Lunch on the weekends with our kids is often a struggle sometimes. There aren’t a lot of great options around our house that we all like. We had a limited amount of time on this particular day, so it had to be close. We decided to give DJ’s a try because, well, we knew it was a hot dog place and the kids would surely be happy.
It’s one of those places where you walk in and order at the counter and they put most of it all together while you’re standing there. There’s a grill in the back for the burgers and Italian beef.
I ordered a pretzel dog with ketchup, mustard and cheese ($3.59 + .50 for cheese). A pretzel dog just means a regular hot dog on a pretzel roll, which sounded kind of good. The dog itself was a decent dog, but the guy making it pulled the roll out of a refrigerator/freezer (not sure which it was) and put it in the microwave which gave it a kind of tough, chewy, shriveled texture. I was not a big fan of it. I wished I had just gone with a regular bun because they were fresh. (My son had a regular hot dog and it was better).
My daughter ordered a cheeseburger ($4.95) from the regular menu (this isn’t an option on the kids’ menu) and it was definitely the best thing on the table. The meat is fresh and hand shaped and had a decent taste, even if it is cooked pretty well done. There was a fair amount of cheese on it. The bun was substantial, but didn’t suffer from the weird microwave taste of my pretzel bun. If I were to go back (which is unlikely) I would get the burger.
Hubby ordered the Italian beef (dipped) ($5.79) and it was pretty disappointing mainly because most of the ingredients were cold. Italian beef is a sliced beef sandwich served with sautéed onions and peppers and served on a hoagie-type roll. I am not sure if they just didn’t heat up the peppers and onions, or if the meat was heated up fully or if they dipped the sandwich into coldish broth, but it made for a fairly clammy, unappealing sandwich.
We got a side of fries ($1.69) and they were standard food service crinkle cut fries, which aren’t my favorite. As far as what they were, they were cooked appropriately and were hot and crisp.
This place has a decent looking Chicago style food menu, but it just felt too foodservicey and tasted not very homemade. It’s a small local chain, but it felt too fast food-ish too me. Maybe it was just a bad day, I don't know—I would be curious to hear about other people’s experiences.
DJ’s Hotdog Company
4909 East 82nd Street