ALBANY PARK — The owner of Hot Dog Station across from the typically bustling Kimball Brown Line depot says “business is terrible now,” and he launched a GoFundMe to help pay the bills.
The state’s COVID-19 dine-in ban and stay at home order have turned the family-run fast food joint at 4742 N. Kimball Ave. into a carry-out and delivery operation. But with fewer people on the Brown Line and the many bus routes that pass nearby, sales are way down, he said.
“We’re a transportation-based business. We need the train, the bus and the people coming in and out of Roosevelt High School to survive,” said Dimitri Anagnostou, Hot Dog Station’s owner.
“Maybe we can make it through this, we love Albany Park and we love everyone here,” he said. “We want to stay here as long as we can but we’re not a big company like Portillo’s that can get through this easily.
“We’re family owned and have been here for the past seven years. When we first opened it was to create a better life for our kids. But business is terrible right now,” Anagnostou said.
Anagnostou’s has two young children, ages 3 and 6. His six-year-old, Vasili, is autistic.
“We’ve fallen behind on taking my son to therapy. He has autism, and we had to stop our therapies because we’re trying to stay open and pay our remaining staff. We already had to lay off some people because we couldn’t afford to pay them. All around it’s been a nightmare,” Anagnostou said.
To help cover his business’s overhead and also raise money for his son’s therapy, Anagnostou launched a GoFundMe March 16 to raise $7,500. It’s raised $2,216 of that goal as of Friday from 50 donors.
“We’re also still open for pickup and delivery. This is all really taking a toll on my family. If it was just me and my wife here and we didn’t have a son with special needs it would be different,” Anagnostou said.
“But we do have a son with autism and if we don’t continue these therapies he will fall behind, which can affect him for the rest of his life. It’s his health we’re worried about.”
To place an order with Hot Dog Station visit its website.
Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers. Block Club is an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom.
Subscribe to Block Club Chicago. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.