Here's a real Duck Tale for ya. Established in 1954 by Mervyn Dukatte and his cousin, Donald, this hot dog joint was originally named Donald Duk's Red Hots—a simple combination of the two names Donald and Duk. Unfortunately, Walt Disney happened to have a character named Donald Duck, which caused some legal trouble for this food establishment. The name changed, but the restaurant's greasy eats—Vienna Beef hot dogs, egg sandwiches, Italian beef and giant Polishes—didn't go anywhere. Except into hungry customers' mouths, that is.
Pedestrians on Ashland Avenue may find it convenient to head straight to the to-go window, but the interior of Duk’s has its charms, too. Hand-drawn images of Donald Duck (apparently Disney couldn't stop them from drawing their own after the name change) pop up everywhere. A couple of thin counter spaces are perfect for quick meals. Hot dogs only cost $2.84 and, like the other main items on the menu, come with a complimentary side of fries. The Italian beef sandwich and the double bacon are two of the most popular items, and also great hot dog alternatives. Customers range from businessmen on their way home to your average Joe on the street.
If you don't love the smell of grease, step outside to one of the four red-and-white picnic tables, which sit next to a red-and-white striped wall covered in hand-painted ads for Polish sausage, milkshakes and Italian beef. Expect to find a variety of somewhat sketchy characters mingling around by the corner; good thing the outdoor seating area has a fence on two sides.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Alicia Eler