There’s signage for a new location of Devil Dawgs next to the CTA’s Belmont Red/Brown/Purple train station in Lakeview, and no one should blame old-time Chicagoans if there’s a sense of deja vu. Devil Dawgs is a mini chain with locations in Lincoln Park, South Loop, and Lakeview, but it’s seemingly inspired by Demon Dogs, a hot dog stand that closed in 2003 after 20-plus years at the CTA’s Fullerton stop near DePaul University. The CTA forced Demon Dogs to close as the agency renovated the stop near Sheffield and Fullerton.
While Devil Dawgs won’t be located inside a CTA-owned building, the set up — just one Red Line stop away — rings familiar. After Demon Dogs’ demise 16 years ago, Devil Dawgs owner Alan Katz opened a stand nearby in 2010 by Sheffield and Webster. Devil Dawgs’ first location is a small space without seating. Demon Dogs’ space was larger and customers will remember the rattling sounds of the passing “L” trains overhead. Demon Dogs was owned by Peter Schivarelli, a controversial figure with city clout. He also managed the rock band Chicago, a group that’s a member of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame and known for its work in the 1970s. That’s why the restaurant was filled with Chicago paraphernalia. Demon Dogs’ lease with the CTA ended in controversial fashion in 2003.
Regardless of the reasons surrounding the closure, Chicagoans lost a beloved hot dog stand and Devil Dawgs picked up the slack with fresh-cut fries and dogs with natural casings. The burgers also have earned praise. Over the years, Devil Dawgs’ menu has changed. Perhaps that’s influenced by the exotic sausages that Doug Sohn served at Hot Doug’s. But the basics remained the same.
Devil Dawgs’ ownership wasn’t immediately reached so it’s unknown when the new location would open at 945 W. Belmont Avenue. It’s been teased for two years as part of a six-story, 33-unit apartment building. Stone Creek Coffee, a Milwaukee import, also plans to open its first Chicago location at the building. The space’s developer, LG Development, didn’t immediately return requests for comment.
Stay tuned for updates.