Gene & Jude's
|Gene's and Jude's|
The south wall of the stand
|Current owner(s)||J Mormino|
|Food type||Chicago-style hot dog|
|Street address||2720 N River Road|
Gene's & Jude's or (sic: Gene & Jude's) is a popular and iconic hot dog stand in River Grove, Illinois, founded in 1946 by Chicago city worker Gene Mormino. The stand is famous for its limited approach to the Chicago-style hot dog, its toppings departing from tradition by including only mustard, onions, relish, sport peppers and fresh cut French fries placed on top, known as a Depression Dog. The menu is limited to hot dogs, double dogs, tamales and fries, and, atypical of Chicago hot dog stands, lacks any trace of ketchup even for dipping the fries.
In 1946 city worker Gene Mormino was at a Cubs game at Wrigley Field when Gene decided if he added French fries to his hot dog it would give it a gratifying dose of saltiness and crunchiness. Based on that idea, he started a hot dog stand at Polk & Western Streets in Chicago. The restaurant quickly gained popularity, but 3 years later Gene lost the entire stand in a card game in 1949.
In 1950 Gene gathered enough money and moved operations to the current location in River Grove, Illinois also taking in friend and co-worker Jude DeSantis. Since 2004 it has been owned and run by J. Mormino, Gene's son.
In 2006, Gene's & Jude's was inducted into the Vienna Beef Hot Dog Hall of Fame. In 2011, in a competition of 64 hot dog stands across the country, it was chosen by the magazine "Every Day with Rachael Ray" and the food blog Serious Eats as the best hot dog in America. During the 50's, Gene and Jude's was a frame building and was not actually called Gene & Jude's-- the sign of the stand simply said "Vienna Red Hots." Customers referred to it as "River Road Hot Dogs." During the 1950s, Gene & Jude's had a takeout window, and its drinks were sold in bottles. Cock Robin (Formerly known as Prince Castle) was an Ice Cream Restaurant located in what is now the parking lot of Gene's & Judes. It was on the north east corner of the lot and they served ice cream sundaes, sodas, floats, shakes and blizzards. They used a square shaped ice cream scoop. Until 1978, Gene and Jude's did not serve napkins. Gene and Jude's is a free standing hot dog stand in the middle of a large parking lot. The establishment does not have tables, so guests can either eat in their car or somewhere along the counter. There's one large counter where users can order at one end and pick up their food at the other. Behind this counter seems to be a variety of employees of different ages, ranging from teenagers to those in their older 60's. Some of the employees have been working there since the beginning. (2)
Gene and Jude's has won Best Hot Dogs in America and it has consistently been in the top ten for Chicago's best quick eats yearly. Citations 1.Lake, Chris. 2008 http://timeoutchicago.com/restaurants-bars/57404/the-minimalist 2.Pearl, Jeff. 2010 http://www.jeffeatschicago.com/2010_04_01_archive.html
- "Gene & Jude's". Yelp. Retrieved 2011-02-05.
- Malooley, Jake. "Minimalist Hot Dog Stand". Restaurants & Bars. Time Out Chicago / Issue 175 : Jul 3–9, 2008. Retrieved 2014-02-20.
- "Hot Dog of the Week: Depression Dog". Serious Eats. Retrieved 2011-05-18.
- "Vienna Beef Hall of Fame".
- "The Stew". Chicago Tribune. 2011-02-02. Retrieved 2011-02-05.
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