Owner: Big Ange's still 'coming soon' to Arlington Heights
Big Ange's, the long-awaited hot dog restaurant at the corner of Northwest Highway and Euclid in Arlington Heights, may not be open by the time Jay Cutler throws his next interception -- as a previous sign promised -- but owners say they are still planning to open soon.
The restaurant got its original approval from the village in April 2013 and has slowly been renovating the former Jimmy's Place, which was an institution in Arlington Heights for more than 50 years before closing in 2011.
"We had so many hurdles along the way, but we are past all the humps now," owner John Fridono said Wednesday. He said they plan to install drywall in the next 10 days and then will put finishing touches on the kitchen.
He said they will likely have a "soft" opening in October.
People driving past the restaurant got nervous earlier this week when the Big Ange's sign was taken down. They took to the restaurant's Facebook page to ask what was happening.
"We are still planning to open, six to eight weeks or so," the post read. "Can't wait to serve our first hot dog, or will it be a meatball or beef sandwich? So much good food coming your way. Keep smiling, stay hungry."
Fridono said there were some copyright concerns with the previous sign, which featured the big red tongue of the Rolling Stones logo, so they decided to change it now instead of have problems later.
The new sign features art drawn by a friend of Fridono's who has since passed away. The restaurant is named for Fridono's wife, Angie (although the restaurant is called "Ange's").
Despite the seemingly slow process to get to opening day, owners have kept a sense of humor. Their signs have alternately promised to be open before the Cubs win the World Series and before Jay Cutler throws another interception.
With the Bears preseason already underway and the Cubs on a hot streak, Big Ange's may have its work cut out to keep those promises. Now, Fridono is considering a sign promising they will be open before Santa comes to town.
No matter the wait, Fridono said it will be worth it to have the new restaurant open on a popular corner.
"It's going to be just beautiful when it's all done. The inside and outside, everything in there is just brand new," Fridono said.
The restaurant's Facebook page already has hundreds of "likes" and people are posting their excitement.
When the restaurant was approved two years ago, Fridono said the concept would be similar to that at Gene & Jude's, a River Grove hot dog legend since 1946.
A sample menu posted on Big Ange's Facebook page also lists Italian beef, meatball sandwiches, hamburgers and cheeseburgers, Maxwell Street Polish sausage, homemade tamales and pepper & egg sandwiches on Fridays.
There will also be a small pastry counter with fresh baked pies and other homemade sweets served daily.