Dugout burns down, owner vows to rebuild

An early morning fire June 14 put The Dugout, 6300 W. 79th St. in Burbank, out of commission, but owner Mike DiStefano said he would reopen the popular hot dog stand.

DiStefano had put the business up for auction late last year and almost sold it in February, but the would-be buyer backed out at the last minute and he decided to keep it going as he has since it opened in 1984.

The fire caught everyone by surprise including a reader who called to ask what happened after she saw the building boarded up.

“My daughter was in from out of town and went there yesterday (June 13) for a pizza puff and today on our way to the airport we saw it was boarded up,” she said.

DiStefano said he got a call from the fire department in the middle of the night telling him about the blaze, which was believed to have been an electrical fire.

DiStefano, who lives in Mokena, said damage was contained to the kitchen. His sports memorabilia in the dining room was spared damage.

In September, DiStefano was honored by Vienna Beef, which included The Dugout in it’s Hot Dog Hall of Fame.

Freddy’s Frozen Custard coming to Orland

A Wichita-based gourmet hamburger and frozen custard restaurant is coming to Orland Park.

Orland Park trustees unanimously approved site plans and a special use permit at their June 5 meeting for Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers at 7402 W. 159th St. as part of the Heartis Senior Living complex now under construction.

Freddy’s will take over the space now being used by Avis-Rent-A-Car as a temporary facility. Avis will move into its permanent home closer to 159th Street this summer and construction on Freddy’s will begin. No timetable for construction was announced.

It will be the first Chicago-area location for Freddy’s, which has four locations in Central Illinois and a fifth under construction in Champaign.

The chain was established in 2002 by brothers Bill and Randy Simon and their friend and business partner, Scott Redler. They named it after Bill and Randy’s father, Freddy Simon, a World War II veteran. There are locations in all but a couple of states.

Bank to open in former restaurant

Palos Heights officials recently approved plans to convert a former restaurant at 6431 W. 127th St. into a Providence Bank & Trust facility.

The building is the former AneMoNe restaurant. Before that, it had been a Baker’s Square.

“We’re going to step up the exterior and renovate,” said Kevin L. Botma, chief operating officer and cashier at Providence Bank. “We’ll add a drive-up on the south side of the building and make it into a 4,000 square-foot banking facility. We anticipate teller (service), the drive-up, mortgage staff, wealth advisors and trust advisors.”

Botma estimated “six to eight months” for the property to be ready for business.

Included is an agreement with the City of Palos Heights for an annual retail tax recovery fee to be paid by Providence. The fee is requested by the city when a non-retail establishment takes over a former retail space, resulting in less tax revenue to the city. It is based on what a retail business would typically generate over the year.

Crestwood’s own ZIP code in effect

After decades of waiting, south suburban Crestwood now has its very own ZIP code — 60418.

The ZIP code was approved a year ago by the U.S. Postal Service and became official on July 1.

Crestwood Mayor Lou Presta said the new ZIP code is actually the second one for the village. “We had one of our own at one time. I have no idea why they took it away. When I was a trustee, I promised voters that we would fight to get our own ZIP code.”

Before gaining its own ZIP code, Crestwood shared ZIP codes with Midlothian, Palos Heights and Robbins. The Post Office said it would continue to deliver mail addressed to the old ZIP code for at least a year.

Bakeries closed for vacation

Fans of Wolf’s Bakery at 3241 W. 95th St. in Evergreen Park and Pticek’s Bakery at 5523 S. Narragansett in Chicago’s Garfield Ridge community will have to wait a few days to get their fill of sweet treats as both shops are closing for summer vacation.

Wolf’s will be closed from July 2 through Saturday, July 15. It will re-open Sunday, July 16, at 7 a.m. and resume regular hours.

Pticek’s will be closed for a month starting Sunday, July 9. It will reopen in early August.


Numbers in the address for Doc’s Smokehouse and Craft Bar in last week’s column were transposed. The restaurant is at 19081 Old LaGrange Road in Mokena.

Bob Bong is a freelancer.

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