A little column from the Chicago Sun-Times on "Ghetto Fries". The owner of a hot dog stand (Max's Famous Italian Beef) on the north side of Chicago has ghetto fries on the menu. Ghetto fries consist of "French-fried potatoes topped with Merkt's cheddar cheese, giardiniera, gravy, barbecue sauce and raw onion". Mark Brown of the Sun-Times followed up on this story after a collegue,former Sun-Times food critic Don Rose handed Brown the press release.
Rose found this to be offensive he came out and said, ""How would it be if some black guy sold Jewtown pancakes?" Of course when one talks about ghetto I would normally think of black folks. But really why are these ghetto fries?
Well the owner, Larry Estes, of Max's tells this brief story.
Estes said Ghetto Fries were borne from his restaurant workers experimenting with meals for themselves by adding different toppings to french fries.
One of those workers, whose nickname was Ghetto Girl, became so enamored with the cheese-giardiniera-gravy-barbecue sauce-onion concoction that she ate it every day as her main meal. Ghetto Fries, he said, were named after her. Eventually, the employees prevailed upon Estes to put it on the menu.
The Ghetto Fries according to Estes is popular however it isn't popular everywhere. A former Alderman who is in the food business, Wallace Davis Jr., never heard of anything like that being in that business and also stated that he'd have no interest in eating them. Mr. Davis and another former Alderman Cliff Kelley (he's now a radio host at WVON-AM) was both offended by this product. Mr. Kelley said, "It would be bad enough if it were a black person, but with a white person doing it, it's even worse."
Mr. Estes is Jewish and he also said this regarding the term ghetto...
Estes, 51, said nobody should take offense at Ghetto Fries, noting that he'sIf you want some of these "ghetto fries" visit Max's on 5754 N. Western.
Jewish, and that Jews were living in ghettos long before African Americans. He
said his own family came from the Jewish ghettos of New York.