I can’t believe that there is no mention of Gene & Jude’s here! The best red hots and fries I’ve ever had! Their menu is simple:
Hot dogs (Vienna Kosher, steamed buns with no poppy seeds)
French fries (Fresh-made)
Pop (Yes, it’s pop, not soda! [:D])
And that’s it! They’re very specialized… and the choice of toppings is also limited: Onions, mustard, relish, sweet peppers. That’s it! Don’t ask for ketchup, or you may be asked to leave!
The fries are cut right behind the counter, and pretty much dropped straight in the oil. It’s all served up in a brown paper bag, and no chairs, just a counter that circles the restaurant.
A couple of my friends moved to North Carolina, and drove back several times, just to go to G&J’s! They’re that good!
At least, that’s what I think. Anyone else?
BTW, they’re at the corner of River Road and Grand Ave. in River Grove, Illinois. Open at 11 evey day, I think, ’til midnight or so.
I’ve been going to Gene & Jude’s for 45 years and still love ’em, though now I have to drive 35 miles one-way. The parking lot and line inside are filled with a cross-section of middle America, from children on their bicycles to adults on their motorcycles, from guys in suits to guys from the nearby factories, from classic cars to junkers. There’s almost nobody pretentious or high-falutin’, just plain neighborhood folks of all ages. Also, it attracts cops from at least six jurisdictions that I’m aware of.
The secret to their fries is twice cooking. As folks have said, they’re fresh cut then dropped into the oil within minutes and lightly browned. Next the basket is lifted out of the oil and hung to cool for a few minutes. Then plunged back into the oil for final browning. This double-fried approach makes a huge difference in the taste and texture.
Using the skin-on Vienna dogs makes a difference too. The skins allow the dogs to be steamed and held for a while without getting water-logged and ballooning up like they would if they’d been boiled.
Gene & Jude’s hours are 11am to 1am on weeknights and till 2am on Fridays and Saturdays. (Although, don’t be ridiculous and walk in at 2 minutes to 2 and expect to get fed.) The person who said they were closed may have gone by during the two weeks in January that they close down every year.
While I was waiting in a long line one day, a typical occurrence, I heard an interesting story about Gene & Jude’s. I don’t know if it’s true, but it sure makes a great story. Apparently, this hot dog stand had been in the city (Chicago) and the original owner lost it in a poker game. The winner, who hadn’t been particularly interested in the hot dog business, moved it to the suburbs and made a ton of money. According to my informant, once the capital equipment is paid off, i.e., the three double fryers, three steam tables, two pop fountains, some industrial refrigerators and a cash register, the rest is just employee costs and profit. He shared that none of the equipment is really terribly expensive and it lasts forever.
The extremely simple menu also keeps the overhead costs down. Even the tamales are there because they can share steam table heat with the dogs and buns.
Anyone know where in Addison they’re going to be setting up their new shop?
I missed that on the list until I was seated and enjoying my food. That will definately be my next pick. I brought a menu home and the boys were making their picks so it looks like the next trip, we’ll have a few more mouths to increase the sampling pool! See ya next time.[:D]
Thanks for the kind words. I am glad you enjoyed the fries. I just don’t understand why so many places go with the frozen fries when the fresh cut taste sooo much better. I would of recommended the Argentine garlic and herb though. By far, the best dipping sauce that we have.
Gus – your fries are pretty darn good. I was up your way yesterday and stopped by your place, Mustard’s Last Stand and Hackney’s on Harms. Quite a Roadfood day! At your place – Wiener and still Champion – I had a Merkt’s Cheddar Dog, 1 Dipping Dog with Garlic Aioli and a Regular Fries and a small drink. Tom was running the ship and everything came out hot and great tasting. Your fries are among the best, anywhere and everytime! I was at Gene & Jude’s just 11 hours earlier so their taste was still with me. At Mustard’s, I had a smaller order as storage space was becoming limited. I had the Jumbo Vienna Dog – Chicago Style, a small fry and a small drink. At $6.54, a little pricey. I was surprised that "Everything" includes Ketchup and more surprised to get a cold dog and poorly steamed bun. On the first bite, the bun broke into pieces making it a difficult process. The fries seemded to be a McDonalds clone and were just fair. Coming on the heals of my Weiner and still Champion visit, a huge letdown.
Caught the REO concert in Rosemont last night and did the Gene & Jude’s thing at 12:15am. S-Th, open til 1am, line was only about 6 ahead, double dog with fries was $2.35. A great deal, an even better tatse!
Gene & Jude’s in Illinois
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