A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from January 05, 2019
Gym Shoe Sandwich (Jim Shoe Sandwich)

A “gym shoe” sandwich (also called a “jim shoe” or “jim shoo") is a Chicago specialty that has gyro meat, roast beef and corned beef. Other ingredients have included iceberg lettuce, tomato, tzatziki (a Greek yogurt sauce locally called GUY-ro sauce), mustard, mayonnaise, Swiss cheese, onions, sweet peppers and giardiniera (a hot, pickled Italian relish). It’s not known who made the first such sandwich, or when, and the name has also been a mystery. The sandwich is believed to have originated on Chicago’s South Side, perhaps at Stony Sub (8440 South Stony Island Avenue).

“Gym shoe” was entered in the Urban Dictionary on February 15, 2007, and described as “A sandwich created in the far south side of Chicago, Ill.” “Jim Shoe: roast beef, gyro meat, & corned beef sandwich. 71st & King Dr. I like veggies. Just saying” was posted on Twitter by Yung Quirkless on June 2, 2009. “The jim shoo is the best sandwich ever invented” was posted on Twitter by LOLO PROMO on July 11, 2011. 

Urban Dictionary
gym shoe
A sandwich created in the far south side of Chicago, Ill. It constructed identically to the ubiquitous Italian beef sandwich, but substitutes tender roast beef for gyro meat. Giardiniera is used on both sandwiches
Aye jo; lemme get a gym shoe wit cheese, some fries and a red pop.
#italian beef#chicago hot dog#perch#chicago hood food#hot peppers
by gravity5 February 15, 2007

Yung Quirkless
Jim Shoe: roast beef, gyro meat, & corned beef sandwich. 71st & King Dr. I like veggies. Just saying.
6:27 PM - 2 Jun 2009

God-fearing Queer 🌈Queen 👑
Oh yeah michelle’s from Chicago. She just said ‘gym shoe’ lol
9:28 PM - 3 Jun 2009

T Nicole C
Has anybody heard of a “gym shoe sandwich”?! Something about name just disturbs my spirit....
4:52 PM - 2 Oct 2009

Kristi Dawson
Can sum1 in Chicago tell me what a “gym shoe” sandwich is?
4:13 PM - 17 Oct 2009

IG: EnigmaTheCEO
Damn...ain’t nothing more ghetto than a Jim Shoe Sandwich #fye
11:40 PM - 15 Jan 2010

Jim shoe sandwich?.... Roast beef, corned beef, n gyro meat.... Only if Im high
8:03 PM - 28 Jul 2010

,a href="https://twitter.com/LoloPromo/status/90584034568192000">Twitter
The jim shoo is the best sandwich ever invented
8:51 PM - 11 Jul 2011

Serious Eats—Chicago
June 22, 2012
Standing Room Only: In Search of the Gym Shoe, Chicago’s Unsung Sandwich
Ladies and gentlemen, please allow me to introduce the Gym Shoe, a heretofore unrecognized player in the Chicago sandwich scene. Part Italian beef, part gyro, with slices of corned beef folded in just for the hell of it, it’s a mess of a sandwich that can be mystifyingly delicious, if done properly.

LTH Forum (June 2013)
In Search of the Jim Shoe
By Peter Engler (Rene G)
What is a Jim Shoe?
A Jim Shoe is a submarine sandwich made with roast beef, corn(ed) beef, and gyros meat, topped with chopped iceberg lettuce, sliced tomato, squirts of GUY-ro sauce (ersatz tzatziki) and often mayonnaise or bright yellow mustard. Cheese, onions, giardiniera, or other garnishes are sometimes added. Although it’s not a classic Jim Shoe ingredient, giardiniera can add greatly to the finished product.
A worker at a well-established Bronzeville sub shop seemed to be an authority on the subject and was happy to share his knowledge of the Jim Shoe. He believed the sandwich originated in the 1980s, at a long-closed gyros shop on the far South Side. I can’t corroborate the story myself, but it seems that the Jim Shoe does have a long history in the area. In support of this notion, the name is found on an obviously old, professionally-painted menu board inside a nearby sub shop.

South Side Weekly (Chicago, IL)
South Shore
“No such thing as a small Jim Shoe sub, man! No such thing.” The invariable foundations are simple: a drippy, messy mixture of roast beef, corned beef, and gyro meat topped off with cheese, tomatoes, and iceberg lettuce, then wrapped up in tinfoil and served with fries and can pop.

