Poochie's an Old Dog Getting a New Location
Owner is keeping 'that local feel' in moving a few blocks east to bigger restaurant with new features.
You could say Poochie's is going for a walk down the street.
Best known for its take on Chicago-style hot dogs and sausages, the iconic North Shore restaurant will be moving about two blocks east from its current location to 3602 W. Dempster St. around April 17, said owner Chris Christou.
Since opening its doors in 1969, Poochie's Hot Dog has seen its share of celebrities and regulars.
ESPN 1000’s Marc Silverman of the Waddle and Silvy show has spoken on the air about his love for eating at the popular restaurant, the Chicago Cubs have Poochie's cater their organization on opening day and many of Christou’s customers have been eating at the restaurant for decades.
Jose Gonzalez of Skokie was waiting with his family while his order was being prepared and said he has eaten at Poochie's for more than 15 years.
“I like to get the deep fried Polish on bread,” Gonzalez said. “As long as they are on Dempster and the food is good, I’ll be still coming here.
“This is the type of place I show to my kids and they show to their kids, and that’s how Poochie's becomes a legend,” he said.
Yet Christou’s customers aren’t the only loyal ones. His employee and friend “Big Jim” Burns has been Poochie's grill man for 23 years. His other worker, who only goes by the name “Big G,” has been with Christou for more than six years.
“We try to have the type of atmosphere like that show Cheers, where everybody knows your name,” Christou said.
Christou said he purchased the restaurant in 1992 from the original owner, Harvey Bernstein, and said he decided to move to the new location so he could better serve his customers.
“I could walk into this place with my eyes closed and I won’t run into anything,” Poochie's owner said. “Everything we’re doing we’re keeping the customer in mind.”
Christou also added that the new location will feature part of the previous restaurant’s counter, stools and pictures.
The new restaurant will be about 30 percent bigger and feature a few high-definition TVs. Christou said he didn’t want to get a location that was too big because he still wanted the restaurant to have “that local feel.”
"It was important for us to stay in Skokie for our loyal customers,” Christou said. “What can I say, I’m kinda excited and I’m kinda sad.”