3832 Dempster St, Skokie, IL, USA


It's a question I've asked many times, usually while entering a room where someone is playing Stevie Nicks or Van Morrison.

Sometimes, though, I'm trying to spark debate about the "Greatest Of All Time." And there are different ways to make the case, depending on what you're talking about.

Sports nerds have stats. Like, LeBron vs. Spud Webb … it's not until you look at the numbers that you realize it's not crazy to include LeBron in the comparison.

Music nerds can refer to things like Top 500 album lists. Subjective, sure, but after awhile you start to see some general consensus, especially around certain universally beloved albums.

Food nerds, unfortunately, just have their inherently individualistic palates, or as the saying goes, "One man's tamale is another man's felching straw."

As for sports/music/food nerds … well, they all agree The Barefoot Contessa would beat Peter Cetera at foosball.

What were we talking about? Ah yes, Poochie's.


Poochie's, that unassuming paragon of pure Chicago food excellence tucked away in a rather nondescript Skokie strip mall. Is it the GOAT? Well, when it comes to Chicago-style food, such arguments are meaningless, given all the factors involved—North side vs. South side, Beef vs. Dog, Cheese Fries vs. Chili Cheese Fries—you really could write a book on the subject, and many have. Or at least attempted to, prior to emergency open-heart surgery.

poochie's char dog & merkt's cheese fries

What I will say about Poochie's is, to me, at least, it never disappoints. I've been here many times and tried much of their menu, and in every case, what I had was at the very least a damn impressive example of the thing in question. Burgers, dogs, Polishes, beefs … they do it all here, and quite well, and with some of the friendliest and most unpretentious vibes you'll encounter anywhere around town.

poochie's char dog & merkt's cheese fries

My Poochie's go-to is a char dog with everything and cheese fries ($8.06) , which is what I got during this particular visit. They use Merkt's packed cheddar for the cheese fries, and while health-wise this is an insane thing to eat, it's soofugggginngoood. The char dog won't blow your mind per se; it is simply perfect, the Platonic ideal of a char dog, and it is on that level that Poochie's operates.

Unlike, say, Portillo's, which wants to "wow" you with spectacle, this place puts its food where its mouth is. Or, um, where your mouth is. Or, um … uh-oh, this might finally be the stroke I've been expecting … but gimme some more of those dang cheese fries anyway!

Review by Wimpempy Tarlisle, October 2018