THE LOOP — A long-vacant commuter concession stand in the Loop finally has a new tenant: Gobble Doggs, a turkey hot dog truck selling a healthier alternative to beefy franks.
The Aurora-based food truck will open a stand this month at the LaSalle Street Metra Station, 414 S. LaSalle St., said Gobble Doggs' owner, Annah Mitchell.
The hot dog stand will fill a concession kiosk left vacant about two years ago when the former concessionaire abruptly closed. The closure was a loss for riders taking Metra's Rock Island District Line, which runs to and from Joliet and serves commuters from Bronzeville, Englewood, Auburn-Gresham, Beverly and other South Side neighborhoods.
"We’re very excited the space is filled now and hope our customers and others who work nearby will find this to be an enjoyable and convenient new food option," said Michael Gillis, a Metra spokesman. "Our customers will like it."
Prices have not been finalized, but Gillis said her truck sells $7 turkey dog combos. The menu includes turkey dogs, vegetarian dogs, as well as hot dogs topped with turkey bacon and turkey chili.
Mitchell, who's run the truck since 2012, said she's proved a lot of turkey dog naysayers — including one of her former business school professors — wrong.
"If they make turkey hot dogs and they’re flying off the shelves, turkey hot dogs can’t be bad," she said. "Sometimes people don't even know it's a turkey dog."
Mitchell said she hopes to begin serving beer and other alcoholic beverages out of the concession stand within six months. Gobble Doggs signed a five-year lease with Metra, with a five-year extension available at the end of the term.
While the turkey dog stand is better than nothing, some South Side commuters are hoping for more. One of them is Scott Smith, a consultant who noticed the hot dog stand was coming.
"I can't really see myself eating a hot dog on the Metra regularly," Smith said in an email. "Huge spillage opportunity."