area. We can now better meet demand with all the trimmings! So don’t be shy if you see Jay’s Chicago pop up near you. Come on over, say “hey” and try a “meal in a bun” Chicago-style.
Chicago-style hot dogs are cooked in hot water or steamed before adding the toppings. A less common style is cooked on a charcoal grill and referred to as a “chardog.” Chardogs are easily identifiable because very often the ends of the dog are sliced in criss cross fashion before cooking, producing a distinctive “curled-x” shape as the dog cooks. Some hot dog stands, such as the Weiners Circle, only serve char-dogs.
The buns are a high-gluten variety made to hold up to steam warming, typically the S. Rosen’s Mary Ann brand from Alpha Baking Company.
As a long time Chicago native, I will provide an authentic Vienna Beef Hotdog on a S. Rosen steamed poppy seed bun, Polish Sausage, Italian Beef Sandwich with a Gonnella Roll, Jay’s Potato Chips and a cold beverage from a mobile Hot Dog cart for the lunch time crowd and private events throughout the Nashville and surrounding counties. Come taste and smell Maxwell Street, Comiskey Park, Wrigley Field or The Chicago Stadium.
A Maxwell Street Polish consists of a grilled or fried length of Polish sausage topped with grilled onions and yellow mustard and optional sport peppers, served on a bun. The meal traces its origins to Chicago‘s Maxwell Street market, and has been called one of “the classic foods synonymous with Chicago”.
The sandwich is widely said to have been created by Jimmy Stefanovic, a Macedonian immigrant, who took over his aunt and uncle’s hot dog stand in 1939 (now called Jim’s Original) located at Maxwell and Halsted in Chicago’s old Maxwell Street market district. TheExpress Grill, which is located right next door to Jim’s, advertises itself as the Original Maxwell St. Polish on its marquee, although it arrived after Jim’s and serves almost an identical menu. Due to their virtually undivided storefronts and 24-hour service at the original Halsted Street location of both stands, Jim’s Original and Express Grill had an added element of confusion for the casual observer not attentive to the change in signage a matter of feet in distance. Despite the competition, the Maxwell Polish sausage sandwich soon grew to be one of Chicago’s most popular local offerings, along with the Chicago-style hot dog and the Italian beef sandwich.
Due to the University of Illinois Chicago‘s South Campus development the Maxwell Street market district was razed and the two stands moved in 2005. After decades of coexisting at the intersection of Halsted and Maxwell Streets, the two have relocated their side-by-side competition a half block east onto Union Avenue, adjacent to the Dan Ryan Expressway on-ramp at Roosevelt Road.
Maxwell Polish are a staple of hot dog stands and today are found throughout the city and suburbs, including at restaurant chains such asPortillo’s and Brown’s Chicken, and is available at most sports venues in the area serving concessions. Most of the 24-hour stands (such as the original Express Grill and its neighboring competition, Jim’s Original) also serve the pork chop sandwich popularized alongside the Polish sausage sandwich during the days of the old Maxwell Street market.
The main feature of the sandwich is the sausage, which is widely available in grocery and specialty retail stores throughout the Chicago area. It is typically marketed as the ‘Maxwell Street’ variety, which is a Chicago-specific variation of kielbasa distinguished by it being typically more seasoned and made from a combination of both beef and pork.[dead link] The largest manufacturer of this particular style of Polish sausage in Chicago is Vienna Beef
The canonical recipe does not include ketchup, and there is a widely-shared, strong opinion among many Chicagoans and aficionados that ketchup is unacceptable. A number of Chicago hot dog vendors do not offer ketchup as a condiment.
An Italian beef is a sandwich of thin slices of seasoned roast beef, dripping with meat juices, on a dense, long Italian-style roll, which originated in Chicago where its history dates back at least to the 1930s. The bread itself is often dipped (or double-dipped) into the juices the meat is cooked in, and the sandwich is typically topped off with Chicago-style giardiniera (called “hot”) or sauteed, green Italian sweet peppers (called “sweet”).
Italian beef sandwiches can be found at most hot dog stands and small Italian-American restaurants throughout the city of Chicago and its suburbs. They are difficult to find outside of Illinois. However, Chicago expatriates have opened restaurants across the country serving Italian beef, Chicago-style hot dogs, and other foods original to the Chicago area.
Italian beef is made using cuts of beef from the sirloin rear or the top/bottom round wet-roasted in broth with garlic, oregano and spices until medium rare or medium. The roast is then cooled, shaved using a deli slicer, and then reintroduced to its reheated beef broth. The beef then sits in the broth, typically for hours. Once a sandwich is ordered, the beef is then drawn from the broth and placed directly on the bread. Because the meat is served dripping wet it is necessary to use a chewy bread, as a softer bread would disintegrate. The typical bread used is long, Italian style loaves without seeds sliced from six to eight inches in length. Italian beef can also be shredded instead of sliced.
Many retailers purchase pre-seasoned, pre-cooked, and pre-sliced Italian beef with separate cooking broth (“au jus”), and then heat and serve, while the most acclaimed Chicago beef places typically prepare the beef on their own premises according to their own recipes. Some produce their own homemade giardiniera as well