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#1
Posted September 22nd 2006, 10:05am
10 Things about Jimmy’s Place, Forest Park

1. They bake their own bread – good moist rustic Italian, and it makes a huge difference.
2. Fettuccine Alfredo – inedible elsewhere, here the cream is dialed down and Gorgonzola gives it a slightly tangy earthiness; if I must eat Fettuccine Alfredo, let it be here.
3. Limited, focused wine selection – had a bottle of very good Australian last night, 15 bucks, what’s not to like? I don’t know how we started allowing places to charge us eight bucks for a glass of crap, but Jimmy’s has not joined that trend, or any trend as far as I can tell. The most expensive glass of wine is like five bucks a pop; he doesn’t carry a lot and he doesn’t carry high-end, but he gives a good pour, good wine, good price.
4. Braciole, legendary. It’s inconsistent, but I’ve never been disappointed.
5. Jimmy – even if he doesn’t actually recognize me when I walk in, he makes a real effort to simulate recognition as he does with everyone who stops by. It does not seem fake; it seems sincere (maybe he’s just a good actor, but it works).
6. House-made soup. I’m on record for not being a fan of soup, but here the escarole and bean, even the minestrone, is tasty, with each natural flavor popping through, nothing canned about it…plus, as an added bonus, they serve it in little cups so you don’t have to eat a lot.
7. Rapini and beans – paradigmatic simplicity, effortless excellence.
8. Gnocchi – “featherlight” might describe gnocchi elsewhere, but not here, where they’re more like miniature Bohemian dumplings or spaetzle, very chewy, it’s all good.
9. Diversity – I like a place that welcomes family, singles, couples, random derelicts, office parties, singles, dates, across the board. Last night, I saw a lot of young single folks come in and have dinner at the bar, sitting down next to the old guys, chatting it up, nice.
10. Cannoli – I’m not usually a big fan, but when all elements are whipped up in the kitchen…it makes a huge difference.

Jimmy's Place
7411 Madison St
Forest Park
708.771.7476
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#2
Posted September 22nd 2006, 10:13am
David, would you feel bad if I added to the list :?:

If nothing else, you gotta include stirling clear martinis with blue cheese stuffed olives (I ask for several and we call it antipasto)

Jimmy's is a gem.
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#3
Posted September 22nd 2006, 10:16am
Vital Information wrote:David, would you feel bad if I added to the list :?:

If nothing else, you gotta include stirling clear martinis with blue cheese stuffed olives (I ask for several and we call it antipasto)

Jimmy's is a gem.


Last night, it was a very tough choice between a mixed drink and wine, but The Wife wanted wine, so I graciously acquiesced.

I stopped at 10, but there are lots more things to appreciate about Jimmy's, and the highly capable mixology on display is certainly another one of those things.
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#4
Posted September 22nd 2006, 1:42pm
I must second the martini, it always cures whatever is ailing me.
I also really enjoy the house salad, somehow the lettuce is always uber-crispy and the house italian dressing is light and herby. Yeah, you get a symbolic olive and slice of tomato, but the simplicity of crispy lettuce and an excellent dressing is wonderful.
LO
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#5
Posted September 22nd 2006, 2:31pm
LO wrote:I must second the martini, it always cures whatever is ailing me.
I also really enjoy the house salad, somehow the lettuce is always uber-crispy and the house italian dressing is light and herby. Yeah, you get a symbolic olive and slice of tomato, but the simplicity of crispy lettuce and an excellent dressing is wonderful.
LO


I'm with you on the salad too, but I did not want to add any more things to the list :wink:
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#6
Posted September 22nd 2006, 3:26pm
I have a friend who doesn't go out much if at all but when he does it is always Jimmy's. Matter of a fact we are headed there this evening for his birthday with his 'out of state' dad.

He is a fan of the steaks, a good value. I love the sausage with peppers and onions. Mmmm, soak up the juice in the bottom of the bowl with the bread...

