Bob-O’s is mainstay for food in the area
Michael Mannott of Chicago and his sons (from left) Rocco, 5, Marco, 2, Maximus, 2, and Jaiden, 5, have hot dogs and fries outside of Bob-O's Hot Dogs in Chicago. | Ryan Pagelow~Sun-Times Media
Name: Bob-O’s Hot Dogs
Specialty: Hot dogs, hamburgers, beef sandwiches
Location: 8258 Irving Park Road
Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Saturday; open at noon on Sunday
Contact: www.boboshotdogs.com or (773) 625-9840
Updated: July 29, 2012 6:25AM
Hail the hot dog stand.
Something about that waft of garlic coming from a Vienna beef tube steak nestled in a steamed bun just screams, “summer in Chicago.”
Supplying in tangible form for 35 years that feeling of summer vacation days long gone is Bob-O’s Hog Dogs, 8258 Irving Park Road, Norridge.
“It was a fluke that I found this place,” said owner Phyllis Bartell. “My ex-husband and I were coming back from Sears Outlet to buy a dryer, when we passed by this place that was all boarded up.”
That shack was the original Bob-O’s, first opened in the 1950s.
Looking for advice about starting up a hot dog stand, Bartell turned to a friend who was in the business.
“When I told him about it, he didn’t even want to walk inside,” Bartell said. “He told me to make an offer.”
Bartell “got her feet wet” in the foodservice business when she and her ex owned a place on Cicero Avenue.
Since she knew something of the restaurant business, Bartell said she decided to take the plunge and purchase that boarded-up shack.
After a little negotiating, the Bartells took ownership of the Irving Park Road property.
“I had to borrow money, but I paid it all back,” she said, with a touch of pride in her voice.
The first couple of years were a little lean.
“I was going through a divorce,” Bartell said. “We weren’t making money.
“I was ready to sell after two years.”
But she had a family to support.
Keeping her company in those early days when she put in long hours were her children – Rich, Michael, Jimmy and Vicki.
“They were raised here,” she said. “We’d have birthday parties in the back.
“And they all worked here.”
In addition to hot dogs, Bob-O’s also features classics such as charbroiled burgers, Italian beef sandwiches, all of which can be turned into double offerings, and meatball sandwiches.
Those who want a little choice may opt for the trio sampler of sausage, beef and meatball sandwiches.
Other hot dog stand favorites include tamales, onion rings and chili.
“We cook our own beefs, meatballs, chili,” Bartell said. “The fries are fresh-cut every day.”
Bob-O’s also sells jars of its own hot giardiniera.
“We make everything fresh here,” Bartell noted.
For those a little more health-conscious, Bob-O’s offers grilled chicken sandwiches as well as veggie ones.
Shakes, ice cream cones, Italian ice, sundaes and frozen bananas round out the menu.
These days, Bartell doesn’t have to put in the long hours she once did.
“I’ve got great people working here,” she said.
And handing around a hot dog stand can be a good thing.
“All my kids have turned out well,” Bartell said, not only with a smile on her face, but also a twinkle in her eye.