Fast Track restaurant closes after more than 30 years in West Loop

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The popular Fast Track restaurant in the West Loop will close permanently Wednesday.

The restaurant has served hot dogs, Polish sausages and fries at the corner of Lake and Des Plaines streets for more than 30 years.

On its final day, the line stretched out the door and down the block.

"We had no idea we were going to have this kind of demand. It's overwhelming," said Eddie Tefka, owner. "It's very heartwarming. This is a very bittersweet moment."

Tefka took time to reflect on his customers and staff over the past three decades.

"It's family. You can't get any closer to good family relations than what you see here at Fast Track," he said. "Chef Kleo, I've known for about 45 years. He knows all our customers."

"We have come here to say goodbye to him," said Kate Kubey, customer.

"I love all these people, all these people are my family," Chef Kleo said.

The day was filled with hugs and familiar faces all around. Fast Track's main attraction is the food, of course, and along with Chef Kelo, Alex and Cesar have kept it consistent.

"We have people who come here who were kids and remember the train going around. They bring their kids now to see the train going around," Tefka said.

"I think it's pretty sad that it's closing down. It's been here since my Dad came here with his Dad," said Max Blanco, customer.

"It's sort of like a homey feeling. Being able to be surrounded by the history of Chicago," said Danny Frank, customer.

Tefka said the old train wheels are headed to the Illinois Railway Museum, but the iconic hot dog outside and the model train inside still need a loving home.

The location is being turned into a new residential and retail development, the owners said.

But for Tefka and his wife, the future is about spending more time with family, and remembering the time they all spent at Fast Track.

"I have two children, six wonderful grandchildren. They look up at the train and say, 'Papa built that,'" he said. "How much heartwarming is that."
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