The stuffed mushroom appetizers are excellent as well.

Arrrg! The Vodka Sauce...
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#7
Posted September 22nd 2006, 4:09pm
Based on earlier LTH reports, I asked to go to Jimmy's Place for my birthday this past February. I wanted someplace simple, fairly close to home, with decent Italian food. We all had a great time, thanks to a top-notch waitress, quaffable wine and spirits, a convivial atmosphere and excellent food for the price. It reminded me of some of the places on 24th and Oakley circa mid-1970's and the old Slicker Sam's in Melrose Park.
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#8
Posted September 26th 2006, 8:51am
in a nutshell..Jimmy's rocks..the atmosphere can be quite chaotic but its worth..the braciole is my favorite
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#9
Posted January 16th 2009, 6:15pm
Also now in Phoenix, AZ

The story includes an interesting comment by someone who identifies himself as Jimmy Moccio
jimmy moccio says:

This is the former chef at jimmys place in forest park. I didn't quit I was fired ! The owner couldn't stand the fact that the BBQ restaurant SMOKIN M'S (7507 roosevelt rd. in forest park) was doing so well and getting so much publicity (the hungry hound,chicago tribune,etc.) Anyway, neither restaurant has all the correct recipes,as your as your taste buds will soon find out.
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#10
Posted January 26th 2009, 10:45am
Not sure if I would have noticed if it were not for the aforementioned maybe news, but last night the bread did appear be off. Everything else seemed more or less business as usual. Mentioned the new restaurant to the server, and she didn't let on about any controversy. She did, however, ask if I had read about it on the internet.

:wink:
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#11
Posted August 19th 2011, 10:29pm
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#12
Posted August 19th 2011, 10:50pm

Extra sausage, extra crispy. :) That's a pretty good pie.

In the area? Gepetto's Monster.
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#13
Posted August 20th 2011, 7:10am
I miss living close to Jimmy's. It's hard to find a good Italian place that puts so much effort into their business. I also will verify that Jimmy is a really good guy and is very generous to area programs.
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#14
Posted August 30th 2011, 10:22pm
Jimmy's Place to be featured on Sandwich King Sept. 18 (Chicken Vesuvio Sandwich)

http://www.rblandmark.com/main.asp?SectionID=1&SubSectionID=1&ArticleID=7947&TM=83903.47
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#15
Posted August 31st 2011, 1:50pm
Yes indeed, I did film at Jimmy's and IMHO, they have the best thing crust sausage pizza. However great the pizza is, we focused on the Vesuvio. Crispy, dry-herb laden skin. Oily, garlicky, lemony...my main inspiration for the vesuvio sandwich I make on that particular episode. My family has religiously supported Jimmy's since day one and it was a honor to showcase a great, family-run neighborhood restaurant.

Also, I said this in another thread but I will reiterate: LTH is the single most visited website on my laptop, and has been for many years. Although my posts are infrequent, I am an obsessive lurker. That being said, to have the support of the LTH'ers as I attempt to woo the nation with my new show, would mean the world to me. My goal from day one was to represent Chicago on the Food Network. Since the Hardy Boys, our city has not had much air time on FN, aside from travel shows showcasing Al's, Gino's and Weiner Circle for the 3-dozenth time. God willing, they give me a second season. AT that point I need enough locations for a 13 episode run. When that time comes, LTH will be my first stop for research and ideas (other than my chubby brain).

The show is a somewhat unique and refreshingly irreverent take (at least for FN) on food and sandwiches and what I believe, a fine representation of everything this city stands for. Give it a shot if you can, it's on on Sunday mornings just in time for lunch.

Go Team!

