If there is one thing Chicagoans take more seriously than their baseball, it’s our dogs. I’m not talking about the cute furry friends that live with us either. I am talking about a genuine Vienna Beef, poppy-seed bun, everything-on-it hot dog. Since moving to Kissimmee a year ago, Brian and I have been on the hunt for a good Chicago dog but have been unsuccessful. Sonic’s chain hot dogs are frightening and Portillo’s has not found Florida yet, sadly. Today our search ended though when we found Willy’s Wieners in the heart of historic Downtown Kissimmee. Central Floridians, if you are looking for a Chicago style dog, Willy’s is your place to go.
Conveniently located on a side street with ample parking directly in front of the restaurant, Willy’s sits on a pleasant sidewalk complete with outside seating. The building that it is in appears to be brand new and is very nicely maintained. The inside of the restaurant is as adorable as the outside with its Chicago style dog motif and it creates a cozy environment to stop and grab a bite to eat.
Willy’s also has a variety of menu choices including dogs, beef sandwiches, brats and Polish sausage. There are a handful of sides to choose from and everything is made fresh. Prices are extremely affordable for the amount of food that you get. Brian and I ordered 3 Chicago Style hot dogs complete with all the fixin’s, 1 hot dog with just mustard and pickle, 1 order of mozzarella sticks, 1 bag of chips and a regular size fountain drink (that comes with 1 refill) for less than $15.00! Back home at Portillo’s we would have easily paid over $20.00 for the same meal. This was fresh, good food, not a pre-made fake McDonald’s meal, for less than $15.00 for two people.
Now, the restaurant was welcoming, clean, and had a good variety of food on its menu for very reasonable prices…but the question remained, could a Central Florida dog joint really pull off an authentic, Chicago Style hot dog? Our food was delivered to our table for us and after inspection it looked authentic…and it smelled authentic…
And it tasted amazing! This born and raised Chicagoan gives it two thumbs way up! Even the hot dog with mustard & pickle was just like back home. The mozzarella sticks were hot and fresh and a decent portion for a “side.” We devoured our food quite quickly with head bobbing approval.
The cherry on top of our visit was meeting the owners. They take great pride in their business and introduced themselves, prepared our food and even asked for feedback on it. They cared about us as customers enjoying our visit as well as enjoying our meal. It’s not often that you go into a restaurant and people actually introduce themselves and ask what your name is. It was another gesture that made us feel valued as customers and created a nice small-town feel that we so often lack now-a-days.
Well Central Florida, one thing we lack no longer is a genuine, Chicago Style hot dog. Heck, even just a decent dog with whatever you want on it! Come one, come all, to Willy’s Wieners! Just don’t come on Sunday, because they are closed. (We lucked out today as they were open for an event in the area). Maybe we will see you there, because I still have a brat and a Polish on my bucket list.