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Bridgeport Hot Dog Icon Johnny O’s To Build an Arcade Bar

Vintage games, craft beer, and breaded steak sandwiches

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Johnny O’s
Johnny O’s [Official Photo]
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

Johnny O’s, the hot dog stand in Bridgeport that’s been at its present digs since 1970 is about to embark on a major change. The restaurant’s owners feel the South Side deserves its own arcade bar. Co-owner Peter Veliotis told South Side Weekly that they’ll soon start renovating part of the building at 3465 S. Morgan Street and install vintage arcade machines.

“There are none on the South Side,” Veliotis said in an interview with the website. “They’re pretty popular on the North Side, I think they’d go pretty well in the area.”

It won’t replace Johnny O’s. The arcade bar — not to be confused with Barcade, a trademarked term referring to a chain of bars in New York — would be built inside a long dormant bar space neighboring the restaurant, according to South Side Weekly. Veliotis wasn’t able to be immediately reached. He and brother Alex Veliotis run the family business after the death of father John Veliotis, a.k.a. “Johnny O.” Johnny O and another son, John Veliotis Jr., both died in 2017. That’s left the stand in transition. For example, they’ve rolled back hours after being known as a late-night spot serving food 24/7.

The bar would also have craft beer and wine to go along with the customary Mother-in-law and breaded steak sandwiches. Those plans may not have sat well with Johnny O, who feared change. But, as his sons said, he’d be happy once he saw the money. The first Johnny O’s opened on 31st Street in 1959. They moved to the present location west of Sox Park 11 years later.