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{MSP} Chris and Rob's Coming to West 7th...

Uncle Ira Mar 1, 2008 04:33 PM

I just saw that Chris and Rob’s is opening a location on West 7th in Saint Paul. Just a block or two off of St. Clair... That old, squat little building that was a pizza place for years.

I’ve never been, but I know they had a good reputation when it was Joey D’s... Just wondering what people think of them now and what I should, (or shouldn’t...), be looking forward to. It’s really just a few blocks from me, and it’s always nice to have some new choices in the neighborhood.

Uncle Ira

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  1. d
    dinendash RE: Uncle Ira Mar 2, 2008 07:12 AM

    Is it opening in the Villa Roma dining car? Sounds like a great addition to 7th st.

    5 Replies
    1. re: dinendash
      zfwp RE: dinendash Mar 2, 2008 12:08 PM

      yes. Villa Roma stationary dining car.

      1. re: dinendash
        Uncle Ira RE: dinendash Mar 2, 2008 12:52 PM

        That’s right... Villa Roma. I was drawing a complete blank on that name. Thank you.

        I agree it should be a really nice place to have in the neighborhood. Have you been to the one in Mpls? Are the dogs and Italian beef sandwiches as good as I’m hoping they’ll be? And I see from their website they have pizza too... It’s be great to have a new place nearby to stop for a slice...

        Uncle Ira

        1. re: Uncle Ira
          Uisge RE: Uncle Ira Mar 3, 2008 07:44 AM

          Yay! I just noticed that Villa Roma had closed and now I hear it won't be vacant long. Sounds like this place could be a good fit. And another place to grab a slice will always be welcome.
          Any news on when they'll open?

          1. re: Uisge
            Uncle Ira RE: Uisge Mar 3, 2008 02:36 PM

            Sign on the building just says “Coming Soon”, and I don’t see any mention of it on their web site.

            Hope it’s not too long of a wait....

            Uncle Ira

          2. re: Uncle Ira
            bigchow RE: Uncle Ira Mar 3, 2008 10:42 AM

            They are solid, not earth shattering, but solid. The italian beef is really good.

        2. h
          Haricotsv2 RE: Uncle Ira Mar 2, 2008 10:53 AM

          What kind of food do they have?

          1 Reply
          1. re: Haricotsv2
            Uncle Ira RE: Haricotsv2 Mar 2, 2008 12:55 PM

            Chicago style hot dogs and the like.... Italian beef, pizza, etc....

            Here's a link to their menu:


          2. r
            russban RE: Uncle Ira Mar 3, 2008 09:53 AM

            I have been going for years since they were Joey D's down on 42nd in Minneapolis. Living in Coon Rapids it was a bit of a trek but when I got a craving I just had to go! Now that they are in Fridley, I go too often, which shows on my waistline. I lived just north of Chicago about 20 odd years ago and grew to love Chicago dogs (they have a Vienna Beef hot dog place in EVERY town, no matter how small), and when I moved back here it was hard for me to live without them. I love Chris and Rob's because the food is exactly like I had in Chicago. Their hot dogs, polish, italian sausage, and italian beef sandwiches are wonderful, and full of flavor. My kids love their pizza, I do too, but I always order the hot dogs or polish and only have what I can steal from them.

            If you are unfamiliar with a Chicago dog it has a really good old fashioned hot dog with mustard, a relish so bright green some people call it an "atomic" relish, onions, sliced tomatoes, kosher pickle, sport peppers and celery salt. Notice ketchup is absent, I don't know if it's like that at Chris & Rob's but in Chicago if you ask for ketchup on a Chicago dog they refuse and often make rude comments to you! As you can tell I heartily (not heart healthily though!) recommend them.

            17 Replies
            1. re: russban
              sullysully RE: russban Mar 3, 2008 12:16 PM

              I wish they had a grill so I could get a good authentic Chicago char-dog or char-polish.

              1. re: sullysully
                Jordan RE: sullysully Mar 3, 2008 12:59 PM

                Ditto. Chris & Rob's is fine for a basic Chicago dog, but why don't any of the Chicago dog places in town do a char-dog?

                1. re: Jordan
                  russban RE: Jordan Mar 3, 2008 03:28 PM

                  Yeah, one thing I do miss is the char dogs. It was always a site to walk into one of the Vienna Beef places and see the flames rising about 2 feet from the grill! What other places in town do Chicago dogs?

                  1. re: russban
                    FireRev RE: russban Mar 3, 2008 07:02 PM

                    Well, that other place would be Uncle Franky's. The original location is in Nordeast. Their newer addition is in Plymouth. I actually prefer Franky's Italian Beef, over Chris & Rob's.


