Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Restaurant Review: Economy now even hammering the fast food hot dog industry

I love hot dogs and especially beef and sausage combos. And I know prices are zooming up fast on the cost of the once affordable dogs.

Orland Park has several great hot dog stands. One of my favorites is Pop's at 143rd and Wolf Road. Another is Don's just off of 151st and Harlem. And another I sometimes stop at is Widens at 143rd Street east of LaGrange Road.

Now I hate to pick on a hot dog place. But last night at Widen's, it was just too much to take. I'm glad I didn't eat at the restaurant because I don't know what I would have done.

I bought two beef and sausage combos, one fry and the two hot dog special with fries on the side. I also asked for a small side of hot giardiniera. They were going to dip the beef sausage combos in the natural juice.

When I got home, of course, and opened the bag for the family. The bag of fries seemed a little light. The giadiniera was no where to be found. And then when I dug into my beef-sausage combo, I guess I wouldn't call it a combo at all. It had the sausage, and what looked like were two slices of beef on one sandwich and almost a generous portion on the second. And of course, the two combos were dry as a bone.

I wasn't going to write about it, at first. But then I took another look at the receit. It was over $17. And I thought, okay, for $17, shouldn't I expect to get what I ordered? And shouldn't it be great quality?

I'm not going back there again. It's too bad. They recently started taking credit and debit cards, which means I didn't have to worry about whether or not I had cash in my pocket. (They have an ATM machine there, but I hate like hell to pay the excessive access fees charged by the owner-operated ATMs and by the bank.)

I gave them my money. The charge didn't bounce. It went through. If it didn't, I would expect them to complain to me.

And I understand you have to trim back to make ends meet in these harsh economic times. Even the Village of Orland Park has decided to trim services to save money. I'll monitor the billings to see how they may or may not change.

But two flimsy slices of beef on the "combo" just put me over the edge. And it just made me feel worse about the economy. Widen's isn't a bad place. I go there all the time. But do we just take what we get and shut-up? Or, do we say something not only for our own satisfaction, but to do them a favor too, and maybe push them to be the best?

-- Ray Hanania

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