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Gene & Jude's

2720 N. River Rd., River Grove, IL - (708) 452-7634
Posted By Michael Stern on 6/3/2004 9:19:00 AM
We owe a deep debt of gratitude to Glen Stepanovic, who wrote imploring us to visit Gene & Jude's. Somehow, this estimable hot dog stand just a few minutes the OTHER side of O'Hare had eluded our radar. It is hugely popular – Glen said it's the largest purveyor of Vienna hot dogs on earth – but it is a relatively small and extremely modest place. There are no tables or chairs at all; as is Chicago custom, the eatery offers a chest-high counter to which you may bring your meal, unwrap it, and eat standing up. When you're finished, use the wax paper in which the food was served to gather up any scraps and heave them in one of the large garbage cans provided in the corners of the room. We find this arrangement comfortable and eminently practical for eating extremely messy food; however, many customers choose to dine in their cars in the parking lot.

You get a hot dog or a double dog. The natural-casing, all-beef Vienna brand tube steaks are slim and snappy; they are inserted into soft buns and dressed with mustard, onions, piccalilli, or sport peppers as you request. Glen told us that some hot dog historians consider this the "original" Chicago style dog, before the more baroque garnishes of pickle spear, tomato slice, and celery salt.

A fine, fine hot dog … but wait, there's more! Whatever toppings are included, each dog gets heaped with a large fistful of French fries … some of the best French fries in Chicago. Fresh? Forget about it! As you wait for your hot dog to be prepared, you can watch the counter folks peel and cut whole potatoes, then fry them, drain them, and pile them onto waiting dogs. They spend a good long time in the bubbling oil, emerging a dark, dark brown with some pieces crunchy through-and-through, others thick and potato-creamy inside.

It's a great, true-Chicago meal.

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

The hot dog comes wrapped with a pile of french fries. If you look closely, you can see a sport pepper, mustard, relish, and onion nestled in with the oh-so-ready-to-eat frankfurter.
"The hot dog comes wrapped with a pile of french fries. If you look closely, you can see a sport pepper, mustard, relish, and onion nestled in with the oh-so-ready-to-eat frankfurter."
Michael Stern





The traditional street-food eatery in Chicago provides customers with a high counter on which to unwrap the food and eat with little chance of dripping on shirt or pants. This photo was taken at 10:35am, five minutes after Gene & Jude opened. Within twenty minutes, there was no counter space available.
"The traditional street-food eatery in Chicago provides customers with a high counter on which to unwrap the food and eat with little chance of dripping on shirt or pants. This photo was taken at 10:35am, five minutes after Gene & Jude opened. Within twenty minutes, there was no counter space available."
Michael Stern


Here's how you get your Gene & Jude's hot dog at the counter: ready to unwrap.
"Here's how you get your Gene & Jude's hot dog at the counter: ready to unwrap."
Michael Stern


Chicago has so many other street-food wonders, that its magnificent French fries are often overlooked. These are some of the very best. Fifteen minutes before this photo was taken, they were whole potatoes, about to be sliced.
"Chicago has so many other street-food wonders, that its magnificent French fries are often overlooked. These are some of the very best. Fifteen minutes before this photo was taken, they were whole potatoes, about to be sliced."
Michael Stern


Here's a less-is-more menu to stir the soul of all hot dog lovers!
"Here's a less-is-more menu to stir the soul of all hot dog lovers!"
Michael Stern


Gene & Jude has been a player in the Chicago hot  dog scene since 1946.
"Gene & Jude has been a player in the Chicago hot dog scene since 1946."
Michael Stern



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