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Mystery Diner: Jerrie’s Dogs & Fries sticks to the basics

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017 10:57 p.m. CDT
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Jerrie’s Dogs & Fries is named for the owner's mother, who loved a good hot dog.
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For starters, we ordered the Jerrie Dog, large fries and a chili dog.

JOLIET – I like a good hot dog. Seriously.

So when I learned that the new hot dog venue in town – Jerrie’s Dogs & Fries – was named for the owner’s mother, who also loved a good hot dog, – well, I had to try it.

Now, if you’re looking for an elaborate menu, you won’t find it inside this small venue, which sticks to the basics. Jerrie’s Dogs & Fries had just four entrées: hot dogs, tamales, Polish sausage and fried bologna sandwiches.

Fried bologna sandwiches?

If you grew up in the ’60s or ’70s, you’ll know. And if you didn’t, it’s as it sounds, garnished with lettuce, tomato and pickle, and tucked between two slices of white or wheat bread or toasted.

Sides include fries, onion rings, tater tots, tater tot boat (chili, cheese and onion), two pretzel sticks with cheese, a cup of cheese or a cup of soup – like stuffed green pepper soup – which changes daily.

By the way, if you like SALTY fries (as I do ), these are for you. My friend and I split a large order – to save room for more hot dogs, the main attraction for my friend and me.

What to choose?

Well, the signature Jerrie Dog, of course. These are served with mustard, relish, onion, pickle, sport peppers, tomato, cucumbers and celery salt – although the customer is free to modify at will.

Speaking of customers, they came and went at a steady pace, all orders to go. We opted for the full effect and sat at the tiny counter.

I confess, I did modify my dog. I passed on relish, peppers and celery salt. My friend went for the full effect – and a chili dog to accompany it. My friend pronounced the Jerrie Dog “a perfect Chicago-style hot dog, full of flavor, all the way down to the celery salt” or as this person added another way: “A bit of Chicago right in Joliet.”

And the chili dog? “Bold and full of flavor.”

That was hot dogs one, two and three.

We passed on Polish sausage in favor of splitting a fourth dog. The Essington dog (chili and cheese)? The J Town (mustard and kraut, tempting) or the corn dog?

Nope, we ordered a deep-fried hot dog. We agreed it was fun to try but didn’t notice a taste difference from the other dogs.

No dessert on the menu (at least the day we ate there). I feel chocolate chip cookies would sell well, but that’s me.

The beverage menu is lean: Pepsi products (bottled or canned), Gatorade, tea, Rockstar Energy and bottled water. And we did drink plenty of water.

In short, this isn’t the venue for the serious dieter or the health conscious. Unless you’re willing to abandon those sentiments for one delicious meal. We did. We’re not sorry.

Definitely hitting this one up again.

• The Mystery Diner is a newsroom employee at The Herald-News. The diner’s identity is not revealed to restaurant staff before or during the meal. The Mystery Diner visits a restaurant and then reports on the experience. If the Mystery Diner cannot recommend the establishment, we will not publish a review.

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IF YOU GO

WHAT: Jerrie’s Dogs & Fries

HOURS: 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 10:30 a.m. midnight, Friday and Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday.

WHERE: 1003 Essington Road, Joliet (next door to Double J Sports Bar in Joliet)

KNOW MORE: Call 815-666-1196 or visit www.jerriesdogsandfries.com.

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