When my co-worker Scott mentioned that he was probably going to hit up Chris and Rob's for dinner, I thought it would be an ideal opportunity to pay him back the $7 I owed him. Convincing Erin was not difficult :)
Not realizing how far away this place was, I got off of 94E at the Cretin-Vandalia exit hoping to avoid the freeway traffic, but it ended up taking a good long time to travel ~35 blocks on St. Clair Ave. from Cretin to W 7th St. Along the way Scott and Erin had the chance to discuss the merits of food processors vs. stand mixers and other cookware.
We got a parking spot right outside the front door (literally about five feet away, it was awesome). We walked into a nearly empty restaurant, I think there were two other tables occupied, not that unusual for a Tuesday night at 5:30 I guess. Scott had been talking up the Italian Beef sandwich served "wet" meaning that it's dipped in beef juice, kind of like a french dip, which makes for a tasty and messy sandwich. I went with a chili cheese hot dog with a side of fries, Erin had the Italian Beef sandwich ("dry") and Erin and Scott split an order of tater tots. When Scott heard that I was paying he also added on a Summit.
There aren't servers at Chris and Rob's, you order at the counter when you walk in and they bring the food out to your table when it's ready. The workers were really friendly and joked around with us while we were ordering, you could tell they enjoyed the work environment. Sadly I don't think we saw Chris or Rob.
My chili cheese dog was exactly what I wanted (it's hard to mess this up). Apparently you can optionally get two hot dogs in one bun, I'm not really sure how this would work, seeing as my hot dog was already overflowing, but I'd like to try it sometime, and I'm a little sad that I didn't this time, it would make for a much better story :)
I also would like to go back to Chris and Rob's to try their pizza. I think they are known for their hot dogs, brats, and sandwiches, but they aren't strictly a hot dog place, they are billed as the "Chicago taste authority" and I would suppose that authority would cover Chicago style pizza. Given that their menu isn't expensive I'm sure we'll be back at some point.
- Service: Great service, and I would expect no less when there are more employees than customers.
- Food: The food is good and cheap, but better than fast food. If I lived near here I wouldn't ever get fast food.
- Drinks: They have a couple typical beer selections (Miller, Bud, and Summit). I wasn't even expecting to have a beer so any beer was good beer.
- Ambiance: There was nobody around when we were there, so it was a little quiet. The walls are decorated with Chicago pictures and memorabilia which is interesting to read.
- Price: The prices are as cheap as anywhere in the city. My chili cheese dog was $3.59. Hell, some places will charge you more than 50 cents for cheese on a burger! At Chris and Rob's the chili dog and the chili cheese dog are the same price (does this mean people who get the regular chili dog are getting screwed??)
- Convenience: Located right on W 7th St., so there must be bus access, but no parking lot. We found a spot but you might have to walk a block or so if the area was busy.
Ben alerted me at about 4:45pm on Tuesday that we were going to Chris and Rob's for dinner. I only had my point-and-shoot camera, so the quality of these photos isn't too great, but you can get the idea.
On the long ride over there, Scott was extolling the virtues of the Cheesy Beef Sandwich. After hearing him go on about it for the ride, my choice was clear. I chose to get mine un-dipped because I figured it would be soggy enough from the juices in the meat, and I was right. This was a very satisfying sandwich, with a ton of meat. More than I needed, for sure. At Scott's suggestion, I added sweet peppers to my cheddar Cheesy Beef. I'm glad I did - it did add a lot to the sandwich. I know this because I enjoyed bites with pepper more than I enjoyed the ones without. Pretty simple :)
Scott and I split an order of tots, which were delightfully crispy and salty. Not much else to say about them...
Ben has detailed the experience perfectly in his review... since it has already taken us almost 2 weeks to get this review up, I won't make anyone wait any longer by trying to make this sound like anything more than a quick stop for food after work :)
Chris and Rob's is a great place for a quick, filling meal that is a step up from normal fast food. I would definitely return. Aaron gave the pizza a positive review, so I'd like to try that next time around. Despite what Ben says above, I don't think the pizza is necessary "Chicago style"but that won't stop me from trying it.
Chris & Rob's
603 West 7th St.