Relish this thought: What could be more enjoyable than eating an original Chicago hot dog, munching on a greasy egg roll and playing on a pinball machine straight outta the '80s? At this easily missed hot dog joint squeezed between the Playground Theater and Canton Express, grease goes well with games. Owner and resident chef Victor Worras has worked the counter for over 20 years, and knows that you just can't go wrong with a $1.99 hot dog, a grilled cheese for $2.65 or two chicken egg rolls for only $3.99 (which, by the way, made it onto the menu per customers' repeated requests). It's no wonder this place has survived the gentrification of what is now considered Boystown.
Inside the crusty-looking hot dog dive, sea-green walls complement rickety vintage window stools, curvy, diner-style booths and a hazy mirror covered in dusty wood panels. Victor works it behind the counter, and eager customers can watch as he cooks up all the food. An ATM machine ensures that no one will have to whip out el credito (it's cash-only), and a video gambling machine called "GRAYHOUND HI-LO DOUBLE UP" guarantees that extra bucks will be quickly spent. What might be the last standing payphone and stack 'o phonebooks in Chicago also live here among the assortment of oddities. With the clever name and colorful interiors, this place has character that's hard to beat.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Alicia Eler