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#1
Posted July 14th 2005, 9:38am
LTH,

Jack's is a large scale coffee shop/restaurant with Jewish, as opposed to Greek, sensibilities. It's the type of place where 50-year-old waitresses call 70-year-old men Dolly and serve the regulars their favorite soup without asking. Jack's did a brisk late night trade, especially in the magical fall asleep in your soup, load up on french fries, eggs, burger and chili twilight of after bar time, but now close at Midnight, slightly later on the weekends. Seems 3am drunks like to smoke cigarettes and, since Skokie banned smoking, went elsewhere.

Me, I don't go for the soup, daily specials or even to be called Dolly, I go for the bacon. Yep bacon, thick cut slab bacon, crisp, slightly chewy, flavorful, perfect for dunking in easy-over eggs or on BLT's, which I had yesterday for lunch. Jack's BLT is a great sandwich, not for the sandwich itself, though the tomato was surprisingly good yesterday, but as a vehicle for thick cut bacon.

I'm also quite partial to Jack's Chef Salad Bowl. I ask for the salad to be chopped and that they add, of course, an order of roughly chopped slab bacon. The thick, crisp, mildly salty, fatty/meaty bacon adds a dimension to the salad that is without equal, elevating a simple diner chef's salad to Olympian heights

If you really want to live dangerously, cholesterol wise, order a BLT Club, a three tiered beauty including french fries, ask for crisp, that will sate your bacon craving for a week. Jack's has daily specials, breakfast anytime, my favorite's over easy, with toasted bialy and, of course, slab bacon, and is a clean, friendly efficient place. Tables, booths and counter seating available.

Enjoy,
Gary

Jack's Restaurant
5201 W Touhy Ave
Skokie, IL
847-674-5532
2 Blocks West of the Edens
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#2
Posted July 14th 2005, 4:48pm
HI,

About a year ago, Erik M and I followed your breadcrumb trail to Jack's.

I had the BLT with the Bacon Slab. I don't know if it was Erik M or one of your posts which alerted me: you must ask for the "Slab" or extra thick bacon otherwise you get bacon of more conventional proportions. It was Erik M's opinion the slab bacon was deep fat fried. I'm uncertain though it did have a uniformly crunchier crust than normal bacon, which I attributed to its thickness. Maybe I ordered the Club BLT, what I do recall was not being able to finish it all and taking it home.

Jack's hours are 6 AM to 1 AM, so it can be an early breakfast or a late night snack.

Thanks for highlighting this place once again.

Regards,
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"You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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#3
Posted July 14th 2005, 5:02pm
G Wiv wrote:LTH,

Jack's is a large scale coffee shop/restaurant with Jewish, as opposed to Greek, sensibilities.


I just find it hilarious that this is the first line of your post and you then go on to talk about the bacon. It's not that I disagree with your assesment. I just find if funny.
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#4
Posted July 15th 2005, 2:08am
I found the first line not so much funny as I did perfectly descriptive. Greek and Jewish based coffee shops each have their own distinctive markers. Bacon at the Jewish-oriented establishments never raises an eyebrow, as long as you understand that it must be ordered crisp. Well-done helps take away any trace of traif. Additionally, since the word "pork" never appears as part of the term "bacon," it may be eaten without guilt. Pork roast, pork loin, and pork chops, however, are problematic. Ham goes either way--if it's on rye, not to worry. If it's on white with Miracle Whip, you've given yourself a problem.
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#5
Posted July 15th 2005, 3:10am
Olde School wrote:Pork roast, pork loin, and pork chops, however, are problematic.

Sweet-and-sour pork is OK, though I grant you that sweet-and-sour shrimp is even more acceptable.
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#6
Posted July 15th 2005, 5:09am
Sweet and sour pork is not okay, since you would get virtually the same taste by ordering the shrimp, so why get in trouble over nothing? Bist meshugeneh mi di chazzerai es iz a shandeh far di kinder. If you're in a Chinese restaurant and you must have the food that dare not speak its name, order the combination fried rice. The dish contains pork, but the name doesn't. Some scholars, however, disagree.
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#7
Posted July 15th 2005, 7:47am
midas wrote:I just find it hilarious that this is the first line of your post and you then go on to talk about the bacon. It's not that I disagree with your assesment. I just find if funny.

Midas,

I found it slightly ironic as I wrote it, but agree completely with Olde School on the "perfectly descriptive" part. I grew up in a Jewish household much as Olde School describes, no pork chops, but sliced ham, combo fried rice and bacon were regular occurrences.

