PORTAGE PARK — A father-daughter team who took the culinary scene by storm last year will soon serve their popular hot dogs at the family’s Six Corners storefront.
The Hot Dog Box opens Jan. 15 at 4020 N. Milwaukee Ave., the second location and first brick-and-mortar for Bobby Morelli and his 10-year-old daughter Brooklyn.
Morelli, a recording artist and entrepreneur with no restaurant experience, opened The Hot Dog Box in Bronzeville in August 2021 in a pandemic pivot move that proved quickly successful. Within months, locals flocked to the new joint — built inside a shipping container — to get their taste of unusual hot dogs like the Bronzeville Bourbon Filet Mignon Dog and a pizza hot dog made by Brooklyn.
The stand also has vegan and turkey substitutes available and a rotating menu of hot dogs inspired by Brooklyn’s favorite foods.
The unique business move earned The Hot Dog Box abundant local and national media attention for its twist on hot dogs, the duo’s charismatic working relationship and their positive social media presence.
A Northwest Side developer contacted Morelli last summer after hearing about The Hot Dog Box from news stories and pitched an idea to to bring the hot dogs to Portage Park. Morelli said he already planned to expand into a storefront and began scouting spaces in the area.
He fell in love with the Milwaukee Avenue space and bought it last summer, but the opening was delayed because of city inspections and permits. The team is finally ready to launch this month.
“I can’t wait to get open,” Morelli said. “All of the hard work has paid off. Now we are ready to have some fun.”
The storefront will have a similar vibe to the original Bronzeville box with bright colors and a relaxed atmosphere.
“When you come inside, envision a … backyard with our green yard and colorful tables,” he said. “A sunny afternoon is what you will envision when you go into the Hot Dog Box.”
Morelli and his daughter — whose nickname is “Boss Lady” — are looking forward to having more space at the sit-down restaurant to make it their own and they plan to host community events like movie nights, pop-ups with young entrepreneurs and business partnerships, depending on COVID-19 regulations.
The Portage Park menu will have fan favorites like the spot’s signature dogs, as well as new creations from Brooklyn that will be unveiled soon.
“Brooklyn had fun curating menu that will be cycled through,” her father said. “Items will be coming and going and [I want to do] collaborations with chef friends.”
As he gets the Portage Park location up and running, the shipping container location will remain closed until spring, he said. He plans to hire a team to work the Bronzeville spot and expand his staff, though he will be managing both locations.
The family-run business will have a ribbon-cutting ceremony on its opening day at 10:30 a.m.
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