Mr. J’s Hot Dogs & Gyros – Streator, IL
One of the biggest things I can do in my line of work is make friends. When it comes to finding work, it’s usually who you know. Lucky for me, one of my buddies back in Illinois is having a hard time finding guys to work during the week, so when he can’t find anyone else, he calls me.
I headed to Streator, Illinois to shoot a high school baseball game for the local cable company. It’s not a huge paying job, but work is work and it’s with guys that I genuinely like working with. Since it didn’t pay my normal rate, I didn’t want to spend money on a hotel, so I decided to make the four hour trip (one way) shoot the game then drive back to Kalamazoo.
When lunch time rolled around, I was hungry. It had already been a long day for me and the game was still three hours away. I bolted from the school and went looking for someplace to eat.
As I was turning around to head back towards a place I saw on the way in, I found a little hot dog stand on the corner of Bridge and Park Streets. It wasn’t much, but it’s definitely in the style of hot dog/gyro places that populate towns all over the state.
It seemed to be a pretty popular place. There were quite a few cars in the parking lot and a line once I got inside. There are only a handful of tables inside.
The menu is huge which is also pretty common for this type of place. I scanned the large menu boards above the order counter until I came across an Italian beef. I put in an order for that sandwich as well as an order of fries and a large Pepsi. It cost me a little over eight bucks and I took a seat in one of the booths until my order was ready.
It was a fairly nice day, so I asked for my order to go so I could sit outside at one of the picnic tables which double as a “smoking section.” I didn’t realize that part of it until two workers came out and sat down next to me. The tables are around the corner so they meet Illinois’ fifteen feet from a door requirement.
The beef was a pretty good size with the mozzarella underneath the beef which made it nice and melty. I passed on hot peppers this time because I was so tired. I know that doesn’t make sense, but my brain wasn’t totally working. The individual slices of the beef were cut a little too thick for me. It was good, but not very tender which made eating it kind of a ripping motion.
The fries were crinkle cuts that had been pretty heavily salted..they way I like those kind of fries. The whole meal went a long way towards my hunger, but I was really hungry. Two of the guys I worked with showed up about ten minutes after I did, so I sat with them as they ate their hamburgers and really thought about buying more to eat.
Mr. J’s is one of those places that is just typical to Illinois. It’s not great, yet it’s something that you want to eat. It’s the kind of places I’ve missed since moving to Michigan. Not my favorite Italian beef. Heck, it wasn’t even a very good Italian beef yet I wanted to keep eating it and even order another one.