Thursday, May 30, 2019

The Red Hot Ranch at 3114 West Devon Avenue, Chicago, Illinois.

In 1952, Isabel & Al Deutch opened the Red Hot Ranch (1952-1985) on Devon Avenue between Albany Avenue and Troy Street in Chicago's West Rogers Park neighborhood of the West Ridge community. 

Little did they know they were creating a hot dog legend that would be remembered for over 70 years.
"The Red Hot Ranch" watercolor by William Rubin. 1974
This one-of-a-kind painting was Rubin's creation for my sister.
Isabel hired many neighborhood kids. She was like a second mom to all. Mailmen started and ended their routes there, grabbing a cup of coffee in the morning and a hot dog, burger, or other items for lunch. Those were the days of Vienna hot dogs in a natural casing, which I didn't like for some reason. Isabel would peal the casing off of the hot dog, then serve it to me.

Al was a chemical engineer who gladly worked the stand during the late shift, often going past midnight and wrapping those Vienna hot dogs and fries together. It was the hangout best remembered for its vitality as a happening little shack and the center of the neighborhood activity for many years.

The Ranch's seating consisted of no-back stools around three of the walls in the front, perhaps 20-24 spots. Special customers, three at a time, could sit out of the way in the back corner of the kitchen. Isabel, a kind soul, would give kids from Green School (K-6) a cup of soup on freezing days. The non-carbonated NEDLOG (Golden spelled backward) Grape and Orange brand drinks were special to the Ranch.

The Ranch is gone now but will always be a part of Chicago's north side and suburban cultures. 

Vienna Beef inducted the Red Hot Ranch on September 24, 2010.

Copyright © 2019 by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D. All rights reserved.


  1. I would get a bag of wonderful (but greasy) fries and eat them on my bike ride home to Pratt and Richmond. SuperFuel!

  2. Great place and good memories. Wouldn't mind a dog and fries right now!

  3. Great memories of the fries, with the bottom of the bag completely saturated with grease. ....sounds gross, but it was heaven

  4. This was my first "real" job. Al would pay us 90 cents an hour, and on payday, Isabelle would come in and sneak us all another $20-$30 to make up for Al's "frugality". Great first job - met many a new friend from Mather H.S. (I went to Sullivan) and I am still in touch with some of them, although we're all in our 60's now.

  5. I love hearing the stories.Isabel and Al were my parents. I worked at the Ranch every day, after school. The Ranch was my dads dream to open, and became my moms full time job. Dad who was a chemical engineer days, went in every nite to close it up and drive the kids, who worked nights, home. My memories are
    wonderful and I love how many great memories other people have of The Ranch. I know there is another Red Hot Ranch now, in the city. I wonder if they knew the original one, owned my parents.

  6. Great article, Dr. Gale, but wrong address. The Red Hot Ranch was at 3114 W Devon, not 3118. I just photographed the building today. I'm glad the 92 year old structure still stands, albeit not as a hot dog stand!

  7. Thank you, Frank Lemond. I corrected it in the article.


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