About the project

 

El Stop Cartoon

The Search for Food along the Chicago Elevated Railway is much more than just popping out for something to eat, it is a journey in itself, a quest to learn about the city, a need to get out there and find some sort of purpose, it started as an idea, then evolved into some sort of addiction.

In the beginning I started out on the premise that

“It’s simple, I like riding the train and I like eating food so I am combining the two. The plan is to find places to eat at every one of the 144 Chicago El Stations. Preferably without getting heartburn, shot, mugged or in the worse case scenario… even fatter. To make it easy I am going to try and source food within sight of the stations, but if there is somewhere really good that I cannot resist I may wander a little further afield.

I am not planning to write reviews, just an account of my feelings at the time, so don’t be too offended if I don’t like somewhere you love.

Gourmet may be good, but basically there may well be a theme of hot dogs, burgers, and sandwiches…anything between two buns or slices of bread.”

I first settled near to North Center / Ravenswood near to the Montrose Brown Line CTA El Stop and the first stages were to do the Red and Brown lines north of Fullerton. I then moved swiftly on to explore the Blue, Green, and Orange lines, and further North along the Purple lines into Evanston. It was a lot of fun and I found many new places to eat and many of them I continued to return to. Sadly over time some of them have shut down, but as with the circle of life, many new places keep on opening.

train on the tracks at night

Back in 2011 when I started I wrote the following as I was riding the tram into the Loop, and from that moment I was hooked onto writing about my adventures.

Riding the El Train

“Flashes of white electric light, as the sparks from the track illuminate the night, the rattle and roll of the train as it hops and bumps its way over the elevated sleepers.

The Hancock looms into view, the tall buildings illuminated in pink, the brown line twists and turns its way south into the loop. Gentle chatter from the train is punctuated with the train announcer crisply designating our arrival at each station stop.

Orange street and platform lights glow and fade as we pass down the line ever closer to the city downtown district, ding dong “doors closing”, as we reach the sky scrapers the echo of the train bounces back from the closely packed buildings creating a rush and roar of wind, the wheels whistle as they slide around the bends of the looping track”

Chicago-El-Stop-300x102[1]

These days I have left Chicago and so I only get to search the tracks when I visit, which is usually about 3-4 times a year. Despite that the Project carries on and it continues to grow, somewhat more slowly these days. I would aliken it to matching at a pace that keeps up with the Brown Line El train as it trundles along the rickety tracks North of the Loop slowly stopping at each CTA station.

I really want to keep the Project alive so if you would like to contribute, even if it is just once, then drop me a line. It started of as just My Food Hunt, but it would be great if it was Your Food Hunt too. After all Chicago is our city, the tracks are ours, and that train just keeps on rolling to Flavour Town.

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments
  1. Fonje Brown says:

    Please share with your readers the big news, Deep Fried Turkey year round in Chicago! We invite you to join us this week for special Superbowl Tasting of deep fried turkeys this week so you can tailgate at home on the big day! You’ll have to transfer to the bus from the end of the line at the 95th Street station, but we are worth the trip!

    CONTACT: Fonje Brown, BR Public Relations

    718-797-1688

    grabgobblego@aol.com

    Jive Turkey Cooks Up Fried Turkey

    For Chicago’s Superbowl Celebrations

    Chicago, IL (January 28, 2013) – Chicago residents can add fried turkey to their menus this year as they prepare their Superbowl feasts without adding the equipment, mess, stress, and danger that comes with frying a turkey at home. Famous for its deep-fried turkey in 15 different flavors, Jive Turkey has launched a store in Chicago’s Beverly/Morgan Park neighborhood, marking a new go-to locale this season for the juicy treat of whole fried turkey. The store is open six days a week from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. and located at 1979 West 111th Street, Chicago, IL 60643.

    “In our nine year corporate history there has never been such a demand for products such as ours, and we chose Chicago to expand our growing business” said owner Aricka Westbrooks. “Previously located in Brooklyn, Jive Turkey chose to expand to a Midwest manufacturing location to ship turkeys and provide Chicago customers who love to tailgate at home a stress-free Superbowl.”

    The South Side location boasts menu with something for everyone, including the restaurant’s famous whole deep fried turkeys, turkey chili and mouthwatering sides. Jive Turkey on 111th blurs the lines between restaurant, retail and manufacturing as the company prepares several thousand turkeys at this location for nationwide shipping and local customer pick-ups. Customers pressed for time at the Superbowl may conveniently have their entire party catered, while others may simply purchase a single whole turkey.

    CUSTOMER TASTINGS PREP PALETTES FOR SUPERBOWL FEASTS

    Jive Turkey’s menu boasts 15 different flavors of turkey and they encourage customers to try their many different flavors of turkey before making the perfect Superbowl purchase. Customers can visit the store on Saturday 2/2 from 12pm until 4pm to try a flavor before making a selection.

    WHERE THE MAGIC HAPPENS: SEE TURKEYS TRANSFORM BEFORE YOUR EYES

    In addition to offering a vast assortment of 15 undeniably delicious turkey flavors, the store allows customers to “eat with their eyes” by watching “Jive Turkey in Action” throughout the season. A display window will allow visitors to have a “bird’s eye” view of the entire turkey frying process – from the lowering of the turkey into the hot oil to the emergence of the juicy golden bird.

    TWO WAYS TO DO THE JIVE TURKEY

    There are two ways to shop with Jive Turkey for the Superbowl:

    1. Call the South Side Chicago pop-up location, 1979 West 111th Street, Chicago, IL, and place an advance order, and pick-up the order. The number is 718-797-1688.

    2. Place an advance order online and have the order shipped nationwide via Jive Turkey’s partner, Foody Direct, via the website http://www.jiveturkey.com

    ABOUT JIVE TURKEY

    Jive Turkey is a leader in retailing specialty foods, in fact Jive Turkey is the only one in the United States engaged in the branding and marketing of deep fried turkey year round. Jive Turkey sells delicious, moist and juicy deep fried turkeys in 15 different flavors to customers all over the United States.

    Jive Turkey was founded in 2001 by Aricka Westbrooks when she began frying turkey in her Brooklyn, New York backyard. In 2003, Jive Turkey opened a retail store in Brooklyn, New York offering customers a menu of sandwiches, entrees and salads featuring the delicious and juicy meat of a whole fried turkey. In 2005 Jive Turkey began to manufacture and ship turkeys nationwide. In 2012 the company relocated from New York to Chicago.

    Jive Turkey has been featured on the Food Network and Travel Channel and national television, news programs, national magazines and local newspapers. The company website is http://www.jiveturkey.com

    ###

    Text JIVE to 77948

  2. Brock says:

    Hi –
    I’m working with a start-up for food bloggers in Chicago called Tabelog (www.tabelog.us/chicago). They’re a subsidiary of the largest company in Japan Tabelog.com (similar to Yelp here in the US).

    We’re bringing their annual restaurant awards to the US that are judged solely by a panel of local food bloggers (all online). The winning restaurants get a framed 2014 award and the food bloggers get an ‘official judge’ icons/etc and related PR for their blog. We’re looking for bloggers from the Chicago area to invite as an official judge. Is this something that you would be interested in?
    Thanks in advance!
    Brock

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