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Hot Doug's Movie Being Filmed as Iconic Hot Dog Restaurant Closes

By Justin Breen | September 22, 2014 3:46pm | Updated on September 22, 2014 8:03pm
 "Hot Doug's: the Movie" is a documentary about the iconic Chicago hot dog restaurant in Avondale, which is closing later this year. The movie is being filmed by Markos Films.
Hot Doug's The Movie
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AVONDALE — The closing of iconic Chicago hot dog restaurant Hot Doug's will be captured on film by a city-based documentary team.

Markos Films' shooting for "Hot Doug's: The Movie" started a few weeks ago and will continue until the restaurant's last day of business on Oct. 3.

"Worst-case scenario: Cool, there's a document of the last days of this restaurant," Hot Doug's owner Doug Sohn told DNAinto Chicago Monday night. "The things that have happened at this restaurant over the last 12 years — none of it, I thought, made sense. This is just one more thing. At this point, I'm just rolling with it."

The project is being produced by brothers Nick and Christopher Markos with a small group of volunteer videographers.

Justin Breen says the film crew finds stories from customers in line:

"Our focus is about the closing and about why the closing of this hot dog stand is such a big deal," said Nick Markos, of Uptown. "It's not going to be an array of celebrity testimonials. It's not like a wake for Doug. It's more of a look at the closing and that something special is going on here."

Christopher Markos has filmed several documentaries and won a Primetime Emmy in 2005 for his work on the former Showtime series "Huff." He and Nick had long been in discussions to film a documentary on Sohn's restaurant, and when Sohn officially announced Hot Doug's closing in May, the brothers decided to go ahead with the project.

Sohn said he has no artistic say in the project.

"I have no idea what it's going to look like," Sohn said.

Nick Markos said the film likely will be released by next spring. He's not sure how long it will be at this point.

"We're going to make it as long as it needs to be to be really good, and not any longer than that," he said.

Nick Markos added that the film will include interviews with Sohn, plus Hot Doug's employees and customers who stand for hours in line to buy the encased meats. At 2:45 p.m. Monday, Sohn said the wait was still more than three hours.

Sohn said that was nothing compared to Saturday's wait, which lasted a whopping nine hours for some customers.

"I stopped the line at 11 a.m., and I took the last order at 7:50 p.m.," Sohn said. "It's been so crazy, crazy busy that I genuinely just haven't had a chance to really sit down and think about it closing. I still have a business to run that's literally four times busier than it's ever been. For me, my goal is to get to the end of each day to make sure we have enough food."

Nick Markos noted he's looking for Hot Doug's regulars and not "the zaniest people" in line.

"Juggling chainsaws is not going to get you in the documentary," he said. "You're definitely barking up the wrong tree."

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