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JJ’s Top Dog (new home of Jim’s??)

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As noted elsewhere, Jim’s Hot Dog Stand is no longer with us. It will be interesting to see what the new version is like.

The other day I passed by JJ’s Top Dog on 95th Street just east of the Dan Ryan. I’ve gone by here many times without paying any attention but what caught my eye this time was the big sign reading "New Home of Jim’s Original from Halsted and Maxwell." Naturally I stopped for a Polish.

I’m not sure what the real story with the "New Home of Jim’s" thing is (I suspect it’s a scam) but they do a credible job at reproducing the whole Jim’s experience, right down to the panhandlers. JJ’s is basically a large shack with big grease-fogged windows that open onto huge griddles piled with Polish sausages and mounds of onions. Same menu as Jim’s: Polish, pork chop, hot dog, hamburger, pop. Free fries with all orders, open 24 hours a day. Just stand on the sidewalk and order.

Same squishy white bun, similar sausage (probably not as good as Jim’s), same lousy yellow mustard, same fantastic onions. Even the sport peppers were like Jim’s, a little bigger and tougher than usual, with the stems, wrapped separately in waxed paper. The fries come in a little paper pouch with Brand X ketchup packets and little paper packets of salt. Pretty damn close.

If you’re suffering from Jim’s withdrawal or just never made it there, JJ’s might be just the thing.

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