One of the funnier things I've seen along these lines was about 10-years ago at Bone's, now L Woods, in Lincolnwood, a silver hair macher type was holding court at corner table. When his ribs (pork) arrived he ceremoniously unfurled a gold lame' bib, of the lobster type, with the words Rib Maven written in bold letters.

This tickled the hell out of me, so much so I was going to congratulate him on his humor, until my wife thought the better. Meaning, of course, as I started to get up she laid a hand on my arm and gave me the don't-you-dare look. :)

Enjoy,
Gary
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#8
Posted July 15th 2005, 11:25am
Bacon breaks the will of even the most devout.

My daughter has a vegetarian friend who sucks her bacon. That's right, she sucks the juice, spits out the remaining meat, and so claims that she is not breaking her oath of undying fealty and fidelity to the Vegetable Kingdom.

David "Whatever Gets You Through the Night" Hammond
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#9
Posted July 15th 2005, 11:31am
David Hammond wrote:My daughter has a vegetarian friend who sucks her bacon.


Can I get that quote printed on a t-shirt? I nearly fell out of my chair. :lol: :lol: :lol:

Best,
Michael / EC
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#10
Posted July 19th 2005, 10:44am
We were out in the Skokie area yesterday, and couldn't decide where to go for a bite to eat. You know the feeling...no Middle Eastern...nah...we just did The Superdawg last week...blah, blah, blah.

But when The Lovely Donna informed me that we were passing by the home of thick cut bacon, I knew where I would be dining.

I can usually eat eggs any time of day, but for some strange reason, wasn't in the mood. We both opted for the turkey club with the TCB, and weren't disappointed.

We'll be back for breakfast soon. Can't wait to do some dunkin' :D

:twisted:
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#11
Posted July 28th 2006, 2:30pm
I ate at Jack's due to proximity to a hotel stay and was very pleased to find a New Jersey-quality buttered bagel in Chicagoland, not that I should have been too surprised in that area. Most enjoyable were the staff shirts that say, "Almost everyone eats at Jack's" on the back.

I only ate there once, and for breakfast, but had a delicious spinach & feta omelet, great diner hash browns (not dried out like so many make them now, nor settled in oil), and made a smart last-minute decision to substitute a bagel for toast (no extra charge).

By the way, I'm a vegetarian and, of course, do NOT suck my bacon. No true vegetarian would even ORDER bacon, as the purchase contributes to the demand for slaughter, etc, etc. Hopefully, the rest is all common sense. Ick. I did spot lots of omnivorous customers with it on their plate, though.

Very large menu -- something for just about everyone, unless dietary restrictions make it impossible for you to eat out at "regular joints." Lots of comfort food. My companion was pleased with his cheese blintzes, too.
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#12
Posted July 28th 2006, 2:49pm
Bacon is a Vegetable

No, really, it is. Honest.
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#13
Posted July 28th 2006, 4:32pm

I had no idea about this T-shirt when I wrote, at 10:57 AM today in the Salad Bar thread, that chopped liver is a vegetable.

Cosmic.
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#14
Posted August 21st 2006, 7:29am
LTH,

I've written 1000 words, time for a picture.

Jack's BLT Club w/slab bacon
Image
Image
Image

Matzo Ball Soup
Image

Enjoy,
Gary
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#15
Posted August 21st 2006, 8:22am
Lovers of thick-cut/slab bacon will want to know that the calf's-liver-and-bacon at The Erie Cafe comes with like an eight-inch length of it sitting atop the liver. It's my favorite dish to get there at lunch. The bacon alone is enough to make a meal of. (But the liver ain't bad either.)
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#16
Posted August 21st 2006, 8:37am
riddlemay wrote:Lovers of thick-cut/slab bacon will want to know that the calf's-liver-and-bacon at The Erie Cafe comes with like an eight-inch length of it sitting atop the liver.

Riddlemay,

Thanks for the heads up on the Erie Cafe liver and onions. I'm of the opinion Erie Cafe is underrated in the pantheon of Italianesque Chicago steak joints.

Speaking of liver, onions and Italianesque Chicago steak joints, here's a picture of Gene and Georgetti's liver and onions, one of the better in the city.

