Thursday, November 16, 2017

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

I am addressing some comments from 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 and is 100% pure beef.
Other famous hot dog joints like Gene & Jude's use Vienna's mass-produced hot dogs and are 12 to a pound. Half the weight of a Superdawg. 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 (North, South, East, West and some suburbs) and they all use 12 to a pound dogs. 

Considering that you would need to buy two hot dogs or one double dog from Gene & Jude's to equal one Superdawg, it makes Superdawg a few cents cheaper! Don't forget that Superdawg also includes an order of fries, as do some other hot dog joints, but not all of the ones I called did. 
FYI: Vienna NEVER produced Superdawg's Hot Dogs.

Steaming a hot dog is the original and only way to cook a Vienna Chicago Hot Dog. Vienna

A Chicago-style hot dog doesn't dictate how the hot dog is cooked; boiled, char-broiled, grilled, or God-Forbid microwaved. As long as the hot dog contains ALL of these ingredients:

An ALL-BEEF hot dog on a poppy seed bun, top with yellow mustard, raw chopped onions, green sweet pickle relish, a "Claussen's" Kosher dill pickle spear, fresh tomato slices, sport peppers, and a dash of celery salt.
Superdawg DOES NOT serve the traditional "Chicago Dog." It's missing the celery salt and has a pickled green tomato wedge instead of fresh red tomato slices. I personally enjoy the sour green tomato and when I order a green tomato, I usually ask for two.

Drive in, park, and order from your car. You press the button on the menu board, and the control tower inside will answer 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 the glass of your side windows that is partially opened. It's just some awesome fun. Of course, "rookies" can go inside to order and sit at a table inside or at one of the canopy tables outside.

When you are finished eating in your car and are ready to leave, flip a switch on the menu board, and the carhop returns to get the tray. I tip the carhop when my food order is brought to my car, ensuring a quick tray pickup if they are busy.

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

Superdawg brings a '50s-style red ketchup squeeze bottle on their tray and salt and napkins to your car's window. 

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 exact location today.
Superdawg was under construction in 1948.
Maurie & Flaurie
Superdawg - August 20, 1963.
Maurie Berman, a recently returned G.I. from World War II, married his high school sweetheart Florence (Flaurie) in August 1947. Maurie attended Northwestern University, studying to be a CPA, while a recent Northwestern graduate, Flaurie, taught at the Chicago Public Schools. With their "school-year" schedules, the newlyweds wanted to open a business they could operate during the summer. 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 that pop up around the city. They were almost ready to open with a distinctive look and delicious recipe. All they needed was a name. Inspired by the superheroes featured in the newly-created, popular comics of the 1940s, Maurie and Flaurie named their signature product and restaurant.

A Superdawg is not a wiener, frankfurter or a red hot, but their own secret recipe. Our Superdawgs are placed in a poppy seed bun, and then the all-beef Superdawg (no pork, veal or fillers) is placed in the bun. Formally dressed in all the trimmings; golden mustard, tangy piccalilli, kosher dill pickle, Red tomato wedge, chopped Spanish onions and memorable hot sport peppers, escorted by their often imitated, but never equaled, Superfries. 

In 1948, the Milwaukee and Devon store opened at the end of the streetcar line. The forest preserve and Whealan Pool across the street made the area an excellent destination for swimming families and cruising teens. Kids could ride the streetcar for a nickel and stop at Superdawg, where a Superdawg sandwich and drink cost only 32¢. On their way home, they often stopped and asked what they could buy for a dime. If they were a few cents short, Maurie and Flaurie would give them what they wanted and tell them to bring what they owed the next time they came, which they never failed to do.

In 1950, Maurie passed the CPA exam. Flaurie decided to keep operating Superdawg and to open year-round to retain the outstanding personnel that had become invaluable to fulfilling the Superdawg ideals. When Superdawg opened, the electronic speaker system had yet to be 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 1950s, 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).

Superdawg Drive-In opened a restaurant at 5110 N Western, Chicago 1950.
The Superdawg trademark was registered in 1984. Throughout the years, minor 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 like family continues today. 
This photograph is not photoshopped.

In 1999, Superdawg underwent a makeover while retaining the original building and spirit. The classic '40s drive-in was updated with neon-studded canopies across the parking lot, a crisp new speaker system, and a cozy indoor dining room. The original rooftop figures were refurbished to continue serving as a Chicago landmark for years.
In May 2009, the 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 locations. The blue tower, the canopies on the parking lot, 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. The anticipation grew over six months 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 from heart issues on May 17, 2015, at 89 years old.

Superdawg Chicago on the Travel Channel's Hot Dog Paradise  

by Superdawg
Edited by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.


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

  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!

    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.

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

  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

  5. When I was active on Yelp, Superdawg got a 3-star rating from me. I stopped in with my dad [R.I.P.] after one of his regular medical appointments at Resurrection Hospital's Professional Building.
    I noticed the larger size of the hot dog, but had the feeling that patrons here were not here for the hot dog. Being quite familiar with 'exploitation moviemakers', I perceived this was a still-existing adaptation of “Selling the sizzle, not the steak” {| sausage}. There were | are places out here offering better hot dogs. But I certainly cannot criticize Superdawg for being successful with this scheme.

    1. When you have a blind taste test; a Superdawg vs. Vienna, Superdawg has taste, and Vienna doesn't, no matter how it is prepared, steamed, boiled, char-broiled, or other methods.

  6. Thanks Neil for the thorough description and review of Superdawg. Always a pleasure visiting your web site.

  7. Ah, Superdawg. We didn't live in the neighborhood, but our family doctor was on Milwaukee, and if we were very good (didn't make a fuss about getting a shot), Mom would take us there, after a visit. Loved 'em then, love 'em now.

    One thing, though: I swear that when I was a kid, Maurie was dressed in a Superman costume. When I came back, years later, he was dressed as he is now. Was that real, or a figment of my childish imagination?

  8. My dad Rudy worked there in 1982-84 and it was and still is a legendary story in his life. Mustard, relish, onion, pickle, pepper.. we grew up saying that!


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