Orland Park-based Joey’s Red Hots was on track to open its fifth and sixth locations in the south suburbs this week.
First up was their new location at 7830 Frontage Road in Justice in the former home of Fat Doggy’z, which closed in 2020, and before that the longtime home of the Why Not drive-in. Justice opened at 10:30 am Monday.
“The opening was awesome,” said co-owner Anthony Nardo. “We have had great support from the neighbourhood. Everybody has been walking over or riding their bikes.”
The newest Joey’s has indoor seating for about 18 people and an outdoor patio with room for eight picnic tables.
“I’d say it’s similar to our Chicago location,” Nardo said. “It’s between 1,800 and 2,000 square feet.”
There’s also a private gaming room that will eventually house video poker machines.
“We’ll have beer and wine when the gaming room opens,” Nardo said. “Probably in three to four months.”
As for picking Justice, “It was a great location,” Nardo said.
Next up, will be their sixth location at 138th Street and Halsted in Riverdale in the former Grand Coffee Shop. That location will open at 10:30 am Thursday.
“We selected Riverdale because a great opportunity came up,” Nardo said.
“There’s not much for the area, so we will be a great thing for the neighbourhood,” he said.
Riverdale will be unlike all other locations because it has a drive-thru.
“None of the other locations have a drive-thru,” Nardo said. “That will be new to us.”
Both locations will employ from six to eight workers, including some family members.
“We want to be more than just a restaurant,” Nardo said. “We want to be a part of the community. We sponsor kids teams and programs. We like to help local kids get their first job.”
Joey’s Red Hots has come a long way since Nardo purchased the original location eight years ago at 17400 Wolf Road in Orland Park.
“We now have six restaurants and six food trucks, which is like having 12 restaurants,” he said.
Besides the two new locations, Joey’s can be found on Wolf Road in Orland Park, at 115th and Western in Chicago’s Morgan Park neighborhood, 217 E. Maple in New Lenox, and 2228 Plainfield Road in Crest Hill.
His fame is growing, as well. In October, Joey’s Red Hots was inducted into the Vienna Beef Hall of Fame, which honors the best hot dog stands in the Chicago area.
Although he lived in the Midway area of Chicago as a youth, he spent his formative years in the Frankfort and New Lenox areas. He graduated from Providence Catholic High School in New Lenox.
Hours at the two new locations will be 10:30 am to 10 pm daily.
When Traverso’s closed without much warning in Orland Park in December, the owners hinted that the property had been sold and a new business would be coming.
A second Traverso’s location in Naperville remains open.
There were lots of rumors about who might be taking over the property, which Traverso’s opened in 1974.
The rumors were laid to rest last week when Barraco’s, an Italian chain based at 3701 W. 95th St. in Evergreen Park, announced it would be opening at the Traverso’s site sometime in 2023.
Barraco’s was founded in 1980 and now has locations in Evergreen Park, Crestwood, Orland Park, Burbank, and Chicago’s Beverly neighborhood. There’s also a location at 3047 W. 111th St. in Chicago’s Mount Greenwood neighborhood that has an event center for banquets and weddings across the street at 3124 W. 111th St.
There’s also a food truck.
The chain is known for everything from pizza to pasta and steak to chicken from dinners to sandwiches.
News updates from the south suburbs delivered every Monday and Wednesday
All of the suburban locations have late-night hours but the Evergreen Park location is open 24 hours.
Dunkin’ Donuts in Palos Heights will be closed for a while as the business gets a new look at 12807 S. Harlem Avenue.
The American Gear Manufacturers Association is hosting an open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony for its National Training Center on August 24 at Richard J. Daley College, 7500 S. Pulaski Road in Chicago.
The ribbon cutting will kick off the event at 4 pm followed by the open house.
The open house will allow people to see the facility that houses many AGMA courses, as well as the donated machinery for student use. The AGMA NTC is also a resource for local job seekers, opening the way for many job opportunities within the gear manufacturing industry.
More information is at https://www.agma.org/page/2022-ntc-opening-ceremony-rsvp/.
Bob Bong is a freelance columnist. He can be reached at email@example.com.