Where do Ben's tips and links fall in the Chicago barbecue pantheon? That depends. Do you like the finer chopped style of Honey 1 but prefer instead to seek out the next big thing? This might be your place.
West Side, North Side
One of my favorite places to get fried chicken in Chicago is MacArthur's, the famous soul food restaurant on the West side. I go for the chicken, but also for the sides, the desserts, the line, and the experience. It's a place that's the de facto community center of its neighborhood.
Moon's corned beef is by now legendary- but how would some of the lesser known menu choices hold up? There's only one way to find out.
Ladies and gentlemen, please allow me to introduce the Gym Shoe, a heretofore unrecognized player in the Chicago sandwich scene. Part Italian beef, part gyro, with slices of corned beef folded in just for the hell of it, it's a mess of a sandwich that can be mystifyingly delicious, if done properly.
The short history of Felony Franks has everything you'd ever want in a gripping news story: politics, race, class, and hot dogs (or is that just me?). It all started back in 2009 when Jim Andrews opened a stand on the West Side and advertised the fact that he was employing only ex-convicts. what's been completely missing from the discussion of Felony Franks has been any examination of the food. And after two visits, I realized why.
As you can tell, Al's Under the "L" Hot Dogs & Polish isn't literally underneath the L, but the whole building does shake when the train rolls by, and that's good enough for me. Featuring a menu of Chicago classics, including minimalist-style hot dogs and Polish sausages loaded with caramelized onions, Al's feels like the kind of place that's been around for years.
Mr. D's in the far northwestern neighborhood of Montclare excels at items that most stands don't even attempt—steak sandwiches and grilled shish kabobs. Plus, they have some of the best fries around.
Housemade capicola and mozzarella are joined by imported Genoa salami, hot sopressata, proscuitto, and spicy giardiniera, and the whole lot is piled to the sky between a dense Italian roll.
[Photographs: Nick Kindelsperger] Uncle Remus Chicken & Barbecue 4144 West Madison Street, Chicago IL 60624 (map); 773-265-8441 The Short Order: Extra-crunchy fried chicken cooked to order. Want Fries with That? Come with every order, but they are BAD. Want...
"Alderman Bob Fioretti said Friday his Second Ward on the city's West Side has major crime problems, so he thinks the stand's name, Felony Franks, is simply not in good taste." [AP]...
"Felony Franks--'Home of the misdemeanor wiener,' as one of its slogans says, and 'Food so good it's criminal'--is a project of Jim Andrews, who started hiring formerly incarcerated people at his West Loop-based paper wholesaling firm after employees who didn't...