George’s Hot Dogs
Greek & American Food
1876 N Damen Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
It’s about 8:30 p.m. on a Friday night and Wicker Park already has zero parking spaces left. But as you drive a little farther north into Bucktown on Damen Ave, the street gets quieter and less crowded. The outside of George’s Hot Dogs looks no different than any other Chicago diners, with a menu pasted on the outside window and a sign that says “Cash Only,” but this Greek and American food place has been around for more than 60 years. Founded in 1948, George’s Hot Dogs serves everything from gyros to tamales to hot dogs, including some deluxe burgers on a toasted bun for only about $7 (including a heaping amount of fries).
My friend and I both got their ‘Fully Loaded’ Burgers, with a toasted bun, BBQ sauce, and onion rings on the burger. Oh, and my friend asked for a double and… they gave him three patties. I also recommend the Greek fries with feta cheese and seasoning sprinkled on top, it’s delicious! If you aren’t full after eating George’s, you have got to be doing something wrong!
The place, though, was oddly quiet. Online it says that they are open 6 days a week (excluding Sunday) from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., but we went in at 8:30. The only other customer I saw there besides my three friends who came with me was another early to mid-twenty something woman who ordered to-go. Maybe it’s because most their customers thought they were already closed, or maybe late dinnertime isn’t their specialty. But no matter what, I left there feeling satisfied with money still in my pocket.
According to MetroMix, George’s has been owned by Mary and George Ziamparas since the 1970s when they took it over from George’s father. It has been locally and family owned since its inception. They pride themselves on fresh cooked food in order to stay unique from the fast food chain popularity of today. When I went there was only about two people cooking the food and taking money, and we waited about 10 minutes for our food. But through the counter window you can even watch as they grill your burgers and fry your fries. It is amazing to think that this small restaurant has survived through the northwest Chicago side’s rich history of diversity. I guess a good burger is always cherished.
Contributed by Caitlin McDonald