Get a taste of Chicago at anachronistic Higley Hot Dogs - East Valley Tribune: Get Out

Get a taste of Chicago at anachronistic Higley Hot Dogs

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Wednesday, August 13, 2008 2:04 pm | Updated: 11:06 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

A trip to Higley Hot Dogs raises a lot of questions. Why do you order outside and eat inside? Why is there a tack board covered in military patches? And who is Wally Delecki?

Slideshow: See photos of Higley Hot Dogs

A trip to Higley Hot Dogs raises a lot of questions. Why do you order outside and eat inside? Why is there a tack board covered in military patches? And who is Wally Delecki?

Slideshow: See photos of Higley Hot Dogs

There are answers — though they often raise even more questions about this anachronistic little restaurant just down the road from SanTan Village shopping center.

So here are the basics: Higley Hot Dogs has been owned by Joe and Jeri Kryza since 1985 and is now run by their son, Chris Kryza, and his wife, Tracy, during the summer.

Chicago-style hot dogs are their bread and butter, and the Kryzas make them as authentic as possible: All the ingredients are bought through a distributor who ships Vienna Beef products from the Windy City. Even the relish, peppers and poppy-seed buns come from Vienna Beef.

“The tomatoes and onions we get here and just chop them up,” says Tracy. “If we run out and have to maybe use a substitute, the customers notice and they say something.”

The hut was designed to be just like its cousins in Chicago, covered in sports memorabilia and family photos along with signs bearing humorous bits of Midwestern stoicism: “Love is blind, but marriage is a real eye-opener.”

After parking in a lot that’s more dust than dirt, you walk up to an outdoor window to order. Then you can take your food inside or back to your car. The hut was designed that way, Tracy says, since her mother-in-law figured most people would pick up their order and leave. That hasn’t proven true, but it’s been this way too long to change it.

“(Jeri Kryza) just says she’s Polish, and that’s the Polish coming out,” she says.

When Higley Hot Dogs opened, it made more sense, says Chris.

“There was nothing out here, just cornfields, orange trees and peach trees. No restaurants, no houses, no nothing,” he says.

Most of the customers came from the now-closed Williams Air Force Base, which is why one wall has a collection of military patches: “The whole place was flyboys, and she used to give them a free hot dog in exchange for a patch,” Tracy says.

More changes are coming as the widening of Williams Field Road will force some remodeling, including a new parking area and the loss of the front porch. But the plan is to keep the atmosphere the same, says Tracy: “We do look a little out of place out here, we know, but we think it’s a good thing.”

But who’s Wally Delecki, the man who has his name on a plaque above a booth? Technically, Delecki is the retired superintendent of Gilbert’s schools. But to the Kryzas, he’s just another customer who likes the dogs.

“If the owner likes you a lot, you get one, and she happens to like him a lot,” Tracy says.

Higley Hot Dogs

Address: 16705 E. Williams Field Road, Gilbert

Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday

Information: (480) 988-3133

  • Discuss

Video: Live Country Music at Bourbon Jacks in Chandler

If you enjoy live country music five nights a week, Bourbon Jacks in Chandler is the place for...

Facebook

GetOut on Facebook

Twitter

GetOut on Twitter

Google+

GetOut on Google+

RSS

Subscribe to GetOut via RSS

RSS Feeds

Spacer4px
Your Az Jobs