Last Updated on July 4, 2017 by Jody Halsted
If there is one thing our travels have taught us, it's to never pass by an interesting looking restaurant.
Such was the case during our trip to Chicago's Southland. We were in town for the Gaelic Park Irish Fest and were looking for a place to grab lunch. We had passed Johnny's WeeNee Wagon on our way to the hotel, noticing the patriotic hot dog outside. Intrigued by the boldness of the humble dog, we decided it was exactly the kind of place we wanted to experience.
This small building, though larger than the “wagon” in it's name, is home to some of the best food we've had in a while. The menu was much larger than expected, serving a wide variety of hot dogs as well as burgers, brats, chicken, gyros and even steaks.
It took us quite a while to decide what to order- and even with guidance from the staff, we second guessed our choices.
This photo does no credit to our meal…. There is no way an image can show you how fresh the ground beef in the hand cut burgers tasted, or how tasty the brat was (my only complaint is that there was no sauerkraut). But the real treat was the onion rings. Hand cut and thick, these were the kind of rings you can only find in small town diners. Absolutely incredible.
As we were enjoying our meal under a canopy outside, John Cappas, the Johnny of the WeeNee Wagon came out to join us. He has owned the restaurant for three years and is passionate about the quality of the food served. As we ate, John told us how he learned about food quality in culinary school and his desire to serve the best quality food for the best value. Even as I was eating my mouth was watering, wanting to try one of the chicken breast sandwiches- the chicken is marinated for 24 hours. And as he described choosing the best beef for steaks- which he hand cut personally- I knew this was a man as dedicated to food quality as he was to restaurant success.
The quality extends to the ice cream served at Johnny's WeeNee Wagon. Technically it's custard, which is much creamier than traditional ice cream, due to 10% cream. Last year the restaurant purchased a special machine that infuses the custard with one of 64 different flavors- making this the perfect spot for a family who loves an evening cone!
I wish we could have returned to Johnny's for dinner- I really wanted to try their chicken. I suppose that means we'll have to make a trip back!
About Johnny's WeeNee Wagon
- Located just off I57 in Markham, Illinois- a Chicago suburb.
- Indoor seating is very limited, and the area can be crowded with people waiting for their meals. Make your order and designate your “pick up person” while everyone else heads outside for a table.
- Drive up is available.
- Expect it to be very busy during the lunch hours on a week day.
- Future plans include a dining room to focus on evening dining.
- Visit on a Wednesday in the summer to enjoy “Cruise Night”.
Have you eaten at Johnny's WeeNee Wagon? What was your favorite part of the meal?