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Planning and Economic Development

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eMacomb - Spotlight on Business, Summer 2011


Chicago-style hot dogs debut in Clinton Township

In a place where the Coney Dog rules, can a Chicago-style hot dog cut the mustard?  Tried and true Hippo’s Hot Dogs opens in Macomb County and is ready to run with the pack.

For the uninitiated, a Chicago style hot dog is an all beef Vienna simmered in water and tucked into a steamed poppy seed bun.  Traditional toppings are mustard, relish, onions, wedges of fresh tomato, pickle spear, and a couple of sport peppers with a dash of celery salt.  The omission of ketchup, just like its Coney cousin, is deliberate.

“We have a kid’s dog on the menu with ketchup but mature hot dog connoisseurs know better,” laughs Lynn Platt, co-proprietor of the new dining spot along with husband Mark.  A love of hot dogs runs in the family.  Lynn’s father, former Chicago resident Gene Lukas along with his sons, first opened Hippo’s Hot Dogs in Troy in 1988.  Named “Best in Detroit” by WDIV in 1994 and inducted into the Vienna Beef “Hall of Fame” in 2006, Hippo’s enjoys a steady stream of customers.  “When we realized that some of our customers were traveling as far as 30 miles to sink their teeth into one of our snappy dogs, we knew the time was right to open a second location.”

Enter Susan Bates, certified SBTDC business consultant.  Bates worked with the pair to develop a marketing strategy.

Hippo’s Restaurant is located at located at 35520 Groesbeck, just north of 15 Mile and are open Monday – Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.  Aside from the Chicago dog, they offer a smorgasbord of other tasty sensations and also provide catering services.  Visit them at