kimm wrote:If you do an Italian beef sandwich, I think many a non-beef eater would appreciate a chicken version. Plus, it's a lighter option for lunch than a hot dog or beefy sandwich.
Please don't take this personally, but that's an exceedingly poor idea. The various parts that come together to actually make an italian beef sandwich work so wonderfully simply don't translate 1:1 if you sub in chicken. If you did somehow manage to make one, I still can't see how it'd possibly be a "lighter option" - you're essentially scarfing down a 6" bun dipped in grease and filled with greasy protein. It's just that this protein would have fallen apart into a grainy substrate before serving.
TraceInStoughton wrote:It doesn't take a lot of diverse menu items, lots of square feet, or fancy surroundings to have a profitable Chicago Style Dog restaurant. On River Road near the corner of River Rd. and Grand Avenue in Franklin Park Illinois (near O'Hare") is a very old, very busy, very profitable Dog spot called "Gene and Judes". It would be a great place to visit if anyone is thinking about opening a Chicago Style Dog shop. They send you home with your dogs wrapped in plain wax wrap, in a brown bag. The "decor" hasn't changed since I was a kid in the 70's and my parents even went there when they were kids. Mom is 68 now. It is a gold mine! Amazing and worth a visit.
A favorite of mine is Evanston's "Weiner and Still Champion"
Gus used a winning formula of starting with a solid menu, tapping people that were active on a local forum for advice (and free PR) and taking pages from Hot Doug's playbook by having rotating specials named after people as well as rotating sauces.
The mentions of Hot Doug's are valid too, but it'd be surreal to see that idea translated into a place that seats 200. Hot Doug's has a pair of imitators already in Chicago (Franks 'n Dawgs from last year and now Westminster Dogs, as well) - so, it'd seem that the rotating specials/gourmet forcemeats is something that can sell exceedingly well.
Also: make sure you have tater tots on your menu, please.