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The End is Almost Here for Hot Doug's

The line thins and employees and customers reflect.

Ashok Selvam

As the line grew smaller and morning turned to afternoon, both customers and staff at Hot Doug's know the end is near.

The restaurant had all hands on deck today, staffing 12 instead of 10, and employing the help of family members on Friday's final day.

One of those employees was Marco Roman. He has worked as a bus boy for 11 years, dating back to Hot Doug's original location in Roscoe Village. He will miss this job.

"It wasn't a job, it was more like a family," Roman said.

Roman, who also works at a fire-suppression company, will celebrate with his coworkers today after the final customer is served. The plan is to put up paper to cover the windows and have a postmortem celebration.


While Roman hopes his boss, Doug Sohn, opens another restaurant, Sohn seems intent on staying out of the restaurant business.

Friday's line moved brisk, much faster than in recent days, with customers waiting on the final encased meats. Staff didn't want to close much past the 4:30 p.m. closing time.

The dining room was not full of customers, as the majority in line made large carry out orders. One table was dedicated for workers to prep those to go orders.

One customer, Erin English, left Doug's tears saying "it was like losing a friend." She later admitted to being sleep deprived from waiting in line overnight.

"I know it's ridiculous," she said. "But I just need a nap."

While the rain muted the line a bit, the biggest noise came from the anti-Doug contingent. A man with a rolled up yoga mat under his arm screamed an obscenity while navigating his way through the line. He was angry at the inconvenience.

Still, patrons posed with Sohn for photos with the majority leaving with huge grins of content having one last change to hang out with their beloved friend.

—Ashok Selvam

Hot Doug's

3324 North California Avenue, Chicago, IL 60618 Visit Website