22 October 2014, Chicago (IL) Tribune, “Charges: Jail guard smuggled pot in Jim Shoe sandwiches” by Jason Meisner, sec. 1, pg. 9, col. 1:
Bursting with corned beef and gyros meat and slathered with tzatziki sauce and mayo, the Jim Shoe’s girth is apparently ideal for smuggling small plastic baggies filled with marijuana into Cook County Jail, where the pot can fetch up to five times its street value.
Prosecutors said Marek, 29, a correctional officer who went by the nickname “Murder,” was stopped by jail personnel as he reported to work in June 2013 carrying a plastic shopping bag. Inside the bag authorities found two Jim Shoe sandwiches that had been crammed with bags of marijuana, as well as a carton of menthol cigarettes, according to the charges.

Decadent ‘Gym Shoe’ at Stony Sub Might Be South Side’s Best Sandwich Ever
By Mark Konkol | June 5, 2015 5:35am | Updated on June 9, 2015 5:05pm
Apparently there are other varieties of Gym Shoe subs served in sub shops around town, but people who know about these things tell me none of them compares to the version that’s served up 24/7 through a revolving bulletproof glass door at Stony Sub, 8440 S. Stony Island Ave.

Owner Moe Almasri, whose family bought the sub shop in 2010, said the Gym Shoe ($7.31 for a regular) morphed from a roast beef and corned beef cold-cut sub topped with gyro meat and fewer condiments into the skillet-grilled creation they now serve.

“The former owner started making it on the grill for himself and then started selling it to a regular customer,” he said. “That’s how it got started.”

And the only thing that’s changed since then is the current concoction is stuffed with more meat than the original, Almasri said. (...) As for the name, Gym Shoe, that remains a mystery.

Forget everything you know about the city’s most iconic foods

07 APRIL 2017
Here’s what we definitely know: the Gym Shoe is corned and roast beef, gyro meat, onions and cheese, all hard-griddled dirty and then slapped in a sub roll, then dressed in shredded lettuce, tomato and lashings of mayonnaise, tzatziki sauce and giardiniera.

What’s Your Favorite Regional Dish You Think Nobody Else Knows About?
Thorin Klosowski
4/26/17 12:30pmFiled to: TELL US
mikeytime - Thorin Klosowski
4/26/17 3:02pm
Gym Shoe sandwich - Italian beef, corned beef, and gyro meat on Italian bread with giardiniera and tzatziki sauce. (Best at Sonny’s or Stoney’s)

‘Jim Shoe’ Tamales and Others Will Soon Arrive in Chicago
Follow the “Hot Tamale Trail” to The Delta in Wicker Park

by Chris LaMorte Aug 22, 2017, 1:50pm EDT
The ingredients will change with the seasons, but examples include a tamale stuffed with chicken thigh, and a hot-tamale version of the South Side’s Jim Shoe sandwich (or Gym Shoe, depending on the purveyor). They’ll fill their Jim Shoe tamale with gyro-spiced beef and lamb and top it with pastrami, sweet peppers, giardiniera, provolone, and their house version of the typical sauce served with tamales in the Delta — here called DAF sauce.

The Wandering Hedonist
February 17, 2018
Chicago sandwich tour! From the mighty Italian beef to the elusive mother-in-law.
Stony Sub – The Jim Shoe
Another local original.  Though the origins seem to be a bit more murky.  The Jim Shoe aka Gym Shoe aka Jim Shoo can be found around the south side at sandwich shops.

They’re enormous.  Start with roast beef, corned beef, gyro meat, add white sauce, lettuce, tomato, mayo, cheese, onions, mustard and hot peppers.  This might have been my favorite sandwich of the trip.  Fatty, spicy, dripping with goodness.  Luckily I had saved my mother in law fork which helped get this down my gullet.

Atlas Obscura
March 31, 2018
Gym Shoe Sandwich
The South Side favorite is a cross between a meat-lover’s sub and a gyro.

If you hear someone say, “I don’t know anyone who could eat a whole king-size Gym Shoe,” let’s hope you’re on Chicago’s South Side. Also known as a Jim Shoe, this massive sandwich is a neighborhood point of pride.
The sandwich master piles all three meats (Greek gyro meat, roast beef and corned beef—ed.) onto the bread, sometimes crisping the beef in a hot skillet first. Next come layers of chopped iceberg lettuce, sliced tomato, tzatziki (a Greek yogurt sauce locally called GUY-ro sauce), and, occasionally, mayonnaise and mustard. But it doesn’t end there: Swiss cheese, onions, sweet peppers, and giardiniera (a hot, pickled Italian relish) are all fair game.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Saturday, January 05, 2019 • Permalink