One of the issues we confronted on this VDC (vacation during Covid-19) was finding places that were open. We had already changed our destination state for this trip, due to the cancellation of a festival, and on this Thursday as we journeyed from southern Wisconsin to northern Indiana, we were driving through Chicago. Pulling a 21 foot trailer…
I had plenty of places, from my combined lists, in the Chicago area, but we had to find one that was in enough of a suburb to hopefully find a place to park. Des Plaines, a suburb just north of O’Hare Airport, seemed to fit the bill. And it is the home of Paradise Pup.
As we drove by, we saw the line wrapped around the building, and even considering social distancing, took that as a good sign. We parked about two blocks away, in front of someone’s house, put on our masks and walked back to get in line. The menu was large, but I was there for a specific thing, from the recommendation in Hamburger America.
Many of the folks were there for the Chicago-style dogs (which I saw described somewhere as NC-17: no catsup for anyone over 17), but the Cheddar Char Burger was the draw for me. Using Wisconsin’s cold-pack cheddar spread, from Merkt’s, atop a six-ounce fresh ground 80/20 mix patty and with added bacon, because it was bacon, this made for quite a burger. A little salty, very cheesy and with a crisp char on the patty, this was both delicious and a mess. Brothers George and Tony Manus have been serving burgers, sausages and red hots here since 1983.
My beloved ordered a Char Jumbo Dog –
a jumbo Vienna all-beef frank, with mustard, sport peppers, chopped onions and celery salt on a poppy seed bun. The dog had the same crisp char as the burger with a good smoke from the flame grilling and she seemed to enjoy it. I guess I’m still a hot dog “child” as I like ketchup on my hot dogs (along with chili and a little bit of mustard), so I passed on a dog.
I did have an Italian Beef (seasoned roast beef, served with au jus on a long roll and sport peppers), as my side. It was as messy as the char burger and just as tasty.
We carried our bags back to the trailer, and sat inside at the table and ate, watching the neighborhood mailman deliver mail, on foot. It was great lunch stop.