Keith Kottke's roots go deep in Arlington Heights, and to him the downtown is more than a place to do business.
"I want to help make the downtown vibrant," said Kottke, whose mother, Diane Bigham, was executive director of the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce for 22 years. "I have lived in this town for 40 of my 47 years."
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Kottke recently changed the name, menu and branding of the Riviera, a restaurant at 5 W. Campbell St. that was a staple in downtown Arlington Heights for more than 30 years.
The new name is Campbell Street Hot Dogs 'N' More.
If you catch him on a slow day, ask him about driving baseball great Stan Musial and actor/singer David Cassidy (separately) to the inaugural Arlington Million race at Arlington Park in 1981.
Less glamorously, 16 years ago he helped install copper and wood in the downtown building that later became Harry's of Arlington.
His younger customers are pleased that Kottke has named all his Vienna hot dog and sausage products after local schools and teams such as the "Dryden dog" and the "Arlington Aces burger." And later this month he will celebrate the new look by declaring a "free food day."
Kottke has been cooking and selling hot dogs for more than 20 years and thinks he will be more successful with this theme than with the Riv's broader menu, although he will keep some of the best sellers.
More than two decades ago, Kottke opened his first business called Cook Street Corner in Libertyville, but he is no longer in business there. He currently also owns a restaurant in McHenry.
Bobby and Andrea Tsambarlis opened the Riviera in 1980. Kottke, who purchased the restaurant about 18 months ago, is the second person to buy the restaurant from them. The couple first sold it in 2006, but returned a year later for another four-year run after the arrangement with the buyer didn't work out.