NORWOOD PARK — Whether it’s been for date nights, parties or just a quick snack, Superdawg has served generations of Chicagoans.
The iconic drive-in celebrates 75 years of business this month. The owners said they are maintaining its legacy by staying true to the original recipes, getting to know regulars and treating employees like a big family.
“Every day is special,” said Lisa Drucker, who co-owns the drive-in with her husband, Don Drucker, and her brother, Scott Berman.
Lisa Drucker and Berman’s parents, high school sweethearts Maurie and Flaurie Berman, created Superdawg in 1948, taking over the lot at 6363 N. Milwaukee Ave. and turning it into a destination for locals and tourists.
With no restaurant experience, the young newlyweds tried their luck at opening a hot dog stand for the summer — but by 1950, the business was open full-time to accommodate the growing number of regulars and to keep the staff employed.
Its hot dogs — excuse us, we meant “Superdawgs” — are particularly beloved.
“The Superdawg recipe is my parents’ own recipe that they developed in the 1940s and continue to still be made specially for us today,” Berman said. “It’s a larger-than-most hot dog. It is extra time in the smokehouse, extra spices. So, it is a particularly delicious dog.”
The owners don’t know how many hot dogs have been sold since 1948 — but it’s safe to say “hundreds of thousands in a year” are sold, the family said.
May 9 marks the stand’s birthday, but the owners are planning a monthlong celebration that will include a new honorary street sign, government proclamations from local politicians and special discounts.
“We’re humbled, honored, thrilled and delighted,” Lisa Drucker said. “That the passion that [my parents] had infused every bit of their being into this business not only paid off but continues.”
Maurie and Flaurie were always happy and at the business, taking orders and hanging out with friends, their children said, who grew up in Albany Park. Even on their days off, they’d stop by for a hot dog or a milkshake after a night out, the family said.
The founders were frequently in the press and praised for their passion for the job and food. Maurie died in 2015 and Flaurie in 2018, but they are honored throughout Superdawg with photos and awards that line the dining room — and with the stand’s enormous hot dog people statues, which greet customers from afar.
The Superdawg figures, flirtatiously winking at each other atop the building, represent the founders.
The iconic drive in, dubbed a Chicago landmark, has been visited by culinary celebrities, featured in movies and TV shows and received awards and accolades for its hot dogs, architectural style and family-run dedication.
RELATED: Superdawg’s Been A Chicago Icon For Decades. Here’s What Makes Their Hot Dogs So Special
Superdawg expanded with a location in suburban Wheeling in 2010. It was made to look like the Norwood Park location but has a more modern feel to it, the owners said.
The second spot, managed by Laura Ustick, granddaughter of Maurie and Flaurie, has seen success in its 13 years. But there aren’t plans to add another location — for now, the owners said.
The team hinted a Superdawg grocery product is in the works, but for now, they’re staying grounded with what’s in front of them.
“Today, we concentrate on what we’re doing and doing it well,” Don Drucker said. “The family learned about passion from Maurie and Flo, and by having family in both places, we are able to instill that passion and that pride in everybody that helps us everyday.”
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