                    There's another place in St. Paul on University. It's called A Slice of Chicago. I only went once...and it was nasty! Very dirty. And slow. And bad food. I will not be linking there.

                    Uncle Franky's
                    728 Broadway St NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413

                    1. re: FireRev
                      The Dairy Queen RE: FireRev Mar 4, 2008 02:50 AM

                      Isn't there an Uncle Franky's in the skyway entrance to the Victory Ramp in Downtown St. Paul, too? Or am I think of something else?


                      1. re: The Dairy Queen
                        Uncle Ira RE: The Dairy Queen Mar 5, 2008 07:09 AM

                        TDQ.... Uncle Franky’s web site doesn’t mention anything about a downtown St. Paul location. But you have me very intrigued now. I’d love to know about the place you’re thinking of........

                        Uncle Ira

                        1. re: Uncle Ira
                          The Dairy Queen RE: Uncle Ira Mar 5, 2008 07:42 AM

                          Sorry--I'm coming up empty here. If you're parking in the Victory Ramp and you walk down to the ground floor to exit, as if you were going to Matty B's, you'll encounter a little hot dog place on the ground floor. Just a window, but I'm pretty sure they claim to serve Chicago style dogs, 100% Vienna Beef, etc., but I've never tried one because they've always been closed when I've walked past. Last time was in January. I thought the name of the place was Uncle Something... or maybe just a man's name. I'm sorry, I can't really remember now. I made a mental note of it at the time knowing one of these threads would come up again but, I guess I can't read my mental handwriting because I'm drawing a complete blank.


                          1. re: The Dairy Queen
                            shaft71 RE: The Dairy Queen Mar 6, 2008 06:21 PM

                            I believe the place in the Victory ramp was called Duff's Chicago Eatery although it changed hands awhile back and the name may have changed. I also believe it closed a few months ago as the new owner had a tough go of it. I remember reading a review in which the new owner was seen behind the counter eating a Subway sandwich which didn't bode well for the quality of the food.

                      2. re: FireRev
                        Uncle Ira RE: FireRev Mar 5, 2008 07:01 AM

                        FireRev--- I went to that place on University Ave in Midway. Once. I took a look around, waited in vain for someone to take an order, gave up after a minute or two and left. Just didn’t have a good vibe.

                        And is it just me, or would you expect a place calling itself “Slice of Chicago” to have, well, SLICES......? There was no pizza on the menu, at least not when I went there. (Which, it must be said, was quite a while back....)

                        Uncle Ira

                        1. re: Uncle Ira
                          FireRev RE: Uncle Ira Mar 6, 2008 11:25 AM

                          I never thought to look for slices of pizza. In Chicago, pizza is not usually sold by the slice, so it didn't occur to me.

                          I wanted to like the place. When I went, all the employees and customers were African-American. I somehow got the impression that the owner(s) was, too. And I try to support minority owned small businesses. But when I can get a fantastic banh mi down the street, I'm not gonna subject myself to another nasty Italian beef!

                        2. re: FireRev
                          autmommy RE: FireRev Mar 6, 2008 09:19 AM

                          Ditto on a Slice of Chicago - was taken there by my BF on the advice of his co-workers a "a place to get a really good Italian beef sandwich" I'm not sure what his co-workers were smoking, but it was Nasty! (yes with a capital N.) We tried to order the italian beef, but couldn't as they were out of - get this...Bread! We went through 2 or 3 other choices, before we were able to order something they had (should've just walked out at that point, but my bf only had a half hour lunch break to start with). In the meantime, the presumed owner of the place sat there looking shady, then some woman came in and they started making out right there at the counter - eeewwww! Then the food came and was really bad. So yeah - DONT GO THERE, EVER. I am not even sure how they stay in business - unless the restaurant is a front for some other unsavory type of business, which really wouldn't surprise me.

                        3. re: russban
                          MSPD RE: russban Mar 3, 2008 07:38 PM

                          A few years ago when I worked in downtown and was much fatter, I used to hit up a tiny place called the Walkin' Dog that did an outstanding Chicago dog (as well as great malts). I would go a couple times a week for a while. They're still there, tucked away in a tiny corner of the Northstar Center. www.walkindog.com

                          Take note of the specialty hot dog names..."The 'I Hate My Coworkers Dog'", the "Soon To Be In Your Lap Dog" and a couple others...classic stuff.

                          The Wienery in Cedar/Riverside used to be another go-to place for Chicago dogs. The place has changed hands (maybe more than once) and after a way-downhill visit and another that didn't redeem it much, I haven't been in there for a few months. It looks like more of a hangout for out-of-work bike messengers that are too broke to eat at the Hard Times across the street (a vibe they could very well be going for).

                          Papa T's in Burnsville is an option if you're down here, but it's nothing to write home about.

