The Original Maxwell Street South
Oh, how I love late night food. J, L, and I had to make another trip to Chicago so I could go to a baseball game. This one was planned unlike the last one. Every year, my dad, brother, and best friend from grade school pick a game, pick up wings, tailgate, and watch some baseball on the South Side.
Normally, we’d go home on Friday when J got off work, but it also happened to be L’s graduation from preschool…well, the first of three. We put her in preschool pretty early and she actually has two more years, but her school held a ceremony for all of the classes, so we went to that first.
We didn’t leave Kalamazoo until 8:30 Eastern which put us in Chicago around 10 Central. It was almost straight to bed for L and J when they got back to NaNa’s house, but I was really hungry. I typically eat dinner around 11:00 due to my work schedule and lack of a dinner break most nights, so it was about the time I usually eat anyway.
A few trips home ago, I ran down to The Original Hog Wild BBQ to pick up dinner for everyone. I drove down Pulaski Road which is something I’ve never really done before. Along the way, I took mental notes of restaurants and got really excited when I drove by a branch of one of my favorite Chicagoland chains.
The Original Maxwell Street South is hard to miss on the corner of 135th and South Pulaski Road in the Village of Crestwood. There’s a large yellow building with advertisements all over it. If that wasn’t hard enough to miss, there’s always this…
Yup, that’s bright.
The small hot dog stand is strictly a carry-out joint but the good news is that it’s open 24 hours. There is a picnic table or two in front of the walk-up window plus there’s a drive thru if you really don’t want to get out of the car.
I’ve already blogged about Maxwell Street many times and if you’re interested in the history of the place, check out their Wikipedia page or just Google it…there are many sites dedicated to the rivalry between Maxwell Street and Jim’s Original.
The Polish sounded good…so did the pork chop sandwich, but c’mon…you know I’m going to order an Italian beef, dipped, and with hot peppers. The great thing about all of the Original Maxwell Street restaurants is that sandwiches come with free fries. That means I got a sandwich and fries for about $6.50.
It took about five minutes for everything to get wrapped up tightly and stuffed into a white paper bag. It was after 11:00, so I wasn’t going to sit outside by myself, so I took it all back to my in-laws where I could enjoy it with a delicious, ice cold…..Pepsi.
I started with the fries because they were packed on top of the sandwich. They were super greasy…which I like…but they were way, way undercooked. I would even argue they were just dipped in to cold grease because they really were not cooked at all. I still ate them.
After pushing through the cold yet greasy fries, I reached in the bag and pulled out sandwich. As always, I asked for the sandwich dipped and I watched the cook dip it three times in the gravy just to give that really good soggy bun that makes an Italian beef so dang good.
The sandwich fell apart almost as soon as I picked it up. I did my best to keep it all together, but it was no use. The bun had soaked up so much deliciousness that it didn’t stand a chance. I actually ended up using a fork to help myself hold on to the sandwich and get it to my mouth. I know this all sounds terrible if you’ve never had the extreme pleasure of eating an Italian beef, but what I’m describing is actually the pinnacle of deliciousness.
It’s too bad the fries were so terrible because the sandwich was good. Maxwell Street South and all of the Maxwell Street locations have two really great things going for them. They’re open 24 and they’re pretty darn cheap….oh yeah, and the food is usually amazing. Maxwell Street is the epitome of Chicago food. There’s so much more to Chicago than hot dogs and pizza (and they do both).