Feature image by Supafly

This is what heaven looks like: a Vienna red hot nestled inside a bun that has been steamed to perfection. This vision is then topped with mustard, onion, relish, and spicy sport peppers. Then, and this is the best part, the whole dog is topped with fresh cut fries. The apron-clad, baseball capped waiter expertly wraps the messy mound in parchment paper and tosses into a paper bag for delivery into your, the customer’s, hand.

So what makes Gene & Jude’s simple dog so great? Maybe it’s the snap of the Vienna Beef hot dogs and onions when you take your first bite. Perhaps it is the hype and the long lines late into the night (yeah, they’re open until 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday and until 1 a.m. the rest of the time). It is quite possible it is the parking lot culture that surrounds this place. There are no tables, just a small counter along the wall–wide stance and elbows allowed and encouraged. Seating nonexistent, most people prefer to eat in or on top of their cars. I pity the guy who has to clean up the lot at the end of the night.

Whatever it may be, this places is good for a red hot. Gene & Jude’s is not your typical Chicago dog stand. It is simple… well, it’s simple for most. Don’t wait in line just to get to the counter and ask questions. Do yourself a favor and read the menu while you wait. If you don’t, prepare to be embarrassed. My parents taught me this lesson young. Around the age of 10, I was forced (at the risk of not getting a hotdog) to order for the whole family. My father placed the bills in my hand and told me to walk through the doors and ask for 1 plain hot dog, 1 double with everything, and 1 with everything, no pepper. “And if you know what’s good for you, don’t ask for ketchup.” I did what I was told, and came out with the oil-stained bags to my family who awaited my return with open arms.

Located at the corner of River Road and Grand Avenue, Gene and Jude’s open at 10:30 a.m., and the line can be massive. The late night crowd, although large, can best be characterized by its high drunk to sober ratio. Credit cards are not accepted, so have your dollar bills ready.

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