BRIDGEPORT — Carmen Petrizzo said her two young children have been waiting anxiously for a certain neighborhood hot dog stand to open for the season.
"When we come home from school, what do you say?" Carmen Petrizzo asked her son, Owen, and daughter, Audrey, Friday afternoon as two scarfed down hot dogs.
"Can we go to O'Malley's," Owen responded.
"'Can we go to O'Malley's?' Every day." Petrizzo said with a smile. "They've been waiting all winter."
Morrie O'Malley's Hot Dogs, 3501 S. Union Ave., is located just down the street from U.S. Cellular Field and is a neighborhood staple, according to Bridgeport residents like Petrizzo and her daughter.
When asked why she liked O'Malley's, Audrey Petrizzo's answer is blunt.
"Because," she said matter-of-factly. "It has ice cream."
O'Malley's opened for its 25th season last month, according to owner Jinger O'Malley. She said the stand opens the first Monday of March each year and closes for the winter in November. O'Malley said she thinks the seasonal schedule is part of her hot dog stand's charm.
"I think people kind of look forward to it as a sign of spring," she said. "It's like, 'Oh gosh, O'Malley's is open. It must be spring. Warm weather's coming.'"
O'Malley and her husband, Bob, started out on the corner of 35th Street and Union Avenue in 1989 serving hot dogs out of a trailer. She said business has been good "since Day One," which is something they did not exactly expect.
"Our first day, my husband and I were going to experiment on each other, like he was going to pretend to be a customer then I was going to pretend I was a customer," she said. "The only thing was, when we opened, there was a customer there waiting."
O'Malley's is a neighborhood place, she said, somewhere people can "can send their kids down to the corner to get an ice cream cone or a hot dog."
And neighbors like Carmen Petrizzo, who lives just around the corner, agree.
"It has a nice vibe," Petrizzo said. "The ladies are really nice inside in a Bridgeport kind of way."