By Caryl Clem
The lure of extra money propelled 2 university music professors Don Hamacher and Jim Griggs to open a stand in 1953. Every college campus offered cheap food hotspots; University Of Illinois in Champaign was no exception. A nothing fancy, DogNSuds Drive In, serving dogs and root beer evolved into a 68 year old company. How? Legendary DogNSuds was a lucky merger between a satisfied older lady customer offering cash support and an unforgettable logo. Read on for the real story……
“ Brother, what was your most memorable experience?” He sat back in his chair, his eyes brightening. He started, “This is a story not in print but true. I played a part in the DogNSuds logo formation. A contest was held, the winner would be the emblem for Don and Jim’s growing company venture. Professors I knew. My fraternity roommate drew the final draft of our combined ideas. First, an animal Americans’ love had to be selected. Almost in unison, several young men shouted,” A Dog” ! Perfect connection to hot dogs on the menu. Time debating on what action the dog would do. No agreement until a collection of ideas resulted in a logical conclusion, a dog carrying a tray of food. My roommate and I exchanged ideas drawing the image, The Winner !. The intensity of team spirit that night I will never forget.”
The first logo, Disney felt infringed on their characters, so the dog went through a face lift. During the age of muscle cars, a trip to the drive in was an event showing off your vehicle . The Ingleside DogNSuds started the practice of “Saturday Night Cruising”. A magazine commented that by the 1960’s if the town had a stoplight, it had a Dog N Suds. Beginning in 1963, 2 locations still open today are: Richmond, IL. that remains a small family run business and Grayslake , IL .under new management of the 5th owner.
After declining sales during the 80’s DogNSuds was sold to Van Dame company in 1991 ; eventually all rights went to the current company TK&C’s LLC. The joy taking a trip to one of those Drive Ins will never fade for me. Celebrating summer, cruising, munching on a Coney dog while sipping frothy stick to your lips root beer. Memories carried in the heat of a summer breeze. Take a trip back in time by reading a book by one of the Cofounders, Don Hamacher: The Journey Through The Life Of Don Hamacher released in 2012.