Thursday, November 16, 2017

Superdawg at Devon, Milwaukee and Nagle Avenues, Chicago, Illinois. A true 1950s dashboard dining classic drive-in.

Drive-in, park, and order from your car. You press the button on the menu board and the control tower inside answers to take your food order. When the meal is ready, a carhop comes out and delivers your food to your car on a tray that hangs from your side windows glass that is partially opened. It's just some awesome fun. Of course "rookies" have the option of going inside to order then sitting at a table inside or at one of the canopy tables outside.

When you are finished eating and wish to have the tray and your garbage taken away so you can leave, you flip a switch on the menu board and the car-hop comes back to get the tray. I personally tip the carhop when my food order is brought out to my car, ensuring a quick tray pickup.

On most weekends, you'll find antique, vintage and old muscle cars. Totally worth the trip!

THE HISTORY OF SUPERDAWG
In May of 1948, Superdawg was established at the corner of Milwaukee, Devon and Nagle in Chicago. Superdawg continues to be family owned and operated in the same location today.
Superdawg under construction in 1948.


Superdawg - August 20, 1963.
Maurie Berman, a recently returned G.I. from World War II, married his high school sweetheart Florence (Flaurie), in August of 1947. Maurie was attending Northwestern University, studying to be a CPA, while recent Northwestern grad Flaurie was teaching in the Chicago Public Schools. With their "school-year" schedules, the newlyweds wanted to open a business that they could operate during the summer months. Many other returning G.I.'s were opening roadside hot dog carts and Maurie and Flaurie decided to open their own roadside hot dog stand, one that would be as unique and distinctive as they were.


Maurie designed an architecturally distinct, 20' x 12' building topped with two 12 foot hot dog icons to beckon hungry passersby with their winking and blinking eyes. Maurie and Flaurie then created a proprietary, secret recipe to set themselves apart from the other hot dog stands popping up around the city. With a distinctive look and delicious recipe, they were almost ready to open. All they needed was a name. Inspired by the superheroes featured in the newly-created, popular comics of the '40's, Maurie and Flaurie named their signature product and restaurant. It was not a wiener — not a frankfurter — not a red hot — but their own exclusive SUPERDAWG. On a poppy seed bun, they place the hot dog {no pork, no veal, no cereal, no fillers}, formally dressed with all the trimmings {golden mustard, tangy piccalilli, kosher dill pickle, sour green tomato wedge, chopped Spanish onions and memorable hot peppers}, escorted by their often imitated, but never equaled, Superfries.

In 1948, Milwaukee and Devon was the end of the streetcar line. With the forest preserve and Whealan Pool across the street, the area was a great destination for swimming families and cruisin' teens. Kids could ride the streetcar for a nickel, and stop at Superdawg where a Superdawg sandwich and drink cost only 32¢. Many times, on their way home, they would stop and ask what they could buy for a dime. If they were a few cents short, Maurie and Flaurie would give them what they wanted and told them to bring the money back the next time they stopped, which they never failed to do.
In 1950 Maurie passed the CPA exam, but he and Flaurie decided to keep operating Superdawg and to open year-round in order to retain the outstanding personnel that had become so invaluable to fulfilling the Superdawg ideals. When Superdawg first opened, the electronic speaker system had not been invented. Carhops went out to the cars to take orders and customers signaled that they were ready for their trays to be picked up by turning on their headlights.

In the early 1950's the "carhop in a wire" electronic speaker system was installed, and Maurie designed the glowing blue "control tower" where the carhop sits to answer the switchboard and take orders. As Superdawg grew into a successful business, Maurie and Flaurie found time to raise their family of three children (although not on Whoopercheesies alone).

The Superdawg trademark was registered in 1984.

Throughout the years, small changes have been made to the menu, like the addition of the Whoopskidawg in 1989 and the Superchic in 1991. However, the Superdawg recipe, the original trademark figures (continuing to flirtatiously wink at each other), and the drive-in concept have not changed. Customers can still order from their car and have a carhop deliver their order on a tray. Maurie and Flaurie's attention to quality products and service, preparing each customer's meal to order, affirming the belief that the customer is always right, and insisting that the customer should always be treated as family continues today.
In 1999, Superdawg underwent a makeover while retaining the original building and spirit. The classic '40's drive-in was updated with the addition of neon-studded canopies across the parking lot, a crisp new speaker system and a cozy, indoor dining room. The original rooftop figures were refurbished so that they can continue to serve as a Chicago landmark for years to come.
In May of 2009 ground was broken for a second location 11 miles north on Milwaukee Avenue in Wheeling, IL. Every effort was taken to recreate the look and feel of the Milwaukee and Devon location. The blue tower, the canopies on the parking lot along with the ordering speakers, the neon and diamonds along the building and canopies, the tile inside and most importantly, the trademark Maurie and Flaurie figures on the roof all were painstakingly incorporated into the plans. Much of the equipment was custom built as well. Over the next six months, anticipation grew for a new Superdawg to open. In January, 2010, Maurie, Flaurie and the rest of the family were proud to open the Wheeling, Illinois restaurant.

Since 1948, Maurie, Flaurie, their children and grandchildren have scrupulously adhered to one goal: "always to serve you in a manner that will make you want to return – and bring your friends, and new generations, with you". From the bottom of our pure beef hearts... THANKS FOR STOPPING®.

Maurie Berman died of heart problems on May 17, 2015 at 89 years old.

Superdawg Chicago on the Travel Channel's Hot Dog Paradise  


NOTE: I am addressing the comments of many people; "Superdawg is too expensive!"

Superdawg has their own secret recipe for their Superdawgs, which are 6 to a pound hot dogs. No other hot dog stand, anywhere, serves a Superdawg - it's one-of-a-kind! Other famous hot dog joints like Gene & Jude's use Vienna's mass produced hot dogs but they are 10 or 12 to a pound. I've heard people over the years saying that Superdawg is too expensive... so I personally called a dozen famous Vienna hot dog joints in the Chicago area and they all use 10 or 12 to a pound hot dogs. Considering that you would need to buy two hot dogs from Gene & Jude's to equal one Superdawg, makes Superdawg a few cents cheaper! Don't forget that Superdawg also includes and order of fries, as do some, but not all, of the other joints I called.


by Superdawg
Edited by Neil Gale, Ph.D.

5 comments:

  1. Our go to place for hot dogs. Its the best!!

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  2. This is a wonderful post, Neil! As a third generation member of the Superdawg family, thank you, and thanks for stopping! I do need to correct an important point..our Superdawg is not made by Vienna Beef. It is 6 to a pound, all beef, and made to our special proprietary recipe, and of course, you can’t eat one anywhere else but at our Chicago or Wheeling stand. Thanks again, from the bottom of our pure beef heart!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Laura for your assistance. I removed the portion that was incorrect. BTW... I have your wonderful sweatshirt. Everytime I wear it, here in the Illinois Metro - St. Louis Area, People keep asking me about Superdawg.

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  3. If we remember correctly, from back when I 1st worked there, the original Flukey's hotdog, circa 1967, was 8 to the pound.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have a t-shirt that I put on in my town of Carlsbad Ca. Always get a thumbs up from a past Chicagoan

    ReplyDelete

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