The opening of Dog N Suds and Tastee Freez in Grayslake may usually be a sign that spring is almost here, but the arrival of yet another winter storm Feb. 26 doesn't exactly make it feel spring-like outside.
And if you want someone to blame for this wintry weather, Dog N Suds Owner Chris Beckord said you can blame him.
"I set my opening day eight months ago and of course we had a snowstorm," said Beckord. "Last year, I planned the opening eight months in advance and we had the only snowstorm of the season. It's all me. If we hadn't opened, it wouldn't have snowed."
But if Dog N Suds hadn't opened, faithful customers would have been deprived of the 49-year-old restaurant's hot dogs, burgers, tater tots, root beer and other items. The usual favorites, Beckord said, are the Texas Burger, Coney Dog, root beer and root beer floats.
Dog N Suds officially opened its doors for the season on Feb. 22.
"It's been pretty good," said Beckord. "It's winter, of course, but a lot of our loyal customers have been in, and there's a lot of chatter on Facebook. We always start out a little slow because it's cold."
And with Tuesday's snowstorm, the restaurant closed early, at 2 p.m.
"Today will be the only day in my 18 years here that we've closed early," Beckord said Tuesday. "I just know that we're not going to have any business."
But once the temperatures warm up, business will be booming.
Part of the popularity, Beckord said, is the drive-in's historic building.
"We are the same as we were the day we opened," he said. "I think our staff is excellent and they work really, really hard to do it right every single time. And people love our food."
This year, Dog N Suds brought back last year's popular new item, the double bacon pretzel burger. Beckord said sweet potato tater tots have been added to the menu this year.
Tasty Treats at Tastee Freez
Tastee Freez, which has been in Grayslake for almost 60 years, opened for the season on Feb. 25, said Manager Trey Stevens, who has worked at the restaurant for 12 years.
"We try to have good products and we try to be friendly to everyone," said Stevens. "I think our products are the main things that keep people coming back."
The most popular items on the menu, he said, are the chocolate shake, cake batter shake, Oreo Freezees and the small dipped cones - especially chocolate and cherry.
What's important to note is that the ice cream at Tastee Freez is 97 percent fat-free, Stevens said.
"It's like a yogurt, but it's still ice cream so it doesn't have that yogurt flavor," he said.
Even with the colder weather, people are still stopping in for ice cream and other items, Stevens said.
"People will still come up," he said. "When the weather gets warmer, it'll be crazy."
Tastee Freez, located at 131 Hawley, is open Monday through Sunday from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m.
Dog N Suds, located at 454 Center St., is open Monday through Sunday from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m.