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Superdawg finally opens in Wheeling on Milwaukee Avenue
By Sheila Ahern | Daily Herald Staff

Superdawg patrons such as Staci Allan of Wheeling , with owners Maurie and Scott Berman, eat inside the drive-in Thursday because of the cold weather.

 

Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

The Superdawg Drive-In opened Thursday in Wheeling. The rooftop dancing hotdog characters are expected to arrive next week.

 

Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

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Published: 1/28/2010 4:32 PM | Updated: 1/29/2010 8:19 AM

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Scott Berman decided he couldn't wait for the fiberglass dogs.

"They're coming, we're just working on final details like the eyelashes," Berman said. "The dogs on the roof will be here next week."

After a yearlong delay, Wheeling's Superdawg opened about 3 p.m. Thursday to long lines, Berman said.

"Everyone at the store is trained and ready to go," he said. "It's great - we already have a line of customers."

Next week, the restaurant at 355 S. Milwaukee Ave. will be topped with the most recognizable Superdawg signature, two 14-foot dancing hot dogs depicting Scott's parents, Maurie and Flaurie. The statues will be made just like the Chicago statues - out of papier-mâché, fiberglass and chicken wire.

In 1948, Maurie and Flaurie Berman opened the original Superdawg at 6363 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago. Maurie had returned from World War II and was attending college, and Flaurie had just graduated. They were looking for a way to bring in money during the summer, but the business was a success and became year-round in 1950.

When Superdawg first opened, the electronic speaker system had not been invented. Carhops went out to the cars to take orders and customers turned on their headlights when they were ready for their trays to be picked up. In the early 1950s, the "carhop in a wire" electronic speaker system was installed, and Maurie designed the glowing blue "control tower" where the carhop sits to answer the switchboard and take orders.

Today, both Maurice and Flaurie are in their mid-80s, but he still works at the Chicago Superdawg and she still answers the phone. Scott Berman and his sister Laura are Superdawg employees. Laura will be the manager of the Wheeling location.

The Wheeling Superdawg is about 3,500 square feet. It will be open from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Sundays through Thursdays and from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.