Polish Sausages, Corn Stand, Car-Hops

JOLIET, IL — When October arrived Thursday, Joliet’s ACE Drive-In on Plainfield Road closed for the season. But you can still enjoy quality car-hop service in Joliet this month and beyond. In March, the Hey! Hot Dog on Ruby Street turned its long-time popular restaurant into a full-fledged car-hop service amid the coronavirus pandemic.

On Friday, the parking lot was full. Cars, trucks and vans were coming and going. A few customers were enjoying the cool, beautiful autumn day at one of the wooden picnic tables.

And some people weren’t coming for the famous root beer or the steamed hot dogs. They came for the produce.

For the past nine years, Hey! Hot Dog owner B.J. Uedelhofen has operated a sweet corn stand at his Ruby Street. Besides owning Hey! Hot Dog, Uedelhofen owns a farm west of Shorewood.

Besides selling sweet corn, Uedelhofen also has tomatoes, apples, gourds, squash and beets. He said the corn stand has done so well that he expects next Tuesday may be his final day of operation for the year from the parking lot of Hey! Hot Dog.

“It’s been great,” he told Joliet Patch’s editor during Friday’s interview.

“This has been a good year, our 9th year in business. This year, we started July 14th and we had a really good season.”

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Image via John Ferak/Patch
Image via John Ferak/Patch

While two young women were taking lunch orders from vehicles, Uedelhofen was busy Friday running back and forth from the kitchen to the corn stand. It seemed a new customer kept pulling into the parking lot every five minutes or so looking to buy a bag of fresh produce.

All the while, he made time to be interviewed by Joliet Patch.

He said that March’s article in the Joliet Patch announcing that he was converting his restaurant into a car-hop service was a tremendous help to him and Hey! Hot Dog over these past many months.

I interviewed Uedelhofen after I had ordered from one of his carhops myself.

For the first time I can remember, I ordered a Polish sausage from Hey! Hot Dog. My Polish sausage, as you can see from the photo below, was drowning in mustard, and that was not a bad thing, either.

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Friday's Polish sausage at Hey! Hot Dog. Image via John Ferak/Patch
Friday’s Polish sausage at Hey! Hot Dog. Image via John Ferak/Patch

During Friday’s interview at the corn stand, I pressed Uedelhofen for more information about his Polish sausages at 601 Ruby St.

“They’re a natural skin casing,” he said. “Today, I boiled them. Sometimes, I grill them. They’re good both ways.”

Between the hotdogs and Polish sausages, the hot dogs, by far, are still the most popular item at Hey! Hot Dogs, Uedelhofen said.

If you’re going to get a Polish sausage at Hey! Hot Dog, here’s what Uedelhofen recommends. “Mustard and onion and sauerkraut and you’re good to go,” he remarked with confidence.

Onions are not my thing unless they’re fried or cooked. However, I’m kicking myself for not asking the car-hop to put sauerkraut on my Polish.

Why did I only thing of mustard?

On Friday, the temperatures were in the low 60s and that means winter is approaching. If you are worried that Hey! Hot Dog will be slowing down for the cold weather, guess again.

The car-hop service will continue, six days a week. Hey! Hot Dog typically stays open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. It’s closed Sunday.

“We’re going to stay with the car-hop style,” Uedelhofen said.

Before I hit the road for downtown Joliet, I asked Uedelhofen for any final words related to the Polish sausage. He had a great ending for this story.

“We use Milano’s Bakery for our buns, they’re buns are great for Polish sausage,” he said.

File photo John Ferak/Patch
File photo John Ferak/Patch

This article originally appeared on the Joliet Patch

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