HOW THIS ALL GOT STARTED
Pia and I grew up eating Hot dogs, Italian Beef and Pizza Puff. We moved to Northern Virginia in 1998 and was surprised that there were no true Chicago style anything in the DC Metro. No one has even heard of a “Beef Sandwich” and when we ask, they quickly confirm “Steak and Cheese?” We searched for a proper hot dog – and there was 7/11,and Costco, but nothing compares to a proper Chicago Style Hot Dog. After years and years of craving and begging visiting family and friends to hand carry food from Chicago to NOVA, we finally opened our place. I’m sure my mom and my best friend Joe appreciates not having to carry Tubs of Italian Beef, Giardineria, Hot dogs and green relish in their luggage.
In 2008, we opened our first location in Ashburn, VA, at the Blue Mount Nursery Parking Lot. It’s a kitchen trailer with outdoor seating and is open all year round. In 2008, Food Truck’s weren’t as popular in NOVA and only a few seasonal trucks would pop up, but hoping to start a trend… We started with a white trailer, armed with only family to work the shifts, word got out and we eventually outgrew the trailer. Now we are serving from a larger black trailer and to make our old white truck match the new trailer, our friend at Blue Mount helped us paint it black. If you pass by Route 7 and Lexington Ave – yeah it’s that truck that looks like a SWAT truck. In 2010, we opened our second location in the heart of downtown Leesburg, VA. We’re in a quaint store front delivering a nice flare of Old town Leesburg feel coupled with the nostalgic classic Windy City decor. Many of our fellow Chicagoans will recognize some of the pictures on the walls and will feel very much at home with all the Bears, Cubs and Bulls stuff – We’re from the Northwest side of Chicago, but there is some White Sox stuff there as well. Rodney, my father in-law joined us in 2010 as well, tipping the scale to more Nuvals than Mirandas working at the store.
Opening and running Windy City Red Hots with our family has been an amazing experience, though exhausting at times, it has always been very rewarding to see our customers’ faces when they are satisfied with their meals. We have been very blessed and lucky to have such great customers that continue to support us and want us to stay in business. We are looking forward to growing and to continue to serve the DC metro area with authentic and Chicago favorites.