G & G Liver and Onions
Image

Enjoy,
Gary

Erie Cafe
536 W Erie St
Chicago, IL
312-266-2300

Gene & Georgetti
500 N Franklin St
Chicago, IL 60610
312-527-3718
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#17
Posted August 22nd 2006, 4:23pm
I took my friend, Pavel, to Jack's for lunch today. At my encourgement, we shared a B.L.T. Club Sandwich (with Slab Bacon) and a Roast Beef, Ham, and Cheese Club Sandwich. After a couple bites of the B.L.T., Pavel--who is a recent arrival from the Czech Republic-- exclaimed, "This is a great sandwich, Erik. But, I must tell you, this is not bacon. In Czech Republic we call this xxxxx. But, I don't think that there is any word for it in English."

:wink:

E.M.
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#18
Posted August 22nd 2006, 5:44pm
eatchicago wrote:
David Hammond wrote:My daughter has a vegetarian friend who sucks her bacon.


Can I get that quote printed on a t-shirt? I nearly fell out of my chair. :lol: :lol: :lol:

Best,
Michael / EC


That reminds me of the Dead Eye Dick song "New Age Girl" - singing about his vegetarian honey, "She don't eat meat but she sure like the bone"....
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#19
Posted February 16th 2008, 5:45pm
Had lunch at Jack's today with a friend. It'd been a long time since I'd been in. I used to go here a lot as a kid. I loved the toy chest by the cash register and the pictures on the wall of all the staffers, with the number of years they'd been at Jack's, displayed underneath them. Years later -- mid 90's -- the wife and I would eat dinner here fairly regularly. It got to the point where we knew some of the servers by name.

Then we moved away and stopped going to Jack's regularly. Then Skokie banned smoking. Then Jack's ceased to be open 24 hours and it lost a bit of its appeal . . . and no more pictures of staffers on the wall, either. It just ain't that kind of place anymore. Yeah, things change. Sucks, doesn't it?

Today, the place seems cold and a bit worn, and you just feel like it's seen its best days. Chicken soup from a base and a completely humorless and personality-less cashier did nothing to ammend that perception. Our server was very nice, though, which did bring to mind some fond memories of the place in its hey day.

There was nothing egregiously wrong with lunch. What we ordered was tasty. But in the past, when you ate at Jack's, you felt like you were eating at a restaurant that was the best of its kind. Now, it just feels like another coffee shop . . . except for the thick-cut bacon, that is :wink:

Image
Francheezie


Image
Chef Salad with thick-cut bacon

=R=
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#20
Posted February 16th 2008, 5:56pm
G Wiv wrote:Matzo Ball Soup
Image


If the Matzo Ball fills the soup bowl, how do you know if it's a floater or a sinker?

(LTH version of "if a tree falls...")

We stopped at Jack's for dinner once fortuitously on Prime Rib Special day. It was quite a while ago, but IIRC we were very pleasantly surprised.
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#21
Posted February 16th 2008, 9:37pm
I really like Jack's for two dishes in particular. One is the Jack's Salad with no ham or cucumbers (when I'm feeling healthy or need roughage) and the other is the corned beef hash, which is among the better versions in town. I'm not as big a fan of the slab bacon as many because I think they badly overcook it.
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#22
Posted February 16th 2008, 9:51pm
Hi,

Erik M and I thought the thick slab bacon just might be deep fat fried.

Regards,
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Cathy2

"You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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#23
Posted February 16th 2008, 10:38pm
Cathy2 wrote:Erik M and I thought the thick slab bacon just might be deep fat fried.

Cathy,

Having eaten more than my fair share of Jack's thick cut country bacon I would agree. Deep fried bacon, ummmmmm.

Enjoy,
Gary
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#24
Posted February 16th 2008, 10:47pm
Mhays wrote:If the Matzo Ball fills the soup bowl, how do you know if it's a floater or a sinker?

Mhays,

Sinker, and, as Ron mentioned, they now seem to have gone to soup base, or at least enhancing with, instead of simmering chickens.

Mhays wrote:We stopped at Jack's for dinner once fortuitously on Prime Rib Special day. It was quite a while ago, but IIRC we were very pleasantly surprised.

My bride is the occasional fan of Jack's prime rib, not exactly Lawry's, but for the price, I forget exactly but it's very reasonable, with a veg and potato it makes for a tasty low impact meal.

Enjoy,
Gary
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#25
Posted February 17th 2008, 11:01am
G Wiv wrote:My bride is the occasional fan of Jack's prime rib, not exactly Lawry's...

