Saturday, May 01, 2010

Mo and Flo Go No. -- And So?

Quick Serve Restaurant Review

New location in Wheeling, IL

Superdawg has been a Chicago institution since 1948 when Maurie and Flaurie Berman opened the hot dog stand with car-hop service at the intersection of Milwaukee, Damen and Nagle, adorning the rooftop with super-sized wieners likewise named Maurie and Flaurie.

I have been a big--not surprisingly, too big--Superdawg fan for quite some time, going at least once or twice a year and almost always getting the same thing: a Whoopskidawg (their version of a Polish sausage), which comes with fries, and accompanying it with a pineapple milk shake.

Earlier this year, with the Bermans and their family still in charge, Superdawg opened a new outpost 11.3 miles up Milwaukee Avenue in Wheeling (map).

And today, on a Superdawg Day Afternoon, I visited it for the first time.

The new Superdawg occupies a bigger site than the original, and while retaining car-hop service throughout a vast parking lot, also has considerably more customer space inside an expansive facility.

For whatever reason, unless it's only temporary, the sculptural Maurie and Flaurie do not stand atop the new Superdawg, with their flattened figures only present within the sign and in pictorial form throughout the restaurant. Unless there's some reason why they can't be added, I really think they should.
Although I never minded eating in my car at the original location, and felt it was part of Superdawg's unique old school charm, today I ordered and ate within the restaurant.

There really isn't a ton of seating, unless there's a second level I didn't explore, but it wasn't crowded. I ordered my usual, but beyond the condiments listed on the menu board --

The dog itself tasted really good and so did the fries and shake. Unfortunately, the cup of water I asked for was lukewarm to the point of making me gag. I know it was free, but I spent over $12 on my meal; was a bit of ice too much to ask for?

All in all it wasn't a bad experience, but even within the junk food strata in which Superdawg squarely sits, it was a bit short of its namesake adjective.

If I'm in the neighborhood again and in the right mood, I wouldn't avoid the Wheeling Superdawg, but if you want the true experience, I would suggest sticking with the original.

At least until the new version--which does have fun chairbacks--proves itself a wiener over the test of time.

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