By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)
The news yesterday was stupefying for Chicago aficionados of “encased meats” and those who enjoy long waits to get something to eat: Hot Doug’s, the so-called “sausage superstore,” will serve its last dog this fall.
A collective wail spread through the food-loving community, a demographic that never ceases to amaze me with their quest for edible products that are unabashedly hip, generally expensive and usually requiring a lengthy wait to purchase. This aptly-named Chicago online source even reports on the “reaction” by Chicago’s food community to the closing on what basically is an upscale hot dog stand.
I pray those who will crave a Hot Doug’s rattlesnake dog topped with fois gras will find a suitable alternative when the establishment shuts for good. (In the full disclosure department: I dined at Hot Doug’s once and recall the dog and fries were pretty good, but not worth the 45-minute wait.)
But back to the purpose of this post: Hot Doug’s is located in Avondale, and fortunately, media reports on the story — from both traditional and digital outlets — identify the establishment as being in Avondale.
It’s where I’ve lived the past 14 years, a neighborhood often overshadowed by its sister neighborhood to the south, Logan Square. Avondale is what Brooklyn is to Manhattan, what St. Paul is to Minneapolis: Grittier, edgier and perhaps to some, less cultured and less expensive. Many never heard of Avondale, or just lumped the neighborhood in with its wealthier neighbor.
But perceptions — like real estate values — change over time, and Avondale is now hip. Read this Chicago Sun-Times piece for details.
Not to knock Logan Square: Susan and I lived in a wonderful apartment in a greystone on Logan Boulevard for eight years and were very content. But it wasn’t ours, and when time came to purchase, we found a wonderful home in Avondale — just a block north of the formal boundary between the two neighborhoods.
In fact, we’ve been in our Avondale home a little longer than owner Doug Sohn has held down counter duties as Hot Doug’s. So, we were pioneers of living in a neighborhood on the cusp of cool even before Mr. Sohn.
So, thanks Mr. Sohn for helping to build awareness for Avondale as the next bastion of hipness. But remember, we were here first.