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Johnny O Has Seen It All At His South Side Hot Dog Stand

By Chuck Sudo in Food on May 13, 2013 6:30PM

Chuck Sudo/Chicagoist

John Veliotis has lived at least two lifetimes from the vantage point of Johnny O's, his hot dog stand and liquor store at the corner of 35th and Morgan Streets. Veliotis began his career as a hot dog peddler at age 12 selling them from a cart outside the old Spiegl factory. But Johnny O's fell into a down period as the surrounding factories closed in Bridgeport and he shuttered what, unknown to most people, was a kitschy little grill and restaurant behind his packaged goods operation.

With a new influx of homeowners and renters flocking out south and the closing of Ramova Grill last year, Veliotis re-opened his restaurant and grill in the hopes of filling the void left behind by the Ramova. (Johnny O's makes one of the better mother-in-law sandwiches on the South side.)

Grub Street Chicago's Mike Gebert put together the 10-minute video below where Veliotis expounds on his career in food service, his side career as a singer and gives a Cliff's Notes history on the South side as only he can. Sit back and enjoy, ladies and gentlemen — people like Veliotis are becoming a rarity.