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Since 1981, Duke’s has been providing neighborhood iconic charm in both Edgebrook and Jefferson Park. That’s 36 years now! Don Ahn is at the helm, and together with Kathy, a very key person in the business who knows so many customers by name or what they like to eat; they have become that special fixture in the community. When you look at that old well-worn sign out front on the triangle corner it becomes a landmark on the map that holds many stories and memories over the past third of a century.
Open from 10-10, they can catch all meal offerings with an extended menu including anything from salads to burgers. But the mainstay features that Don mentions are those Vienna® Beef hot dogs and sausages and his homemade Italian Beef from a recipe that Don was given by Tony O.; an Italian beef master and an original owner of the famed Mr. Beef.
Duke’s has remained a vital part of the community in many ways. Don’s support of local baseball teams and charitable time and contributions to programs for nearby schools has been just a small part of their diverse involvement in the area. It’s that entire package of great food, camaraderie and community that has satisfied three generations of customers. This is also why Vienna Beef takes pride in welcoming Duke’s into the Vienna® Beef Hot Dog Hall of Fame. From all of us at Vienna®, we thank and congratulate Don and the Duke’s restaurant family with best wishes for much continued success.
Hot sun, blue skies, lake breezes, and hot dogs… Summer is truly in full swing here in Chicago. This August 11th through 13th the Chicago History Museum will be hosting the fifth annual Chicago Hot Dog Fest. This outdoor festival will be located in Lincoln Park at 1701 N. Stockton Drive in Chicago. Hot Dog Fest will feature live music, games, and of course hot dogs prepared in styles other than Chicago-style.
This family friendly event serves about 35,000 hot dogs each year and there’s something on the menu for everyone! Familiar Vienna Beef restaurants will be attending the event as well, including Edzo’s, Frannies Beef and Catering, Robinson’s Ribs, Flashy Hotdogs, Downtown Dogs, Big Bob and Fritzys, Byron’s Hot Dogs, and more.
The event is free to attend, with a $5 suggested donation at the entrance. You can also purchase Dog Dollars to save up to 20%. To relish the savings or for more details, check out www.ChicagoHotDogFest.com. Proceeds from the fest will fund educational programming at the Chicago History Museum. We look forward to seeing you there in August!
Nick Sideris is proud to continue to pay homage to his father Chris, who started the family business with a couple of restaurants from the mid-sixties to the mid-eighties. Even earlier, Chris honed his skills and learned from the best as a waiter at the legendary Berghoff’s and Blackhawk restaurants. After those first few decades, Chris and Nick opened a new place in 1986.
Now about thirty years later, Nick, his sisters Pam and Kathy, and long time employees: Sam, Noe, and George, have perpetuated Papa Chris’ Place into a neighborhood icon. Generations of customers celebrate birthdays and anniversaries, while others just come in for good food and some interesting conversation. Papa Chris’ Place has become that habit forming food emporium that is a cornerstone of many communities. Even the side street has been named “Papa Chris’ Place” as an endearing reminder.
Vienna Beef hot dogs have been a long time menu favorite which also features their gyros, ribs, chicken, and homemade Italian beef. Great food with passionate people who care are key pieces to what makes Papa Chris’ achieve longevity. This is why we acknowledge and congratulate Nick, the Sideris family and staff as we welcome Papa Chris’ Place into the Vienna Beef Hot Dog Hall of Fame. From all of us at Vienna, we wish Papa Chris’ much continued success.
After honing their restaurant skills at Ashland Gyros from 1977 into the 90’s, Robert and Miriam Sarantopulos opened Markella’s Gyros in Oak Forest in 1994. Named after their daughter, Markella’s has become an iconic neighborhood favorite. Voted as having the best burger in the area; and known for their Vienna Beef hot dogs, Ditka “monster” polish sausages, and, of course, their gyros; it’s easy to understand how people keep coming back.
As Miriam points out, “We care about all of our customers and make them feel welcome.” They are inspirational with that recipe for success; serving great food, caring for their customers and being an active part of the community. Markella’s helps sponsor Down in the Southland, which supports Down Syndrome children events. In addition, they are active with Oak Forest Cheerleading, VFW Ladies Auxiliary and other community service projects. Robert and Miriam have been dedicated to their restaurant and community from the very beginning and those values have been passed down to their daughter, Markella, who works and manages alongside them.
These are some of the reasons why Vienna Beef feels so strongly about acknowledging these deserving foodservice businesses. Therefore, it is with great pride that we thank and welcome Markella’s Gyros into the Vienna Beef Hot Dog Hall of Fame. From all of us at Vienna, we wish Robert, Miriam and Markella much continued success.
For over six decades, a small hot dog stand with old umbrellaed picnic tables outside has been a stalwart member of the Ashland Avenue landscape feeding several generations of regular customers, neighbors and passers by.
Mervyn Dukatte along with original partner Donald Marsalle started the Donald Duk’s Red Hots back in 1954. By ’57, they had four locations with three more on the way when Walt Disney Productions from California filed a trademark law suit against Donald and Duk. Eager to just get on with their business, Dukatte and Marsalle decided to shorten the name to Duk’s Red Hots. Sixty years later the flagship stand on Ashland remains today; and Vienna® Beef has chosen to pay homage to their loyalty and perseverance by inducting Duk’s Red Hots into the Vienna® Beef Hot Dog Hall of Fame.
With manager, Carol Chavez running the show for the past ten years, Duk’s has continued to provide Vienna® Beef hot dogs, polish sausage, burgers and pickles; complimenting other menu creations and sandwiches to their large north side customer base. Carol and Duk’s have been involved in the Humble Heart program of feeding the homeless; while Merv has had continuous involvement with animal protection and sheltering programs.
Duk’s has quietly been one of Chicago’s ‘gold nugget’ great old hot dog stands doing their thing for over sixty three years and counting. It is with great admiration and pride that all of us at Vienna® say congratulations to Merv and Carol, and send best wishes for much continued success.
On October 6th, 1991, Alex and Wendy Villarreal opened “an old school hot dog joint.” After all, they met in high school working at a local Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant. Cozzi Corner opened and a year later they were married. For the past quarter of a century they have had good times, four kids, and are now celebrating a 25th anniversary with each other while providing great food and conversation with their customers in Downers Grove.
Customers love “their Vienna® Beef hotdogs, fries, and Green River,” in addition to their other menu favorites. Wendy even keeps in contact with her very first employee. They have a cruise night car show on Tuesday evenings and support many local charities and fundraisers. Wendy and Alex’s two sons, AJ and Zach work at Cozzi Corner, with the younger Jack and Katie soon to be added to the working team.