This week on Dining on a Dime, host Lucas Peterson heads to the Near West Side of Chicago to sample one of the most famous, iconic street foods Chicago has ever produced: the Maxwell Street Polish sausage. The original Maxwell Street market in Chicago was originally an open-air, Sundays-only market that had the quality of a flea market. It soon became a social hub for the city, a place in which anyone, no matter their race or culture, could get along and buy and sell their goods (both legal and illegal).
Born from Maxwell Street, among other things, were the Chicago Blues and the Maxwell Street Polish, a spicy, garlicky length of Polish sausage served with mustard, grilled onions and hot peppers. Jim’s Original, established in 1939 on the corner of Maxwell and Halsted Streets, was the first to peddle this sandwich. While it no longer stands on that corner, it lives on in its current incarnation on Union Ave, where it continues to sell this quintessential Chicago street food 24 hours a day.