I had not been to the Vienna Beef café before. My mom and I had been discussing menus for the 4th of July weekend and of course hot dogs are on the list! My mom and I chatted about the various meals and worked on shopping lists. I told my mom that I would run over to the Vienna Beef Factory Store to pickup some things for our cook-outs. I called Holly and invited Eleanora and her along. Holly and my brother Matt had been to the Vienna Beef café before and Holly said it was great.
I mentioned our Vienna Beef outing to my husband Tony and he asked why I just didn’t run over to our awesome Jewel-Osco at Harlem and Foster like I usually do for Vienna Beef products. I shared that this would be a fun lunch for the girls and that I wanted to check out the Vienna Beef Factory Store. My reasoning was actually more than that – I had been thinking about the meaning of the 4th of July.
The 4th of July is one of Tony’s favorite holidays and mine too. We love getting together with family and friends and the cook-outs, the hot dogs, the swimming, the sparklers, the fireworks and all the festivities that go with it. We remember childhood 4th of Julys with parents yelling to be careful with fireworks - Tony and Matt were always cutting it close. We recalled water balloon fights and the laughter as we grilled out all day.
As I was thinking about the 4th of July I couldn’t help but think about how so much of the news is negative these days and the political environment is just so awful. The 4th of July though is a time to pause and reflect on all the amazing things in our country. We are a land of freedom, independence, and opportunity. A place where you can speak your voice on any topic – even to say no ketchup on a hot dog. As we were working on plans for the 4th I wanted to go on a little adventure and shop at a place that reflected the American dream. And that lead the Messy Mommies and our messy kids to the Vienna Beef Factory Store.
The Vienna Beef café was packed with people from all different backgrounds. Everyone loves hot dogs, this place is so America. We were enjoying our lunch while taking pics and doing Facebook and Twitter videos. Our videos are funny as the girls were cracking up and I was trying to figure out how to do the videos correctly! Holly and I noticed two gentlemen behind us having lunch and we now think they may have been Jim Eisenberg and Jim Bodman who lead Vienna Beef. We should have said hi! While we are not totally sure it was them, it wouldn’t surprise us – it is that kind of place – everyone is together. This is how America should be.
After our awesome hot dogs I did some quick shopping and we were all on our way. It was a great lunch and I was glad I was able to touch this corner of America.
As you celebrate with family and friends over the 4th of July I hope you let some of the negative discourse fade away and that you are able to celebrate all of the amazing opportunities of our incredible country. And, I hope you celebrate with your family and friends and some iconic Chicago Vienna Beef hot dogs! I know we will!
God Bless America and Happy 4th of July!
You can visit the Vienna Beef Factory Store and Cafe at 2501 N. Damen Ave., Chicago, IL 60647.
(Disclaimer - we love hot dogs and wanted to write about this great American hot dog story for the 4th of July. This is not an ad. Vienna Beef - we’d love to interview Jim and Jim sometime! And, the Vienna Beef social media folks are rock stars! Also, I pulled pictures from the Vienna Beef website for the history portion of this post. You can find more great pics on the Vienna Beef website.)