You’ll always be a wiener at these hot spots
Mundelein, 3/23/01 --Pioneer Press Columnist, Millie Maughton.
Updated: November 2, 2011 3:02AM
Although summer is winding down, we are still enjoying ice cream by the cartons, juicy watermelons, fresh summer salads and, of course, anything grilled.
While I love a good juicy burger with all the trimmings or a chicken and veggie shish kebob, there’s something about hot dogs. Why -- according to a certain car manufacturer’s old commercial -- they are just as American as baseball and apple pie
In my very unscientific poll, most folks around here stop in a few places around town for a succulent hot dog. For example, Franks for the Memories (a play on words of the song “Thanks for the Memory” made famous by Bob Hope) is located on Hawley, just east of the Post Office, and has been a Mundelein institution for almost 30 years. They offer a nice selection of charbroiled hot dogs, burgers, sandwiches and sides, but they have made a huge name for themselves with their buffalo wings. Go figure.
Manager Mark Elser, a Franks employee for 22 years -- starting at the ripe old age of 15 -- explained that the original owners opened the business back in 1984, selling Sahlen hot dogs (Western New York’s equivalent to Vienna Red Hots here), but then were given the idea and recipe for hot wings from relatives in Buffalo and now, as Elser put it, “wings is the dominant food group.” He did confirm that summer months still help them sell anywhere from 50-100 hot dogs a day. And those recent days when many lost their electricity? Yep, that helped business since Franks never lost power.
Which reminds me. Although most people around here refer to them as hot dogs, franks is the shortened version of frankfurters. Some people refer to these all-American treats as wieners, as in the true hot dog experience in the city, the Wiener Circle. Whether you call them hot dogs, franks, or wieners, there are still other places closer to home to savor them.
Over at Luke’s of Mundelein on Lake St. you can find an assortment of dogs and sausages as well as burgers, chicken, subs and their famous Italian beef sandwiches. On their website, they even have a fan’s YouTube clip partaking in one of their char jumbo dog with tomato, onion, relish, a pickle spear and mustard on a poppy seed bun. While I like all of that as well as ketchup (blasphemous for most hot dog connoisseurs) on mine, you can enjoy yours as you like.
Owner Mike Majestic estimates that their hot dogs sell as well as their Italian beef sandwiches, around 30-40 percent of their business. While they have only been in Mundelein since 1999, Luke’s has been around for 40 years with locations in the city, south suburbs and north/northwest area. He noted that they have such loyal customers, it’s easier to remember their orders than their names. In fact, Majestic said, the cooks will recognize a car pulling up and begin to make that customer’s order before they have even parked.
So enjoy the rest of the summer and indulge in a wiener or dog or frank along with those other tasty summer treats.
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