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My Grandfather, Joseph LaRose, the son of Sicilian immigrants, was born in 1920. Joe grew up on Taylor Street in Chicago where he learned to make the perfect hotdog.

At an early age, Joe worked various jobs to help his family. Joe sold fruit, newspapers, flowers, and picked up bottles. As a teenager, Joe held jobs in Chicago and California. In Chicago, Joe ran errands for the State-Lake Theatre, acted in small roles on the stage and worked in a hotdog stand. Joe was also an amateur boxer. At sixteen, Joe traveled by boxcar to California to pick and sell oranges.

Joe returned to Chicago to work as a parking attendant. During that time, he met my Grandmother Mary Gurka, a local Joliet gal. After serving in World War II, Joe became a mailer for the Chicago Herald-American Newspaper.

In 1953, Joe and Mary opened a hotdog wagon in front of their home on Eastern Avenue in downtown Joliet. A few years later, the first Joe’s Hot Dogs stand was built next door and remained open until 1992. This 6 Corners location opened in 1964.

For decades, Joe kept it simple – delicious food and personable service. He was hard working and proud of his loyal employees. Joe was a family man, a well-respected businessman and was known for his generosity and kindness. Joe treasured his customers. Joe loved Joe’s Hot Dogs.

As the new owner of Joe’s Hot Dogs, I hope to follow in my Grandfather’s footsteps. On his behalf, I would like to thank all of our customers for your love and support for over 60 years.  Three generations strong, not too shabby…


– Jill, Owner