WICKER PARK — An old neighborhood staple is back, though its owner insists it's "completely new."
Underdog, a hot-dog joint underneath Flash Taco, reopened Monday morning four years after its original incarnation shuttered.
The new version of the wiener restaurant features old-time photos of Wicker Park on its walls, Mexican-inspired hot dogs on its menu and one less "g" in its name. (The original place was called "Underdogg.")
"We brought back an old name, but this is a completely new place," said Ulysses Salamanca, who also owns Flash Taco above at 1570 N. Damen Ave. "The response has been great. There's nothing old here. This is a new place, a new vibe, a new restaurant."
Underdog shares the same hours as its Mexican neighbor: 11 a.m.-5 a.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. through 6 a.m. Friday and Saturday; and 11 a.m. through 4 a.m. on Sundays.
On its first day back in business, Salamanca said he "couldn't be happier" with the steady stream of business from people who took the stairs down to the basement to try the restaurants burgers, classic Chicago-style hot dogs or "Mexi-dogs."
The return of the restaurant was especially praised by people like Marshall Black, who was a regular at the old Underdogg and often makes lunch appearances at Flash Taco as well.
"It's clean and there's high-quality food," Black said. "I'm happy it's back."