Sadly, not even Lawry's is exactly Lawry's anymore--based on my last visit there a few months ago, which was my first visit in more than twenty years.
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#26
Posted February 17th 2008, 11:06am
ronnie_suburban wrote:Then Jack's ceased to be open 24 hours and it lost a bit of its appeal . . . and no more pictures of staffers on the wall, either. It just ain't that kind of place anymore. Yeah, things change. Sucks, doesn't it?


I put Jacks in the same category as the once great Barnum & Bagel. When I was a kid I remember waiting in line at both places on Sunday nights with my folks and my grandparents. half hour waits were not uncommon and the food justified the crowds. It also probably didnt hurt that you could feed a large 3-generational family for sub-$50. Later, when home from college, Jacks was a must stop on the 3am ride home from whatever place had quarter beers on special. Often times I have found myself stopping a Jack or in the past B & B for a bowl of soup on the way home from the airport.

Now, for whatever reason, the food and atmosphere hasnt held up. Things changed for me when that curmudgeonly AK "Mike" stopped working the front of the house...the fries got a little soggier, the soup a little saltier....gradually the place became a pass by of little consideration on the way from here to there. Sadly things change, and it sometimes sucks. I put Jacks soundly in the same category as Barnum & Bagel in my heirarchy of Jewish-leaning coffee chops--a fond memory and not much more.
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#27
Posted February 17th 2008, 11:10am
riddlemay wrote:Sadly, not even Lawry's is exactly Lawry's anymore--based on my last visit there a few months ago, which was my first visit in more than twenty years.

Riddlemay,

I was at Lawry's in September and thought my meal terrific. I had not been in years and was somewhat shocked at the total package of food, service and old school elegance. My wife has been back since, Lawry's is a business associate of her's favorite restaurant, and says it's been at the same level each time.

Maybe you had a one-off mediocre experience, or maybe it was different a couple of decades ago, either way count me a fan of the current Lawry's.

Enjoy,
Gary
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#28
Posted February 17th 2008, 12:04pm
Gary, glad to hear your experience at Lawry's continues to be good--and that mine was atypical.

There was nothing "bad" about my recent experience there, just not what I was remembering from before. This could be because my memory is idealizing the earlier experience, but I think it really was more special before. The patented Lawry's shtick, in the earlier experience, seemed fresher not just because it was newer, but because the waitress really seemed into it, not running on auto-pilot. And the prime rib struck me at that time as the Platonic ideal of prime rib. This time, the food seemed commensurately on auto-pilot with the delivery of the shtick.

My whole perception could also have been influenced by my mild disappointment that they weren't using the big room that weeknight, but rather a couple of smaller ones that were in the vicinity of the bar area--due I presume to the fact that the number of customers, if put into the big room, would have made that room look fairly empty. (And maybe they saved a lot of money on heat by closing it off.) Anyway, like I say, glad to hear that in general Lawry's continues going strong.
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#29
Posted November 19th 2008, 2:38pm
iblock9 wrote:
ronnie_suburban wrote:Then Jack's ceased to be open 24 hours and it lost a bit of its appeal . . . and no more pictures of staffers on the wall, either. It just ain't that kind of place anymore. Yeah, things change. Sucks, doesn't it?


I put Jacks in the same category as the once great Barnum & Bagel. When I was a kid I remember waiting in line at both places on Sunday nights with my folks and my grandparents. half hour waits were not uncommon and the food justified the crowds. It also probably didnt hurt that you could feed a large 3-generational family for sub-$50. Later, when home from college, Jacks was a must stop on the 3am ride home from whatever place had quarter beers on special. Often times I have found myself stopping a Jack or in the past B & B for a bowl of soup on the way home from the airport.

Now, for whatever reason, the food and atmosphere hasnt held up. Things changed for me when that curmudgeonly AK "Mike" stopped working the front of the house...the fries got a little soggier, the soup a little saltier....gradually the place became a pass by of little consideration on the way from here to there. Sadly things change, and it sometimes sucks. I put Jacks soundly in the same category as Barnum & Bagel in my heirarchy of Jewish-leaning coffee chops--a fond memory and not much more.


I just heard on WBBM that Jacks now closes at 3:00 PM. Blames it on the economy.
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#30
Posted November 19th 2008, 2:56pm
Hi,

There has been quite a bit of related discussion at 24 hour/late night restaurants closing earlier - Why? with Jack's frequently referred to.

Regards,
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"You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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