Andy Arnowitz gave this interview while he was also serving a customer in the background. There were jokes, smiles, laughs, and a Vienna Beef hot dog. It’s very possible that interaction was the best part of the customer’s day. And that’s why Bubby’s Beefs & Red Hots has become a staple of the Elk Grove Village community.
Businesses like Bubby’s aren’t just located here–they’re woven into the fabric that makes up the community. Whether sponsoring a local company softball team, donating coupons for free french fries to Elk Grove High School, attending a customer’s wake, or donating hot dogs to the Harley Davidson ride, Bubby’s has genuinely shown up for the residents and organizations who are also customers.
In September, Bubby’s will have been located in the same 1,100 square foot location at 1026 E. Higgins Road in the middle of the largest industrial park in the country for 20 years. That, while quite an achievement, is a double-edged sword.
The hot dog stand goes as the business park goes, since many of Bubby's regular customers work in Elk Grove, but don’t live here. When the park is full, as it is now, business is good. But, Bubby’s is only open from 10:30 AM to 4:00 PM, creating increased demand in a shorter period of time. At the same time, many Elk Grove residents can’t make it between those hours–in particular the stereotypical hot dog demographic which is instead stuck in Algebra or U.S. History class on weekdays.
So, business is even better when customers with families and many who have retired come back to share their experience.
Andy’s not in the hot dog business to get rich. He genuinely loves what he does. It’s unmistakable.
Decades before opening Bubby’s, Andy worked at Howie’s Hot Dog Hut in Morton Grove. The owner got along so well with his customers that it made a lasting impression on the 16-year old. At the time, a hot dog and french fries cost only $1.99. Some things, like the importance of creating a memorable experience, haven’t changed.
If you’ve been to Bubby’s, Andy has probably cracked a joke with you or did something to make you smile. In fact, Andy sees his job similarly to a Las Vegas magician or a comedian, who performs live on stage every day.
“I like people to have a good time,” Andy said. “Most people are working all the time and they don’t really like their job. I love my job. I can’t wait to get back to work on Monday. When people are having a bad day at work, I try to make them laugh and brighten up their day.”
And if the patented Andy Arnowitz sense of humor doesn’t force a smile, the quality of the food surely will.
In July of 2021, Bubby’s Beefs & Red Hots was inducted into the Vienna Beef Hot Dog Hall of Fame for its contribution to the Elk Grove Village community, philanthropic leadership, and overall commitment to the quality of its product and the satisfaction of its customers.
Vienna and Coca-Cola may be more expensive products, but they’re also the top of the line. Out-of-towners who can’t get Vienna beef back home and even visitors from other countries are drawn in by the recognizable Vienna sign.
Andy also doesn’t sacrifice quality when it comes to Bubby’s beloved fresh cut french fries. The open external kitchen allows Andy and his team to wash 600 pounds of potatoes every week and cut them in front of the customers.
Modest to his core, Andy gives the credit to the food and being in the right place at the right time. But, whether it’s his genuine affection for his customers, the experience he creates, or the quality of the food he makes, one way or another, people go to Bubby’s to see Andy. And he’ll be there as long as the doors are open.
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