Vienna Beef inducts Elk Grove eatery into Hot Dog Hall of Fame
Nearly two decades after fulfilling a lifelong dream of opening a hot dog stand, Andy Arnowitz is getting national recognition for bringing his neighborhood mom-and-pop style restaurant concept to Elk Grove Village's business park.
Bubby's Beefs & Red Hots, 1026 E. Higgins Road, across from the new Elk Grove Technology Park, became the 136th nationwide inductee this week into The Vienna Beef Hot Dog Hall of Fame.
Created in 2006, the honor is bestowed on hot dog stands that have achieved longevity -- at least about 20 years -- and developed into special neighborhood landmarks.
There's 3,000 restaurants that serve Vienna Beef products across the country, but only a fraction can say they're in the Hall of Fame.
"It's a way for Vienna to honor those folks that brought us to the dance," said Bob Schwartz, senior vice president at Vienna and author of the 2008 book "Never Put Ketchup on a Hot Dog."
"We've been around a long time, and we look at the number of hot dog stands that last far longer than the national average of successful restaurants. And it's because of not only the great product they serve, but it's because of how important they are to their customers and that there's a passion behind these hot dog stands that really creates longevity."
Arnowitz, a former accounting manager for Coca-Cola, opened the eatery within the Higgins Road strip mall in 2002 when he declined a job transfer to Florida.
Bubby's -- named after what his daughters affectionately call their grandma -- is open for the lunchtime, workday crowd on weekdays from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Arnowitz rarely takes a vacation, and is regularly behind the counter with longtime employees Carlos Perez and Arturo Castelan. They often know their regulars' orders when the customers walk in.
"It's just special," Arnowitz said of the recognition. "It's all about the customers for me. They keep coming back supporting us."