Vienna Beef opens history museum

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The iconic Chicago company celebrates its 125th anniversary this year. (WLS)

Vienna Beef celebrates 125 years in business this year with the opening of its own history museum at company headquarters along the Chicago River on Wednesday.

The displays at 2501 North Damen Avenue include a meat grinder made in 1859, pictures of the original Vienna hot dog stand and factory, and a gold-plated cocktail frankfurter. Don't worry, you can buy a fresher hot dog at the factory store on-site with all the classic Chicago fixings-- what company Vice President of Marketing/eCommerce Tom McGlade called the "seven sacred condiments" of mustard, relish, chopped onion, sliced tomato, a kosher dill pickle, sport peppers and celery salt on top.

The rows of memorabilia include promotional giveaways like toy trucks and giant pencils, sporting the signature "V" with a skewered hot dog through the middle. There are also neon signs, production staff uniforms, hand-painted placards and even a hall of fame display. Throughout the space there's plenty of bright yellow, blue and red.

"There's certain things here in Chicago that just mean home and that's one of them," said Pete Cazares of the iconic signage. He grew up in Chicago but moved to Florida in recent years and said he may try to bring a few boxes of the hot dogs home because he enjoys them so much.

"Their grandfather took their dad to their favorite hot dog stand, and then he took you to your favorite hot dog stand and then you brought your son to yet another hot dog stand," McGlade said of the company's more-than-a-century-old tradition, now on display.

The exhibits also pay homage to brands brought into the Vienna Beef fold over the years, like David Berg.

The free museum will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday starting Wednesday.
Related Topics:
foodhot dogsfoodieChicagoBucktown
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