Jeff Mauro
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#16
Posted August 31st 2011, 5:09pm
Jeff. I know it is only sort of a sandwich, but if you want to continue the Chicago theme then take them to Gene and Jude's or take them to Manny's.
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#17
Posted September 1st 2011, 7:42am
Jeff - I, like you am a big lurker here, and was excited to see the article about you in my local paper - it's so great to see you post! I liked you best on Food Network Star and have watched one episode of your show so far (Gyros and Steak Sandwiches). I love that you're visiting Chicago places as the inspiration for your sandwiches! Best of all, your sandwiches looked DELICIOUS!

You have a terrific sense of humor and are a talented interviewer as well! I hope that the LTH community takes a peak at your show, I definitely will continue to watch and wish you the best! I know that there are a couple of threads going about your show, but your visit to Butcher & Larder during the episode I watched is proof of your use of another LTH favorite!

Congratulations!!
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#18
Posted September 16th 2011, 12:05pm
If you're nearby and can hurry over for lunch there's a groupon but it's only good till 3:00 today. $10 groupon for $5.
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#19
Posted December 23rd 2011, 4:32pm
Based on this thread, I took a group of four to Jimmy's Place last night, mainly because the first three places we tried (based on recommendations of the folks who lived a few blocks away) all had hour-plus waits.

The results - some of the food was very good, at least one main course was almost inedible, and overall, it appears that Jimmy's Place is somewhere that you simply have to know the menu well to avoid dining disaster. And it is loud!!!

First, the highlights. The minestrone struck me as extremely good, with the flavor of long simmered vegetables, and a deep rich broth that conveyed the kind of minestrone that started on the stove sometime in 1999, and has been simmering ever since. And a dish of linguini, with peppers (red and green, no yellow to be found despite the menu description) olives and artichoke hearts had a nice garlic flavor, with a hint of hot peppers - this was really good. Also a special, tilapia vesuvio was quite good, with clean olive oil and lemon flavors, nice fresh fish, and really tasty potatoes to soak up the cooking oils. It could have used a bit more garlic and spice for my palate, but I would certainly order it if I return.

Another nightly special, the spinach ravioli, seemed pedestrian. The spinach filling of the ravioli seemed fresh made, and the ricotta cheese gave it a robust texture, but again, I thought was a bit underseasoned. The pasta was a bit heavier (thicker) than I like, but that is a matter of personal taste, and the red sauce was very good, old fashioned Italian gravy. I expect the leftovers will be better than the dish was at the restaurant.

Now the disaster - another nightly special: pasta with asparagus and peppers, should have been pretty good - but was just horrible. Start with the asparagus, which was both woody and overcooked. I couldn't tell if the asparagus was pre-frozen or fresh, and if you cannot get fresh, you have no business making it a special of the night. I fault the restaurant for serving this up at all, no less as an evening's special!

The sauce, which also appeared to be a classic olive oil and wine combination, was profoundly dull, with not a hint of the expected garlic or herbs that would make the dish palatable. I cannot figure out how the dressing of the linguini with peppers, olives and artichokes was so well seasoned,while the asparagus and peppers sauce, a variation on the theme, was utterly without flavor. And there was hardly enough of the peppers for three bites. The dish was a mound of pasta, some olive oil and poor quality asparagus - it just didn't work at all.

The house was full, and service was efficient - so I have to conclude that we were the victim of a kitchen disaster. I really have a dilemma - does Jimmy's Place deserve another chance, or do I try any of the other Italian places that line Madison in Oak Park? Here's where I fall out - three of four diners ordered specials, one was good, one average, and one was simply terrible. I cannot find a good reason to reward this performance with return business.

Caveat emptor.
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#20
Posted December 23rd 2011, 5:59pm
It's really stupid for Jimmy's to be serving asparagus in December.

An educated diner should also know better than to order asparagus in December.
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#21
Posted December 23rd 2011, 7:15pm
gleam wrote:It's really stupid for Jimmy's to be serving asparagus in December.

An educated diner should also know better than to order asparagus in December.


