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The Devil in the Details

The Devil in the Details

So, when you grow up in Chicago or have lived there for a while, there’s going to be a hot dog somewhere in your life’s tale of adventure. For Alan Katz, the hot dog has come to mean a path to success in an industry he loves and has been devoted to for over 40 years.

The hot dog, once relegated to small storefront shops, was a way for late 19th century East European immigrants to get that first leg up the chain to money and assimilation in Chicago. Through good times, depressions, world wars and culturally shifting neighborhoods, it’s been a strong piece of the culinary landscape. You could always count on having a decent hot dog within a few blocks of where you were no matter where you stood. The hot dog stand may not be as prolific as they once were, but the passion for eating and making a great hot dog has not waned. Hot dogs are now showing up on restaurant menus from sports bars to casual fine dining.

Alan’s route to success in the hot dog world is an interesting tale of an early passion for food that took him to the CIA, hotel kitchens, a small seafood chain and a first try at his own restaurant that didn’t quite make it. Working through these ups and downs prepared him for the leap of faith he took in a small (less than 400 square foot) hot dog stand called Devil Dawgs. His menu innovations and dedication to good service has helped him and his partners parlay this concept into a chain they hope will be swept up by a larger company.

Spiros Zakas, designer

Spiros Zakas, designer