Firehouse Dogs to leave Schaumburg building

Firehouse Dogs in Schaumburg, named the home of the best hot dog in Illinois by Travel + Leisure magazine in 2018, is in search of new digs.

Restaurateur Jim Gritsonis said he and business partner Frank Paolucci are seeking to move because of what he said is a rent increase at the restaurant's location at 1820 W. Irving Park Road. The two submitted an offer on a site six blocks away on Irving Park Road in Hanover Park.

“Schaumburg has been so generous to us,” Gritsonis said. “It pains us to leave Schaumburg. Nothing compares.”

The co-owners still are looking for space in Schaumburg, though the Hanover Park location has become the lead contender.

Gritsonis said he expects to close the current location about a week after Halloween. If a new location is found soon, Gritsonis and Paolucci hope to reopen there in January — with all the familiar firehouse decor back in place.

While Gritsonis already had restaurant experience before the restaurant opening in 2016, Paolucci was new to the industry apart from having cooked for his fellow Chicago firefighters for more than two decades. The firefighting gear and mementos that help the restaurant live up to its name are largely from his own collection.

Both partners are lifelong Chicagoans who wanted to be true to the mom-and-pop businesses that have always given the city's neighborhoods their character. They said they felt such a restaurant would be just as appreciated in the suburbs.

  Firehouse Dogs will close its original location at 1820 W. Irving Park Road in Schaumburg in early November and possibly will move to a building six blocks away in Hanover Park. Joe Lewnard/, 2018
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