The next week we made our second excursion; this time to Mikes Chicago Hot Dogs in Homewood. Mike’s looks like a building one might have on the rear of his back yard for storing lawn mowers and other equipment. I have a memory of this place opening up years ago with a guy grilling hot dogs and hamburgers on a charcoal grill located just behind a rudimentary tent or similar structure. He later replaced the tent with a little shack. I also remember that his hot dogs were not of the usual variety but were thick and much more substantial. I don’t know if my memories of Mike’s in the early days are correct and I don’t really want to be corrected if I am wrong. Given that backdrop I went to Mike’s for the first time in years (too many years). Here’s a thought; go ahead and visit those little places you think about occasionally. They might not be there forever and more importantly you are supporting local businesses owned by people like yourself and your neighbors.
Mike’s is run by Mike and his wife who open for lunch a few hours a day. On this visit I ordered a chili dog and a hot dog, both “all the way”. The overall experience was great and very enjoyable. I thought my hot dogs were served at a temperature that was not quite as hot as I would like; but they were good. Mike apparently prepare a supply of hot dogs early and stores them in a hot plate contraption until served. No more right off the charcoal grill… if that was ever the case. I won’t complain too much about the temperature because the flavor was great and the BIG dogs are very filling. The chili wasn’t exactly chili but was good.
Mikes has to offer:
• Great taste
• BIG hot dogs
• An owner operator who really cares
• A dining room
“A dining room?” you might ask. The architecture at Mikes is clearly in the class of lawn storage buildings; certainly not your usual commercial construction. Customers place their orders to Mrs. Mike through a window, then pay and receive their order through the same window. There are a couple of cheep plastic tables and chairs outside as well as an attached shelter containing a few more plastic tables and chairs which is the dining room. These tables and chairs look like something that could be purchased at a chain pharmacy or "discount" store. They are basic with a capital “B”, BUT they do the job. I am in full agreement with any businessman who determines the basic requirements of investment to fulfill the need and then doesn’t go beyond that.
When you visit Mike’s you just might run into a friend or old acquaintance at this popular lunchtime stop. This is definitely a place worth visiting. One last bit of advice, just order one to start with. You will find it more filling than you thought one hot dog could be.