Thursday, April 6, 2017

The History of Fluky's Hot Dog Stands & Restaurant in Chicago, Illinois.

Fluky's founder Abe "Fluky" Drexler first started in 1929 on Maxwell and Halsted Streets in Chicago. They carried all the character and romance for which Chicago Street Merchants were famous, and Fluky's reputation as having the best "Hot Dog" in the city started to grow.
Fluky's Grand Opening on Maxwell and Halsted Streets in Chicago. April 16, 1929
In 1932, a second Fluky's was opened, and then in 1935, a third and a fourth in 1936. Fluky's became known for its "Depression Sandwich" - a hot dog with mustard, relish, onion, pickles, pepper, lettuce, tomatoes and French fries FOR ONLY 5¢!  The "Garden on a Bun" was the depression sandwich without the hot dog and cost only 2¢.
Fluky's reputation was built on good food, good service and good will through the hard times of the depression. Many youngsters and adults who didn't have the nickel were fed anyway.

With the coming of World War II came meat rationing. This made it difficult to get the quality product Fluky's needed, and within a short time, Fluky's closed its doors at three of its locations and the fourth was the only store that was to continue until 1955. 

On February 18, 1964 Fluky's again opened its doors, after 9 years of silence. The opening was greeted with a tremendous outpouring of warmth and fondness from thousands who had many fond memories.
In just a few months, Fluky's was the largest Hot Dog stand in the Chicago area. Except Fluky's was no longer a Hot Dog Stand. It was now housed in a large glass-enclosed structure, previously unknown in the Hot Dog industry of push-carts and street stands.

Fluky's had made a giant step toward upgrading the Hot Dog business. The new building was on the west side of Western Avenue at 6732 North Western Avenue in the West Ridge community of Chicago (not in Rogers Park). There was a long thin counter at the very large windows to stand and eat which faced Western Avenue.
In 1998 Fluky's move to the east side of Western Avenue at 6821 N. Western Avenue in the West Ridge community of Chicago, where the new location offered a drive-thru. Fluky's closed on February 13, 2006. 
Abe Drexler's son, Jack opened a Fluky's in the Wal-Mart at 5630 W Touhy Avenue, Niles, Illinois. Many say that it is not the same. Perhaps they are just being nostalgic. Your comments are welcome.
Let's not forget the Hot Dog Gum  given with counter orders.
Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

22 comments:

  1. Loved Fluky's. The new store on Western was great and real fancy for a hot dog stand. The women that worked there were still giving me hot dog gum even as an adult just as they did when I was about 5. To bad the family lost interest in running the place.

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    1. the owner son did not loose interest, he was dedicated how ever he was not secured financially , and do to a divorce he was forced to sell what he created.. at least this is my understanding he does still get royalty from the name from the walmart store that is what the Spanish man who was running it told me... I miss that place grilled onion on polish that was burnt on the grill...yummy

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  2. I grew up in Rogers Park and with Fluky's.

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    1. So did I and I will never forget the original one when I wasn't tall enough to see over the counter to order at first. As time went by, I was and then we moved out of state. Came back and they had moved across the street! But they still had some of the same employees and the hot dog gum!

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  3. Fluky was the sweetest man. My first job western and pratt.loved them hotdogs gum

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    1. Fluky's on Western & Pratt was my very first job in 1965. Since I lived down the street at Campbell & North Shore it was pretty convenient for me.

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    2. My first job, too, and around the same time. Also lived on Campbell, near Peterson Avenue. Grandparents lived on 6700 block of Campbell, near Fluky's.

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  4. I agree. Fluky was a really nice man. I worked for him for a few years when I was young. He taught me a lot. BTW, his name was Abe Drexler.

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    1. Hi Neil, I think what they were saying is that Fluky's last name is 'Drexler' not 'Drexle'. Nice article. Thanks for the memories.

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  5. Yes their last name is Drexler.
    Jack ran the location on Western.
    Fluky liked to welcome everyone!

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  6. I've tried both Fluky's in Rogers Park (1980's) and the one in Walmart in Niles and I agree they are not the same Rogers Park was by far the best and I thought it did really well considering it was pretty much across the street from McDonald's.

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  7. When Fluky's first opened on Western not a whole lot of people knew about it. When he had his Grand Opening some time later, everyone knew about it.

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  8. Mr Fluky used to always go to my sons school, Decatur Classical on Holloween and he would bring his hot dog wagon. It was great!!! I also used to go to Flukys when it was on the other side of Western Ave.with my Dad and sister. Always went there in my childhood, and then in my adulthood.

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  9. I too worked at Fluky’s, but the story fails to mention the Northbrook location we opened in the 1980’s. I have fond memories of those days. Enjoyed working for Jack and Alan. I now own my own Vienna Beef Hot Dog place in Florida.

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    1. Wish I knew who this was! Would love to visit when I come down to Florida!

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    2. There was also one on Milwaukee Near Golf which is now Goody's and for a short time there was one in Lincolnwood Town Center in the food court. I want to was they the one on the east side of Western opened in the late 70's or early 80's, I ate there before I moved in 83. Abe would be there and I think Jack was running it. I do miss the place.

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  10. Like many others I started my job at Fluky's the day after my 14th Birthday. $1.00 an hour to start, they called it trial pay! Then after a couple weeks you went to $1.25. After graduating U of I in 1977, I soon moved to Los Angeles where I am today. When I first moved out here Jack Drexler and I flirted with the idea of opening Fluky's out here.

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    1. I guess I beat ya all!! I remember Fluky’s hot dog stand on the corner of Maxwell and Halsted as a wonderful operation!!
      Loved dem dogs and fries!!

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    2. We are cousins of the Drexlers. My grandpa and Fluky were first cousins. My mom grew up with Jackie. I recall being around 6 and standing at counter while Fluky would ask me if i wanted a redhot. Then would bring me hotdog gums. The hotdogs were awesome. I miss the place. Im in Florida now and miss those hotdogs and the gums.

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  11. My dad claimed he dated Frieda Fluky in high school, but he was famous for making me the straight guy for his jokes. I would argue to the death (even with Mr. Fluky) that what my dad said was true, much to my father's amusement. I took my 3 kids to the one on N. Western Ave when it was on the east side of the street. Excellent dogs and part of a rich, Chicago history!

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  12. My grandma lived on Maplewood, and my sis and I would walk to Fluky's on Western and bring home hot dogs, fries, and our favorite hot dog gum. The best dogs ever! Those were the days.

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