February 20, 2009 | 10:51am
Given the ridiculous number of Chicago transplants (count me among the ridiculous) in the Valley, you'd think there would be more eateries specializing in the dietary staples of that great Midwestern metropolis. To my knowledge, there's only a handful: Luke's, Chicago Hamburger Company, and a relatively new addition to the West Valley, Boomer's Sweet Home Chicago
In a strip mall (where else?) on the northwest corner of 59th Avenue and Bell Road, Boomer's tackles those staples -- Chicago-style hot dogs, Italian beef sandwiches, and sliders (mini hamburgers) -- and more in a clean, comfortable, and friendly environment. The inviting space is warmly lit and decorated with dozens of photos of Chicago's famous skyline and world-renowned architectural triumphs, with a smattering of Cubs and White Sox regalia thrown in for good measure. Behind the counter, painted on the wall over the kitchen, are the words "WE ARE CHICAGO."
True enough. Because the food is, for the most part, right on the mark. For the record, I view the Chicago-style hot dog as one of mankind's great achievements and Boomer's does it up right. For the initiated (or you East Coasters who think Nathan's Famous is all that), a Chicago-style hot dog is a steamed or boiled all-beef dog, served on a poppy seed bun and topped with yellow mustard, kelly green relish (not the dull green sweet stuff usually found at the grocery), a dill pickle spear, tomato wedges, sport peppers, and celery salt. Once in a while, you'll find a cucumber slice on there. What you will never,
The Italian beef sandwich was quite good, too, if not up to the outstanding quality of the hot dog. Kinda like a Philly cheesesteak (minus the cheese, of course), the Italian beef is thinly sliced roast beef on a long roll, topped with sweet peppers. The beef was decent, Mike's roll was fresh and light, and the side of oregano-spiced au jus really stepped up the sandwich a notch.
The basket of sliders was somewhat of a letdown, but not because the mini-burgers were bad. The bun was actually really light and flavorful, and the tiny beef patties were tasty, too. It's just that no one does sliders better than White Castle. And, frankly, sliders are meant to eaten at 2:10 a.m., 10 minutes after the bar closes (or 4:10 a.m. if you're in Chicago). Heck, Mike even seemed to acknowledge this theory. Still, he does a mean slider business on Fridays, when they're 50 cents each. He says that he'll often make 2,000 of them on any given Friday. One Boomer's patron piped in, saying she buys hundreds of them and freezes 'em. So there you go.
I should note the menu includes a couple of salads, chicken sandwiches, Italian sausage, and conventional hamburgers, too. In fact, starting next week, Boomer's will offer a regular hamburger, fries, and drink for $5. Not a bad deal, if you ask me.
We had a nice time at Boomer's, and the people of the West Valley should be glad it's in their 'hood. I live about a mile from Chicago Hamburger Company, so I'll probably stick to CHC grub, but if I'm in Glendale, craving a Chicago dog, I'm definitely going to hit up Mike. I hope you will, too.
Boomer's Sweet Home Chicago
5932 West Bell Road, Suite D-109
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.