Diners, Drive-By’s and Dives: Wise Guys, A Chicago Eatery

The all-beef Chicago Dog is topped with mustard, relish, raw onions, tomatoes, a pickle spear, sport peppers and celery salt -- all on a fresh poppy seed bun. Photo credit: Rebecca Flannery

By Rebecca Flannery, Arts Editor

Being a self-proclaimed connoisseur of all things “hot dog,” driving by Wise Guys: A Chicago Eatery every time I jet down Valley Mills had become quite painful. Passing Vegas Buffet, Michaels and eventually Wise Guys meant one more time, I wasn’t taking the chance to pull into the often-sparse lot to venture inside the Chicago-themed restaurant.

Yesterday was different.

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Wise Guys is located at 579 North Valley Mills Drive. Photo credit: Rebecca Flannery

Yesterday, I turned on my blinker, turned into the Westview Village lot, slowly cruised toward the front of Wise Guys, and sat in deliberation of what I may see when entering the premises. Y’all, I’ve had my fair share of ‘dogs before. Considering this was the only hot dog eatery I’d seen advertised in Waco, you better believe I had high expectations. And just like that, in the spikey-haired spirit of Guy Fieri, I shut the car door and began my way toward this oh-so-frequently overlooked Drive-By.

Upon entering, there’s a lovely plastered-on nighttime view of the Chicago skyline. Had I not been standing in mid-day Waco, it could have easily fooled me into thinking I was in the real-deal Chi-town. Just kidding, but it’s a nice touch.

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The menu inside Wise Guys ranges from Hot Dogs to Philly Cheesesteaks, all done up in the Chicago way. Photo credit: Rebecca Flannery

I walked up to the counter and scoured the menu for the only thing on which you can actually judge a hot dog stand – The Chicago Dog. This all-beef dog traditionally comes with all the fixin’s – sport peppers, a pickle spear, celery salt, tomatoes, onions, mustard and relish, all on a fresh poppy seed bun.

While I was waiting for this delicacy, I sauntered around the premises, taking in all the memorabilia from old-time Chicago and present-day Waco – accolades of the shop to date.

Finally, the dog came out of the kitchen. And I was ready.

Sitting down, relishing the moment (pun intended) of sitting in a quaint Chicago eatery in the middle of Waco, Texas, I took the bun in-hand and took a bite into the sweet, salty and tangy grouping that is The Perfect Chicago Dog. And it was so good.

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The wall of accolades at the entrance of Wise Guys. Photo credit: Rebecca Flannery

In a matter of mere moments, my lunch was gone and I was left longing for more. And for just $4, another dog wasn’t the worst decision I’ve ever made. Needless to say, the Chicago-bred owner knows what she’s doing bringing a taste of Illinois to poor ol’ Texas. What have we been doing without this for all this time? Sorry, Oscar Mayer, there’s a new sheriff in town.

Needless to say, I won’t be driving by this place any more. It’ll be all I can do to not pull into 579 North Valley Mills Drive for a hot dog or two. Look a little more closely next time, or you just might miss it.

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