NILES, Ill. (WLS) --"Hamilton" fever has officially come to Chicago. The Tony award-winning play begins its first run outside of New York, right here in the Loop, beginning next Tuesday.
So in honor of the show, the Hungry Hound decided to go out and see what he could eat, for less than Hamilton, that is, a ten dollar bill.
There are plenty of fast food joints, but those don't count. Steve was looking for fresh, homemade food that's worth going out of your way for, all for less than a bill with Mister Hamilton's face on it. One of the best deals is actually available for lunch only, in a Niles strip mall.
Like a lot of Middle Eastern joints tucked away in strip malls along Milwaukee Avenue, the Detroit Kabob House in Niles doesn't look like much. There are only a handful of tables against the front window; most of the space is taken up by the massive kitchen. There's a reason for that. Every day, the cooks are painstakingly recreating the Assyrian dishes the owners grew up with, even though it's essentially Middle Eastern.
"It's all similar food, it's just the spices. Every culture, every country has different spicy, so Iraqi food, this is mostly Iraqi food," said co-owner Jackie Zaya.
That mainly refers to the seven spices they use in their fantastic shawarma, sliced from the spit and used in a number of combination platters, as well as the ground sumac they use to season many dishes. But the main reason to visit is the fantastic lunch special, available from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.
"A piece of falafel, beef shawarma, chicken shawarma, beef kefta, chicken kefta, tomato, onion, one piece of bread, hot sauce and tahini," she said.
All of that for $5.99. With a base of fluffy basmati rice, charred kabobs - both chicken and beef - are placed on the edges first. Then comes the juicy, blistered shawarma - again, both chicken and beef - followed by a sturdy piece of falafel, some fresh tomatoes, a sumac-laced onion salad, as well as pita and two sauces: a cool, creamy tahini and a spicier chili. As impressive as the dish is, it's those large, vertical cones of shawarma, made in-house, that are truly noteworthy, especially in a region where most places just order a frozen cone from somewhere else.
"We build it every single day. There's days we build it two times a day. It depends how busy we are," said Zaya.
In his Extra Course, Steve talks about some of Detroit Kabob House's unique, savory pies, including one that looks a lot like one of turkey's most beloved pizzas.
Detroit Kabob House
9021 N Milwaukee Ave, Niles