Forget Sox/Cubs, more Chicago houses have been divided over where to get their Maxwell Street Polishes just off the Roosevelt exit near the Kennedy expressway. The Lazarevski and Stefanovic families know this battle all too well. During the 1950s, Tom Lazarevski stopped working for his uncle Jim Stefanovic's stand, Jim's Original, and opened this late-night dog spot right down on Maxwell street.
These days with the UIC expansion, the two are now next-door neighbors on nearby Union, waging a pitched battle for Chicago’s encased meat-loving masses, bun for bun and penny for penny (the menus and the prices for both places are always the same). Tom's son Alex runs the stand these days, and while his competitor to the near north serves up Vienna sausages, Alex serves up a proprietary blend of encased beef and seasonings that is allegedly patented.
Foodies debate endlessly which of the two late-night stands reigns supreme, but Express Grill is often acknowledged as having crisper, better cooked onions on top of their Polishes, as well as tastier fries. One thing’s for certain, if you want to try a taste challenge for yourself, you’ll be doing it on the hood of or inside your car, because Express grill is a walk-up counter joint with no seating.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Michael Nagrant