Happy Birthday, Harry!

Familiar hot dog shopkeeper turns 100

Saturday, Mar 14, 2009  |  Updated 1:23 PM CDT
View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print
Hot dogs?

C. Wojciechowski

Harry Heftman had lunch with Mayor Daley today to celebrate his 100th birthday.

advertisement

Mayor Daley took time out of his busy schedule Friday to have lunch with Harry Heftman.

Heftman is Chicago's iconic hot dog restauranteur who's been serving breakfast and lunch from his downtown shop for 55 years. On Friday, he celebrated his birthday there, as he has since he opened the doors in 1954.

But this birthday was special, not just because the mayor was there, but because Heftman turned 100.  Also joining the celebration were his family, customers, landlord and long-time suppliers.

His is the classic American immigrant success story, according to a news release from his son, Charles Heftman.

Harry came to the United States via Ellis Island in 1921 at age 12 with his family from Sojmy, a small village in Hungary, now southwestern Ukraine. The family settled in Chicago and the future entrepreneur grew up on the West Side near Division Street and Western Avenue.

Heftman opened a fruit store on Lawrence Avenue in the late 1930's, then a succession of restaurants in the '40s and '50s.

Harry's Hot Dogs, at the northwest corner of Randolph and Franklin streets, opened as The Little Snack Shop, a diner featuring lunch specials and hot dogs. 

In 1982, Heftman remodeled the joint and changed the name. He's been serving up his popular Chicago delicacy ever since.

Happy Birthday, Harry.  You're the top dog.

Get the latest headlines sent to your inbox!
View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print
Leave Comments
What's New
Get Our Weather App
Stay ahead of the storm with the NBC... Read more
Follow Us
Sign up to receive news and updates that matter to you.
Send Us Your Story Tips
Check Out