Big Daddys hot dog stand opens in Yorkville
By Steve Lord firstname.lastname@example.org July 6, 2013 5:36PM
Lenny Hall, left, the new owner of Big Daddys Dogs in Yorkville, works the counter with two of his sons, Patrick, middle, and Sam, right. | Steve Lord ~ Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 8, 2013 7:13AM
YORKVILLE — Lenny Hall chuckles as he recalls the long-ago beginnings of his new hot dog restaurant here.
“I have a son who has autism, and he always wanted to own a hot dog restaurant,” says Hall, aka Big Daddy, from inside Big Daddys Dogs, on Route 34, just east of Route 47 in Yorkville. “Now he don’t want to work down here.”
No problem. Hall has four sons in total, and two of them do work at Big Daddys Dogs, which is in the small, triangular building that used to house Ugly’s Hot Dogs, which closed about 1½ years ago. Big Daddys has been open for a couple of weeks.
The business is a total family affair. Hall, his wife and sons all put in time the past few months rehabbing the building, dry-walling, painting, installing a new furnace and decorating. The outside got a remake, too, with bright yellow paint, and red and blue trim.
The décor inside is sports themed. It features things he has collected over the years, from a swordfish with a pair of boxer shorts on its sword to an autographed photo of Chicago Blackhawks Hall of Fame goalie Tony Esposito.
As far as the equipment needed to open a restaurant, Hall has been collecting that for years.
When his son first had his dream of opening a restaurant, Hall began hitting auctions, buying up the things he needed.
Hall himself worked as a plumber and pipefitter, contemplating the career change “for quite a few years.”
Hall developed his menu based on three of his favorite hot dog stands in Chicago. He admits he “tried to put in something from each one.”
The Big Daddys menu is simple: two Big Daddys dogs, a single or a double; and three kinds of sausage, Polish, spicy or chicken. There are three sides: tamales, cheese fries and fries.
Oh yeah, the fries. They are fresh cut, and Hall considers them the restaurant’s delicacy.
“We have people coming in for just the fries, they like them so much,” he said.