Palos Heights stalwart Pop’s Italian Beef & Sausage is bringing its classic Chicago eats to Old Town (157 W. North Ave.). Whether the constant queue outside the south suburban outpost will come along, we’ll have to wait until its August opening to find out.
Pop’s dates back to 1980, when founder Frank Radochonski and his mother launched the business. Jill Sullivan, president and franchisee of the forthcoming Old Town location describes Radochonski: “He just turned 60 but looks 40. He is still at the store in Palos Heights all the time. He is very Type A.” His doggedness clearly paid off, as Old Town marks the company’s fifteenth restaurant.
It’s the first Pop’s near downtown Chicago (though there’s another city location at 103rd and Kedzie) and in contrast to the old-school cuisine, the vibe inside skews “urban chic,” according to Sullivan. Orders will be taken on iPads, and Sullivan plans to keep late weekend hours and serve beer and wine to the bar crowd.
The menu is familiar to meat-loving Chicagoans, but Sullivan highlights a few must-tries. “The Italian beef is thin and spiced perfectly,” she says. The meat hails from a Nebraska ranch, and each Pop’s location braises and cooks it onsite daily. Radochonski developed a proprietary sauce: What’s in it? “Garlic, oil, and a ton of different spices.”
All-beef hot dogs are a “Pop’s exclusive” blend and come topped Chicago-style or—if you must—with chili, cheese, or both. Sausage is sourced locally and handmade daily from a blend Radochonski helped develop.
Oh, and don’t hold the fries, according to Sullivan. “OMG, the fries are like pommes frites, skinny and hot and lovely. Crisp on the outside but soft on the inside,” she gushes.