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No Soggy Sausages Here: Enthusiastic Customers Line Up For One Last Hot Doug's Bite

With the line cut off before 7 a.m., these customers are Hot Doug's last.

Hot Doug's last customer, Joe Hehl
Hot Doug's last customer, Joe Hehl
Ashok Selvam

They began chanting his name around 8:30 a.m.


No, the rain didn't scare people off on the final day of business at venerable Hot Doug's—they're lined up for a half-mile down Roscoe Street.

The first customer is Max Simmons, an auto worker from Chicago. He said he's eaten at Doug's "a million times." He stood with friends under a canopy to protect him from the rain. He got there at 8 a.m. on Thursday, ate, and got back in line at 4 p.m.

Staff cut off the line at 6:45 a.m. That's when Joe Hehl from Lockport arrived. He had only eaten at Doug's once prior, three months ago. The girl he dated introduced him to Doug's and he became a fan.

"I knew he meant business when the line wrapped around the building," he said.

All customers in line will be served, staff said. The line wasn't the longest ever, but there are only so many sausages left.

Simmons said he will miss Doug Sohn, the owner, the most. When Simmons first dined there, Sohn began calling him "Sparky." The name stuck.

Tents, coffee—even booze—were all enjoyed by customers in line early Friday morning. One group of customers blasted The Notorious B.I.G.'s "Big Poppa." It's unknown if they were playing it as a reference to Sohn, or just coincidence.

Sohn arrived much earlier than the 10:30 a.m. opening time and stood at his customary spot behind the counter. He smiled and waved as passersby took photos, Starbucks and breakfast in hand.

—Ashok Selvam

Hot Doug's

3324 North California Avenue, Chicago, IL 60618 Visit Website