where the writers are
The Beat Cop's Guide to Chicago Eats
The Beat Cop's Guide to Chicago Eats
$15.95
Paperback
See Book Details »

BOOK DETAILS

  • Paperback
  • Jan.24.2011
  • 9781893121720

Christopher gives an overview of the book:

When the Beat Cop pauses from taking a bite out of crime, he takes a bite out of donuts, polish sausage, fried chicken, enchiladas, and omelettes... Lake Claremont Press's 2004 award-winner, The Streets & San Man's Guide to Chicago Eats, delivered tongue-in-cheek style and food-in-mouth expertise by a certified expert of the City of Chicago's Department of Lunch: streets & sanitation department electrician Dennis Foley. Now, Sgt. David J. Haynes of the Chicago Police Department, and his partner-in-crime, blogger Christopher Garlington, want to take on Foley's street-level guide to the best mom-and-pop food bargains in Chicago with their follow-up: The Beat Cop's Guide to Chicago Eats. "We're funnier, better-looking, and have the street smarts, girth, and weaponry to meet him in any alley, taqueria, or rib joint." He's no chef, food writer, or...
Read full overview »

When the Beat Cop pauses from taking a bite out of crime, he takes a bite out of donuts, polish sausage, fried chicken, enchiladas, and omelettes...

Lake Claremont Press's 2004 award-winner, The Streets & San Man's Guide to Chicago Eats, delivered tongue-in-cheek style and food-in-mouth expertise by a certified expert of the City of Chicago's Department of Lunch: streets & sanitation department electrician Dennis Foley.

Now, Sgt. David J. Haynes of the Chicago Police Department, and his partner-in-crime, blogger Christopher Garlington, want to take on Foley's street-level guide to the best mom-and-pop food bargains in Chicago with their follow-up: The Beat Cop's Guide to Chicago Eats. "We're funnier, better-looking, and have the street smarts, girth, and weaponry to meet him in any alley, taqueria, or rib joint."

He's no chef, food writer, or restaurateur. A former marine, Sgt. Haynes has spent the past 15 years dodging bullets and chasing down gang bangers on the city's West Side, running Chicago's first ever Homeland Security Task Force, and supervising squads in the 19th District at Belmont and Western. During those years, one of his most daunting tasks--and indeed one of the most important ones--was to get lunch.

Laugh if you want to. Getting lunch for 20 hungry cops who have been riding around in the freezing Chicago winter or blistering summer heat requires a remarkable degree of diplomacy, grit, and street savvy. Seriously, these folks are armed! They're out there putting their lives on the line hour by hour; and when their stomachs are growling, they're not calling for a Big Mac. They want real food--good food--the kind of food that makes them forget about the mean streets of Chi-Town for half an hour. They want Italian beefs, stuffed pizza, and catfish nuggets; they want ribs, red hots, and pulled pork sandwiches. Some even want salads.

Navigating this volatile terrain has become second nature to Sgt. Haynes. His knowledge of local eateries comes hard-earned from years on the beat and years of fierce debate with other cops. Haynes's understanding of the best places to get lunch in Chicago makes for an unprecedented blue-collar guide to the best food in the Windy City. You know we're not talking white tablecloths and Perrier.

The cafes and counters in this book are the places where locals go to get a sandwich. They're the places that cater church suppers. Go to one of these joints and you'll sit shoulder to shoulder with pipe fitters, bricklayers, yardmen, sanitation removal engineers, pimps, organized crime leaders, and cabbies.

And cops. Because first and foremost, this book is about where cops eat. On any given day at any of these restaurants, you'll find yourself eating with some of the 11,000 men and women who help keep our city safe. This book is dedicated to them. <p "The idea," says Haynes, "is to get in, get a good meal, and get out before your lunch break ends for under ten bucks." Peppered with outrageous stories from working cops, Chicago cop lore, and even a few recipes, The Beat Cop's Guide takes you on a gustatory journey through all five CPD areas, including some of the toughest neighborhoods in the nation.

The Beat Cop's Guide to Chicago Eats comes at a time when Chicagoans really need it. The economy is in a slump like never before. Times are tough. Money is tight. The Beat Cop doesn't just direct you to a great meal for eight bucks--he's secured you your very own police discount. The book retails at $15.95 and includes $34 in coupons. It's like being buddies with your alderman.

Read an excerpt »

Dixie Kitchen & Bait Shop

5225 South Harper Avenue

773-363-4943

Cuisine: Southern

When I moved to Chicago from Alabama I set out immediately to find a local supply of grits.  What’s Chicago got against grits? It took me three weeks! I finally found a box of Quaker Oats Instant Grits stuck to a shelf in a puddle of petrified Mrs. Butterworth's that was so old it didn’t have a barcode and the Quaker guy still had brown hair.

I’d heard Oprah’s place, Wishbone, had grits so I went, grabbed a waitress, and demanded a bowl. It had shrimp in it. Shrimp! The shame.

Imagine my joy, the cup-runneth-over joie de vivre, I experienced when someone told me about the Dixie Kitchen & Bait Shop in Hyde Park (and Evanston, and Lansing).  I wrote the place off as a FauxSoJo (fake southern joint) until they mentioned grits. I cleared my schedule and hopped a cab.

I was pleasantly surprised by this mock-Mason-Dixon café. Despite the lack of Banana pudding and despite perniciously southernizing everything (one of their specialty drinks is called Swamp Water, which is ok, another is a Blue Bayou which is actually pretty good) ((and their logo is a Gator leaning against an old gas tank)) and despite they’re appending “& Bait Shop” to Dixie Kitchen, as if the use of Dixie in the title isn’t enough to warrant some kind of class action law suit from noble dispossessed southern expatriates like myself, despite all that, this place serves really good Southern Food. 

There’s a few things a truly southern roadside restaurant ought to manifest with dignity and aplomb if they’re gonna get the Bubba stamp of approval. They are:

·               Southernized décor: Despite my snobbish discontent at the Dixie Kitchen’s corn pone decorations, real southern joints come in two flavors. Ugly and Waaaaay Ugly. Ugly joints have all the charm of a grade school cafeteria, without the charm. You can expect the very cheapest paper plates, utensils, salt packets stolen from McDonald’s, and Wonder Bread. But the food. The food is divine. Waaaaaaaay Ugly joints make the Dixie Kitchen look like Emeril’s. Imagine the most overblown out of control countrified Cracker Barrel you’ve ever seen. In Mayberry. Start from there. These places will have a taxedermified raccoon riding a stuffed gator that’s playing a banjo wearing a Roll Tide t-shirt with a 12 gage shotgun slung over his back hanging on the wall. In overalls. And they will brag about it.  The DK&BS has a good start but they’re too restrained, too polite. They need some deer heads with NASCAR Sunglasses if they want real authenticity. Still, the painted bucket lamp shades speak to the DIY creed of SoJo culture. 

christopher-garlington's picture

Note from the author coming soon...

About Christopher

Christopher Garlington lives in Chicago in a standard two kids, wife, dog, corner-lot, two car, small business owner American dream package. He drives a 2003 Camry, sports a considerable notebook fetish, and smokes Arturo Fuente Partaga Maduros as often as possible.  His...

Read full bio »