Sometimes the best things in life are the simplest things.
Living in the Chicago area for many years, I sometimes take for granted the idea of the Chicago hot dog. But when you find a good one, paired with some skin-on fries, it's a real treat.
Salerno's Red Hots has been in the Oswego area for many years as a catering outfit, but they just recently opened a brick-and-mortar shop in Yorkville, serving up Polish sausage, pizza puffs, tamales, Italian beef and, yes, made-to-order Chicago dogs.
In addition, Salerno's serves up fresh, hot fries with the skin on them. You can't find these everywhere. I've never been a huge fries fan, whether they are the crinkle-cut kind or the limp fast-food variety. But there's something about hot fries that have the skin on them, sprinkled with a good amount of salt, that makes my heart pitter patter (that's probably the salt, to be honest).
The Salerno's Yorkville location just recently opened up, and I decided to stop by on a recent afternoon for my lunch.
My first choice was a Chicago dog, but Salerno's also offers a jumbo, quarter-pound hot dog, and I was hungry, so I ordered one of those Chicago-style. The dog, plump and juicy, was a Vienna Beef brand and it had a great amount of flavor. The toppings were perfect, complete with the standard mustard, relish, onion, pickle, celery salt and sport peppers.
I also ordered a chili cheese dog, minus the raw onion that comes on them standard. The dog was delicious and was smothered with a generous amount of flavorful chili and cheese sauce. This, like the quarter-pound dog, was hot and fresh.
I also ordered a bag of fresh hot fries, and they did not disappoint. Crispy, salty and loaded with flavor, these fries were a generous portion and were a perfect complement to my dogs. I ordered a cup of cheese sauce to dip my fries in, and that was an almost religious experience.
I'll certainly be back to Salerno's for another lunch break or an after-work treat. They have some great classic flavors that are quite delicious.
• The Mystery Diner is a newsroom employee at the Record Newspapers. The diner’s identity is not revealed to restaurant staff before or during the meal. The Mystery Diner visits a restaurant and then reports on the experience. The Mystery Diner is not intended to be a restaurant critic but does highlight the parts of a dining experience that he/she can recommend.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Salerno's Red Hots
WHERE: 197 East Veterans Parkway, Yorkville
HOURS: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday
INFORMATION: facebook.com/salernosredhots; 630-383-8983