Thursday, April 6, 2017

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

Fluky's Red Hots original hot dog stand on Maxwell Street in Chicago. 1929
Fluky's founder Abe "Fluky" Drexler first opened 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, 1932
On April 16, 1932, a second Fluky's was opened, and then in 1935 a third store was opened, and a fourth in 1936.
Fluky's Hot Dog Shoppe (1936)
156 West Divison Street, Chicago
1906 North Ogden Avenue, Chicago
3551 West Roosevelt Road, Chicago
6716 North Sheridan Road, Chicago 



Addressing a question about why the Fluky's on Lawrence Avenue is never mentioned.

NOTE: This is the listing for Flukey's Bar-Be-Cue at 3414 West Lawrence Avenue from the 1955 Chicago White Pages. It is not Fluky's Hot Dogs, even if they sold hot dogs. See the spelling of the name Flukey's.






Chicago Tribune, Wednesday, April 13, 1955. Here the business name is spelled as "Flukey's Bar-B-Q. Unsure if they spelled it in a shorter format to save money in this Tribune Notice. 



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 goodwill 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, 6732 North Western Avenue, Chicago, Illinois.
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 Rogers Park neighborhood of the West Ridge community in Chicago (not in Rogers Park). There was a long thin counter at the large windows to stand and eat, facing Western Avenue.

Fluky's opened at 9645 North Milwaukee Avenue, at Golf Road, in Niles sometime in the 1980s.
In 1998 Fluky's moved 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 Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

45 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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    2. The ladies on Western Ave seemed to always be there when I visted from LA!

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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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    3. Jonathan, we have that in common... my grandparents lived on the same block, and it was my grandfather who used to take me to Fluky's all the time!

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

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    1. My Dad knew flucky since the West Side , I worked there from the time it opened with so many of my friends including Fluky and Jack, Jordan and Al miss them all and miss those wonderful days of my early teens!!!!

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  5. 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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  6. 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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  7. 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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  8. 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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    3. Wish we knew who this was ?? I worked for Abe during the early 60s, my name is Allen Mals. Now writing my stories as a gift for my children. Would love to talk, share stories and of course any pictures. I have fond memories of slicing pickles with Abe and working along side Jack.

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  9. 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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    3. There was a Fluky's in Los Angeles, at least for a little while. It was on Sunset Blvd., near Gower, if memory serves me correctly. I think it was in the late '80s, while I was living in Hollywood. I went there several times, having grown up going to the Western Ave. location in Chicago.

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  10. 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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  11. 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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  12. Fluky's on Western was the one I went to, I think, in the 1970s They sponsored our women's volleyball team - maybe at Pottawatomie Park? and I had a nifty red shirt.

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  13. In the early 80's, I worked at Carr's Honda just south of Flukes on Western, I went in to order breakfast sandwiches and mentioned to the wonderfully nice lady behind the counter how clean the restaurant looked...she had me go around back of the counter with her and she gave me an impromptu tour of the kitchen, showing me how clean it really was, absolutely immaculate!!! How could a restaurant that had that location and that reputation close down?!?!
    (I'll have to read some of the other posts to find out what the heck happened��)

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    1. Hog Dog bubble gum was made in Chicago
      By LEAF Confectionery at.Cicero, & Divison.
      Trivia

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  14. Worked on Western and helped open Lincolnwood from 88-90. Occasionally helped in Niles, Northbrook, and a few Taste of Chicago as well. Still have some memorabilia and might open a food truck serving Chicago dogs and Polishes here in Texas. Good times.

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  15. Flukeys also had a restaurant in the food court at nordstrom on Michigan ave.

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  16. I worked at Fluky’s from 1970-1974 on Western south of Pratt!

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  17. I worked at this same location from 1973 to 1975.

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  18. I worked at Wolfy’s shortly after it opened on Peterson across from Mather HS, around 1968.
    It was owned by Mickey Becker, who they said was the brother in law to Drexler. Great first job experience!

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  19. I grew up in Albany Park between 1954 and 1959. I remember 3 hot dog joints. One was Mutt & Jeff's, right next to the Alba Bowl on Kedzie Avenue. The other two were on Lawrence Avenue. One was Maury's, at Lawrence and Lawndale. The other was Fluky's, on Lawrence between Kedzie and Spaulding. That location is never mentioned in the article. How come??

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    1. I addressed this in the article. From 1955 Chicago White Pages, I include the phonebook listing in the article. It was "Flukeys Bar-Be-Cue" (not Fluky's) at 3414 West Lawrence Avenue. It's not Fluky's Hot Dogs, even if they sold hot dogs.

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  20. Senn HS 1972, Nothing comes close to memories. 1 dog everything, celery salt - 1 polish heavy onions - and a fry. Been living near Seattle for 50 years. Went to Flukys every time I went back until the closed. Those were some good times.

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  21. Under Jack's ownership he started having his hot dogs made in Wisconsin and combining them with the Vienna dogs. When Vienna realized that they were selling him the same amount of buns but not dogs they pulled the Vienna franchise. All the hot dogs are made specifically for him not from Vienna

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    1. Wow! Never heard that story before! Jack was a businessman!

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  22. My First Job was also at Fluky's west side of Western Ave. Abe would drive us home if we closed to be sure we made it home safely. Abe and Jack were amazing bosses!

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  23. Grew up in RP and lived Fluky’s in Western (west side of street). Now live in Petaluma California, where we have a hotdog place called Roy’s Chicago dogs. They import most of their ingredients from Chicago, including Vienna gardiniera! Heading there today for a dog… thanks for the memories! šŸŒ­

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  24. My grandmother worked at the original stand on Maxwell street. Met my grandfather while he was working at another hotdog stand across the street. She used to take me and my brother to the stand on Western (west side of street) and Fluky would fill our pockets with hotdog bubble gum. He would call me “little Esther” because as a little kid I resembled my grandmother. That was probably 50 years ago. We had my grandparents 50th anniversary party at the stand in Northbrook, hotdogs were my grandfather’s favorite food.

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  25. My grandaunt Rose worked as a waitress at the Fluky’s that used to be on Max and Halstead street in Chicago. People knew her as “The Hot Dog Queen”.

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  26. Barry LAZOW
    Grew up in west rogers park on 6800 block of Rockwell. LOVED Flukys. Went there all the time. I actually worked at Rubys on Rockwell when I was 14 or 15. Also great dogs, milk shakes, polish dogs and burgers

    Great memories

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  27. I worked for Flukys in 1973. It was a great place to work as a kid. Abe and Jack Drexler were the nicest people I ever worked for. You were like a big family there. I don’t think Abe ever met a person he didn’t like or anybody that didn’t like him. I met a lot of people who knew them. A whole lot. I remember the annual thanksgiving day Day shift vs Night shift football game and then hit chocolate afterwards. Thank you and god bless the Drexlers for all memories while working there.

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  28. Does anyone k is where to buy the cheese sauce flukes on western used for the French fries?

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