Jim’s Original in Chicago: Polish Sausage and Pork Chop

Jim's Original, serving the Original Maxwell Street Polish Sausage Sandwich since 1941
Jim’s Original, serving the Original Maxwell Street Polish Sausage Sandwich since 1941

If you are looking for the best Polish sausage in Chicago, you come to Jim’s Original. This institution has served the Original Maxwell Street Polish Sausage Sandwich since 1941. When something has been around for that long, you know it has to be good.

Everyone recommended that I try Jim’s Original at least once on my trip to Chicago. They said it’s the best place for a sausage in the city. Hours after landing in Chicago, I dropped off my bags at the hotel and headed over to try a Polish sandwich for myself.

If you plan on eating right away, you will have to stand and eat at the narrow metal counters
If you plan on eating right away, you will have to stand and eat at the narrow metal counters

Jim’s Original is a unique place. There were no tables or inside seating, only narrow metal counters to stand at and eat. There’s something special about eating on a sidewalk with views of downtown Chicago and the sounds of passing cars speeding by on Interstate 90.

There is usually a line of people waiting out front to order. If the counter seating is full, you might see people sitting in their cars devouring a sandwich or two.

What’s even better about Jim’s is that you can get your Polish or pork chop sandwich fix at any time. They are open 24 hours a day.

Jim’s Original Menu

Jim's Original menu
Jim’s Original menu

The bright yellow Jim’s Original menu on the wall was hard to miss.

The menu was simple. You could choose from various sandwiches with different proteins, including Polish sausage, beef Polish sausage, pork chop, burger, cheeseburger, chicken, Vienna hog dog, and fish. In addition to sandwiches, you could choose from fries, cheese fries, and drinks, including soda, juice, and water.

Order a sandwich? You get free fries with that.

Burgers, pork chops, sausages, and mountains of onions on the grill
Burgers, pork chops, sausages, and mountains of onions on the grill

For first-timers, I recommend the Polish sausage, pork chop, or both, depending on your hunger. Most people order one or the other.

When ready to order, stand in line and place your order with the person in the window. Knowing what you want to order before you reach the front of the line is a good idea. The person who takes orders also watches all the food on the grill.

You can customize all sandwiches to your liking. And you can order with everything on it or without onions, mustard, or peppers.

Immediately after I ordered, my food was sitting in front of me. It was that fast. There were no long waits for food here.

Polish Sausage

The famous Polish Sausage, Jim's Original, Chicago, IL
The famous Polish Sausage

Jim’s Original is where it all started. The Original Maxwell Street Polish Sausage Sandwich ($4.70) has been served the same way for over 70 years. Jim’s Original, considered by many to be the best Polish sausage in Chicago, has many loyal customers.

Honestly, I haven’t had many Polish dogs in my life. I might not be the best to back up this claim, but I always give my honest opinion regarding food.

The sandwich was simple. If you order it with everything, you will get a sausage with grilled onions, yellow mustard, hot peppers, and white bread.

The pork and beef sausage, grilled to perfection on a flat-top grill, had just the right amount of crunch and bite. The oversized sausage had a wonderful smoky flavor with the perfect oily, greasy goodness.

Each bite was juicy. Quality was important, and it showed. Jim’s has been using the same distributor for decades, which has ensured a consistent product.

The simple yet fluffy steamed white bun was nothing special, but it worked well with the other ingredients, including the sausage.

Topping the sausage was a thick layer of sautéed sweet Spanish onions. The thinly sliced grilled onions were tender but cooked to the point where they still had texture. This texture gave each bite an added crunchy dimension.

Bringing the sandwich together was a thin layer of yellow mustard. The yellow mustard was, well, just simple yellow mustard. The tangy mustard complemented the rich and smoky sausage and sweet onions.

I almost forgot about the peppers. These spicy and crunchy pickled peppers brought the whole sandwich together, adding just the right amount of tangy, salty, and spicy goodness.

French Fries

Order of fries
Order of fries

Still hungry? Each sandwich order came with a free side of fries.

The fries, which came out hot and crispy, were delightfully crunchy on the outside while soft on the inside. I found myself unable to stop myself from eating them.

My only complaint was that they could have used some salt.

Pork Chop Sandwich

A thick pork chop sandwich in between two pieces of white bread
A thick pork chop sandwich in between two pieces of white bread

I have had countless pork chops in my life, but I can’t remember ever trying a Pork Chop Sandwich ($5.25).

As with the Polish sausage, this sandwich was simple: a pork chop, grilled onions, and yellow mustard. Other than the pork chop and the shape of the bread, the ingredients were the same.

The mustard was tangy, the grilled sweet onions were tender but with texture, and the bread was a simple steamed white hamburger bun.

What made this sandwich stand out was the thick bone-in pork chop.

Both sides of the pork were grilled to perfection. The caramelized brown crust added a nice contrast of taste and texture.

I expected the pork to be tough and fatty. Surprisingly, it was tender and juicy. The meat almost melted in my mouth with each bite. The cut was lean, with a perfect mix of rich, fatty flavors.

Just watch out for the bone. You don’t want to bite down on it.

My only complaint was how the seasoning was almost non-existent. A little salt would have gone a long way. Otherwise, while simple, I enjoyed this pork chop sandwich.

Service at Jim’s Original

I had this idea in my head that the service would be cold and unfriendly. Just order your food and move on. Workers can often be rude at food institutions that have been around for ages, but this was not the case.

Even though you can feel a little rushed, the service was fast and friendly. The man working the grill had a big smile and cracked jokes with each guest. He even let me peek inside and snap a few photos. Even as a first-time visitor, I felt welcomed.


Does Jim’s Original serve the best Polish sausage in Chicago? Maybe. You can find similar dogs at almost any stand in the city. So, what makes this sandwich so special? It’s tough to explain. 

This Polish sausage sandwich served at Jim’s Original might have seemed simple, but it was satisfying. I could eat this thing at two in the afternoon or two in the morning, especially after a long night of drinking.

What I do know is that this place is special. There’s something special about eating food served the same for 77 years and eating shoulder-to-shoulder with other people who have been coming to Jim’s for decades. I now understand why everyone recommends that I eat here.

Maybe there are better, but you can’t replicate the taste and experience of a Polish dog or pork chop sandwich at Jim’s Original. Come and try it out for yourself.


  • Food was ready as quickly as I ordered it
  • Considered to be the best Polish sausage in Chicago
  • Historic food institution in business for over 77 years
  • Friendly service
  • Open 24 hours a day


  • No indoor seating
  • No tables to eat at


Open 24 hours a day


1250 S Union Ave
Chicago, IL 60607
GPS Coordinates: 41.865694,-87.645218


Last Updated on April 19, 2024

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My name is Anthony and I am addicted to traveling all around the world experiencing new people, cultures, and foods. These are some of my stories.