Saturday, March 31, 2012

Maxwell Street Polish

A Maxwell Street Polish consists of a grilled or fried length of Polish sausage topped with grilled onions and yellow mustard and optional sport peppers, served on a bun. The meal traces its origins to Chicago's Maxwell Street market, and has been called one of "the classic foods synonymous with Chicago".

The sandwich is widely said to have been created by Jimmy Stefanovic, a Macedonian immigrant, who took over his aunt and uncle's hot dog stand in 1939 (now called Jim's Original) located at Maxwell and Halsted in Chicago's old Maxwell Street market district. The Express Grill, which is located right next door to Jim's, advertises itself as the Original Maxwell St. Polish on its marquee, although it arrived after Jim's and serves almost an identical menu. Due to their virtually undivided storefronts and 24-hour service at the original Halsted Street location of both stands, Jim's Original and Express Grill had an added element of confusion for the casual observer not attentive to the change in signage a matter of feet in distance. Despite the competition, the Maxwell Polish sausage sandwich soon grew to be one of Chicago's most popular local offerings, along with the Chicago-style hot dog and the Italian beef sandwich.

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