                          Funny thing is, I was craving a hot dog on my way home tonight. Not so funny thing is, I didn't think of these places until now (after I've eaten a fibery thing and drank a soy-fillled something else). I think I was more mentally sharp when I was fatter.

                          1. re: MSPD
                            snoboardbabe77 RE: MSPD Mar 4, 2008 08:49 AM

                            Off 94 and Ruth Street, there is a place called Philly Dawgz in the Sunray Shopping Mall in St. Paul - next to Bally's and Cub. I have not been there so I can't say good or bad...but another possible spot.

                            1. re: snoboardbabe77
                              steve_in_stpaul RE: snoboardbabe77 Mar 9, 2008 04:40 PM

                              Philly Dawgz is a small local chain. There's the one at Sunray, one in the Unique Thrift Store in New Hope, and a few others in other states. The times I've been there the food has been fresh and decent, but ambience is about zero. I'd much rather go to Joey D's.

                              1. re: snoboardbabe77
                                jenniegirl RE: snoboardbabe77 Apr 28, 2008 03:29 PM

                                I tried my first Chicago Hot Dog there-probably should have had one in Chicago-huh? Not bad. Not great, but a good place for a bite when you're at the thift store...

                            2. re: russban
                              Serenity_MN RE: russban Mar 8, 2008 02:54 PM

                              It's not actually "in town" but if you are ever out and about south of the metro area, Tiny's in Northfield (on the main drag - Division St) has a great Chicago dog. One of my best friends grew up in Chicago and everytime he is in MN he makes a trip to Tiny's and swears they are the best.

                          2. re: sullysully
                            zfwp RE: sullysully Mar 6, 2008 02:20 PM

                            yeah the lack of a grill has made chardogs impossible. they innovated by deep frying their maxwell street polish. they just dump the polish and some onions in the basket and fry! i like it, but i still miss the grilled maxwells.

                        4. s
                          soupkitten RE: Uncle Ira Apr 27, 2008 04:11 PM

                          sorry if everyone knows this already but the chris & rob's on 7th street was open for business today when i drove by, with happy-looking customers inside. :)

                          someone should visit and report on if the menu is different in any way. . .

                          1. Uisge RE: Uncle Ira May 12, 2008 09:44 AM

                            Chris and Rob's now makes Laundry Day a Fun Day.

                            Yesterday while the whites whirled, I skipped across the street to the newly opened Chris and Rob's. They had the big garage door open and the lovely May weather poured right in. I knew I wanted an italian beef (dipped - with sweet peppers, thank you). I also ordered fried cheese curds (for my friend who had never tried them) and a root beer. My friend got the california burger and cheese fries and a soda.

                            Okay - It wasn't like being transported to Chicago, but it was some pretty tasty chow. The beef was a little thin, but was well dipped and dripping through the bread. The cheese curds were fresh and tasty. The Cali burger came with two patties, lettuce, onion and tomato. The cheese fries were very tasty, pretty much what I'm looking for in cheese fries. Soda came in cans. We spent a fair amount of time perusing the menu and debating what we'll be getting next time. Then back across the street to move the unmentionables to the dryer.

                            They've got wine and beer available so I'll be back for a relaxed drink sometime. And they do not currently take credit. Which means I need to stash a twenty somewhere in the house so I'll be prepared when future cravings hit and I want delivery.

                            I've driven past several times and they always seem to have a few faces in the windows that face the street. Seems like they are doing well. Yay!

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Uisge
                              mnxd9 RE: Uisge Jun 15, 2008 02:36 PM

                              Just like to thank you chowhounds for point me out to this treasure of a restaurant, I tried it for the first time about a 2 weeks ago, having never had a chicago style dog before, man I'm in love, not sure I was going to like all the stuff on there, but I wouldn't have it any other way now. I think I've eaten there just about ever other day since, talking the place up at work I met a couple co-workers there after work one day and we got some dogs, couple days later we were putting in a 25 chicago style hot dog order in, probably done them a good $200 in business in the last couple weeks lol, it really helps they deliver to my work, luckily I called in early enough to get a big order in they open at 11, I called at 10:45, they suggested I call much sooner like 10 or so next time, who knows, a lot of place don't answer the phone til they open.

                              A little bummed that currently they don't have tomatoes... Come on, it's not like you can't get some locally grown tomatoes or something, not quite the same... I may have to wait til they have tomatoes again...

                              Tried the beef, left feeling a lot of dissapointment, maybe I should've gotten a cheesy beef one or something the plain one was rather plain and bland...

                              1. re: mnxd9
                                bigchow RE: mnxd9 Jun 18, 2008 12:16 PM

                                You can always ask for your italian beef to be dipped, otherwise I find the plain to be a little bland.

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