To commemorate the end of Amy's momentous quest for the best cheese fries in Chicago, we needed an equally epic and ridiculous finale. We couldn't think of anything more foolish than attempting to eat all the fry combinations at Edzo's Burger Shop.
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I'm not sure what is more hilarious: the fact that The Athenian Room has something called a vegetarian salad ($7.00) on its menu, or that the salad in question arrives topped with a whole bunch of thick cut fries. I know this: it shouldn't work.
Perhaps the best thing about these fries is their independent singularity. Rather than being able to rely on an exceptional hot dog to carry them to greatness, Frietkoten's fries have the chops to stand unadorned, front and center.
Backwoods is located in the "back" of Wood, a small plates restaurant on Halsted, and it serves only one thing: Belgian frites. But how do they hold up?
The pale fries themselves evoke straight-from-the-fryer McDonald's: delicately crisp on the outside, pillowy on the inside, and just as addictive. The fries are tossed in togarashi, a Japanese chili pepper blend that usually contains, among other things, red chili pepper, sansho, roasted orange peel, black sesame seed, ground ginger, and nori. Garnished with finely julienned cilantro and served with a curry mayonnaise, these fries do their best to evade establishing any sort of flavor frame of reference.
The first thing you see when you walk into Phil's Last Stand on Chicago Avenue is Phil, or as he likes to refer to himself online, Fat Phil. Like Doug Sohn (Hot Doug's) and Eddie Lakin (Edzo's) before him, Phil always stands guard, taking every order, and making as many jokes as possible. While that obviously ensures a fun and freewheeling vibe, it's main advantage is quality control. Nothing gets by Phil without his approval. That turns out to be a very good thing.
U.B. Dogs opened over the summer, and it's one of the new school hot dog stands that still does things the old way. And damn, does it try hard. Besides the hot dog, polish, and the bread, just about everything is made in house, right down to the condiments.
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.
It was crunchy, creamy, rich, salty: everything a fry should be. Oh, and did I mention that the fries are fried in beef fat?
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.
One of the best burgers in Chicago, easily. That's-A-Burger 2134 E. 71st Street, Chicago IL 60649 (map); 773-878-9898 The Short Order: Perfectly proportioned burgers griddled to order. Want Fries with That? These delicious, highly seasoned fries come with every order....
"Susie's is a veritable wonderland of grease and the only advice I have is to submit." [Photographs: Nick Kindelsperger] Susie's Drive Thru 4126 W. Montrose Avenue, Chicago IL 60641; 773-283-6544 The Short Order: Eclectic diner fare, with incredible milkshakes. Want...
"I'm not a native of the region, so my introduction to the sausage came through Chris Farley's antics on Saturday Night Live." Jim's Original 1250 S. Union Ave, Chicago IL 60607 (map); 312-733-7820 The Short Order: Perfectly grilled polish sausages...