YORKVILLE – There’s nothing more American than a good old-fashioned hot dog and Yorkville boasts not one but two of the top spots in Illinois to satisfy that craving.
Home Plate Hot Dogs, a seasonal stand that sets up in Town Square Park, and Salerno’s Red Hots, with a permanent location at 197 E. Veterans Parkway, are top dogs in a Google Maps survey.
Ranking as number one in the state is Home Plate, followed closely by Salerno’s in fifth place. Moreover, Home Plate is rated number six in the entire nation.
“We are the hot dog capital of the world,” declared Yorkville Mayor John Purcell as he presented honors to both of the family-operated businesses at the Aug. 9 Yorkville City Council meeting.
The mayor presented certificates marking the occasion to Tony Salerno and son Anthony Salerno, as well as Home Plate’s Jeff and Pam Hahn, their daughter Bekah Hahn and Chris Galloway.
The next day it was back to business for both of the popular hot dog spots and each was ringing up brisk sales.
Jeff Hahn has been selling hot dogs and brats in Town Square Park for the past 31 years.
He used to locate his stand on the east side of the park along North Bridge Street (Route 47), but since the widening of the highway, sets up along Church Street on the west side of the park.
A steady stream of construction workers, mothers with young children and other hot dog enthusiasts pulled up in their vehicles or walked to the beautiful park setting.
“We get a lot of people stopping from work,” Pam Hahn said.
Sharon Lowy of Yorkville and her fellow quilters from the nearby Chapel on the Green walk over to the hot dog stand every Wednesday. They love the tradition that Hahn’s hot dog stand represents.
“It’s like a Norman Rockwell painting,” said Lowy, who likes her hot dog with sauerkraut. “We can’t wait for summer to come over here.”
Jeff Hahn is a math teacher and athletic director at Cross Lutheran School in Yorkville, so the hot dog stand is a summertime gig.
The stand is open daily from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. through Aug. 19 and will continue to serve customers on weekends well into the fall.
We have a lot of church people who come here on Sunday, Pam Hahn said.
Motorcyclist Jim Bush has been riding all the way from his home in Bolingbrook for the past 25 years just come to Home Plate.
“I’m a hot dog lover,” Bush said.
Over at Salerno’s, four-year employee Gianna Davis of Yorkville was serving customers who entered the colorful building space, located in a strip of commercial businesses along Veterans Parkway (Route 34).
Salerno’s, like Home Plate, puts the classic Chicago-style dog at the top of the menu board, and features the iconic Vienna Beef.
In Chicago, hot dog vendors are famous for refusing to put ketchup on their creations, but the two Yorkville locations aren’t so dogmatic.
Davis said ketchup is available for those who ask.
“We’re not from Chicago,” Pam Hahn said. “We’re OK with ketchup.”