The hot dog stand occupies a tiny building and a narrow street in Morton. Two four-seat tables, a service counter, and a small kitchen are all that the building can accommodate. The establishment is open for only three hours a day. But for those three hours, Susie’s Hot Dogs owner Sue Perdue and server Ruth Crist are constantly in motion: preparing food, waiting on a line of customers that extends out the door and onto the sidewalk, packing to-go orders, and clearing tables as eat-in customers depart.
Operating out of the same tiny building since 1987, Perdue and Crist celebrated 30 years in business June 8.
“We’re busier in the summer than the rest of the year, because kids are out of school,” said Perdue. “But we usually do a pretty brisk business. The day of our 30-year anniversary was especially hectic. Customers were lined up for half-a-block, and we actually had to stay open a little late to serve them all.”
Friends as well as colleagues, Perdue and Crist met when they were both employees at Velvet Freeze in East Peoria. Since then, they have been working together, on and off, for 40 years.
“We like what we do, and we think it shows,” said Perdue. “When Ruth and I were working together at Velvet Freeze I thought ‘what a good job.’ So, I opened a hot dog stand of my own and I still like what I do. When you like what you do, you don’t mind going to work. In fact, you look forward to it.”
Perdue believes that customer loyalty, which has been earned through putting out a quality product and serving it in a friendly manner, has been the key to keeping Susie’s Hot Dogs in business for 30 years.
“I first started coming here when I was seven years old,” said Ryan Miller of Morton. “I’m in the Air Force now, but whenever I’m on leave, this is the first place I stop for food, every time. They’re the best hot dogs on the planet.”
“I’ve been a regular customer for 13 years,” said Ian Saathof of Morton. “Susie’s has the best chili cheese dogs in the area.”
In addition to hot dogs, Susie’s serves tacos, gyros, and barbecue sandwiches. Susie’s Hot Dogs is located at 103 W. Bradley St. in Morton and is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.