A few years ago the Salvation Army held its annual regional gathering, we call it ‘Congress’, in Schaumburg IL.
It is suburbs, but it is Chicago. When you travel and people ask where are you from you don’t say ‘Schaumburg’. You’d only get a polite uninterested ‘uh huh’. So anyone from the Chicago suburbs with any sense says ‘Chicago’. It sounds better than ‘Berwyn’.
During Congress part of my job was to stick close to one of our visiting dignitaries who, as often happens at these events, didn’t have a chance to eat lunch. Busy greeting people. A good thing, but it leaves you hungry.
Nearby the Schaumburg Convention Center he had spotted a place advertising Chicago hot dogs. He asked if we could go there. We did. He got a hot dog. He was happy. I had done my job.
Tonight I remembered that hot dog and we visited Frankly Yours. It’s at the corner of Algonquin and Thorntree Lane, just east of Meacham.
A nice warm evening. We sat outside at one of the tables. Serenaded by going-home traffic along Algonquin. Bathed in the evening sun and wafting zephyrs.
Why hadn’t we stopped before? The fries are hand-cut and [rant warning] do not have that awful coating so many places use. Someone’s told me it’s cornstarch with whatever else the fry cook/restaurant chain thinks is a good idea. It’s not.
Frankly Yours was good. Hard to get to the hot dog while the fries are hot, crisp. The sun’s shining. Warm breezes. Vehicles hum along the street. This is a good moment in America.
Hidden by the styrofoam cup are her fried mushrooms. They were okay. But the fries. And the hot dogs … the way they were meant to be. And Coke is served here. It’s taken me years to realize that Coke rules. Pepsi drools.
I brought our trays inside, discarded the cups and wrappers. An old guy was sitting in a booth near the door. The boss. I thanked him, told him the hot dogs were great. He grinned and said of course they’re Vienna.
Of course. Vienna Red Hots. With neon relish. Red tomato slices. Yellow mustard. A piece of art.
Our son Matt claims Gene and Jude’s as his favorite out in these parts. He might be right. I know that when we are in the city we gravitate to Byron’s on Irving Park, close to Sheridan. But I rate Frankly Yours fries superior. Sorry, Byron.