I have to disagree. I buy fresh asparagus at the grocery, and it is just fine in both stir fry dishes and steamed. All I ask is that a restaurant that puts asparagus into a special takes at least as much effort as I do.
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#22
Posted February 21st 2012, 3:27pm
My wife and I finally got over to Jimmy's on Friday night to use a groupon she had picked up a while back. Being that I'm extremely lactose intollerant it really limited what I could choose from here.

We waited at the bar for about 10 minutes for a table. My wife got a martini with stuffed olives that she said was one of the best maritinis she's had in a while.

Once seated we were looking at the menu and sampling the bread. The bread was overly crusty/stale to me. Not just the outside pieces but the whole loaf just seemed like it was sitting out all day or something.

We ordered calamari and a half dozen clams to start. The calamari I assume was frozen from a bag as it was not very good quality at all. It's what I would expect if I ordered calamari at a fast food joint, not at an Italian restaurant.

I was also taken back by the size of the clams. When we get clams from Salerno's or any number of other pizza joints we've ordered them from over the years they've always been your standard, full size clams. These mini, quarter sized clams for $13 a dozen are a total rip-off imo. If I tasted one and it just blew me away I might hold another opinion. But, these were at the lower end of clams I've ever tasted. So, they're tiny and nothing extrordinary so I just don't see why people would ever order these here at that price.

The salad was good for the most part. I did like their house dressing, though it wasn't anything I'd go out of my way to go have.

For the main course I had to ask about a couple of the entrees due to my lactose intolerance. I settled on the salmon. I told our server that if the chef uses butter on it to do so very very sparingly and told her (again) that I'm lactose intollerant.

After waiting quite a long time for our entrees the server apologized for the wait as she put our plates down in front of us. I took one bite of my salmon and instantly knew that the puddle it was sitting in on the plate was mostly butter. I had my wife try it to confirm and she swapped her chicken marsala with me since I couldn't eat the fish. The chicken marsala was okay. The noodles were cooked right but the "sauce" was basically just a watery mess underneath the noodles. Isn't the sauce supposed to stick to the noodles? I know how I'd make it do that at home so why can't their chef apply such a simple technique?

We each ate a few bites of our meals as we had filled up on stale bread while waiting for each course to come out.

I didn't bother to complain about my meal as the place was packed the entire time we were there and it took almost 2 hours before our entrees were put in front of us. I wasn't about to wait to have them do it again at that point. So, we had them wrap up our meals to take home. (Both ended up in the garbage yesterday without being touched again.)

Overall I was extremely dissapointed. I was more dissapointed that I actually recommended this place to a couple of coworkers who live in the area based on reviews I had read on here. (Nothing against the forum or posters in this thread, I realize most of those posts are over 5 years old.)

I just don't understand how they are packing that place. Granted it was like a chuck-e-cheeses in there with little kids at half the tables at least. So, maybe it's just that it's a kid-friendly environment that draws people there. But, I really don't see how this place is doing the kind of business they are doing with such lackluster, run of the mill food at best.

As far as messing up the lactose issue, I understand the server was busy but food allergies should be a BIG red flag for any server. The fact that my request was either forgotten or ignored really made me angry.

As far as complaining to the staff or management about it; My wife just wanted to leave as dinner took far longer than either of us had anticipated. Also, I see no point telling them their faults when I have absolutely no intention of going back there.

The staff like everyone says is extremely friendly. They're good at clearing plates and glases off the table promptly. The bite of salmon I had was decent and the broccoli that accompanied it was also good. If I could have actually eaten it I might have a slightly different opinion. Though, it would have to have really blown me away to make me ever want to go back.
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#23
Posted June 4th 2012, 8:58am
I have lived in the OP/FP area for 14 years and eaten a Jimmy's many times, but never had their pizza...

....until last night.

Wow. New favorite local thin crust place, easily. How on earth did it take me this long!? So much wasted time and bad thin crust pizza.
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#24
Posted June 4th 2012, 10:47am
Been my favorite sausage thin crust for 12 years now. More people need to know this.

j
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