Restaurant Profile: This hot dog joint may have a silly name, but it’s serious about offering a wide variety of delicious dishes.
When Sal Cribari chats with customers and acquaintances about his restaurant, he’s often asked about the significance behind the name.
“There is no meaning – I made it up,” says the president and CEO of Fradillio’s Hot Dogs, 2321 W. Algonquin Road, Algonquin. “But I wanted a name that was fun, which represents what we’re all about. My slogan is, ‘Eat good. Eat well. Why go anywhere else?’”
As the name implies, Fradillio’s sells hot dogs – nearly 4,000 Chicago-style, chili and corn dogs per week – but that’s just the beginning. The menu includes Italian beef sandwiches, fresh burgers, turkey wraps, a variety of chopped salads and the always popular pita gyros, of which Fradillio’s sells nearly 600 each week. Pastas, chicken sandwiches and plenty of desserts round out the offerings.
“I enjoy good food, and I enjoy sharing my passion with our customers,” says Cribari. “Fradillio’s is an all-American restaurant. We offer great value, great product and great service.”
Cribari started in the restaurant business in 1979, when he opened Frato’s Hot Dogs in Schaumburg. Eight years later, in 1987, he sold it and opened his first Fradillio’s in Elk Grove Village. When Cribari built a new home in Lake in the Hills more than a decade later, he decided to sell his business and build a new 5,000- square-foot Fradillio’s closer to home. He opened it in June 1999.
Customers come from all over the northwest suburbs to dine at Fradillio’s. “It’s repetition,” Cribari says. “Sometimes they come in once or twice a week. Sometimes we might not see them for a month. But they always come back.”
That includes Ken Shallow, an electrician from Lake in the Hills, who stops in at least once a week. “The food is great and the portions are tremendous,” he says. “Everything is good, and I love the atmosphere.”
In addition to serving customers at the restaurant, Fradillio’s caters events small and large – birthday parties, graduations, baby showers, holiday celebrations. “Pasta trays, Italian beef by the pound, meatballs and dog and fry trays are popular for all occasions,” Cribari says.
Cribari employs 23 people, and many of them have been with him for a decade or more. “They tolerate me,” he jokes. He’s often at the front counter greeting customers. “I don’t ask my staff to do anything that I wouldn’t do myself.”
Pat Clancy, who came to work at Fradillio’s two months after it opened, enjoys the friendliness of staff and customers alike. “It’s a pleasant, clean environment, and everyone gets along,” she says. “We really enjoy our customers. We know what they want, even before they order. Our customers are like family.”
Cribari’s three children – sons Michael and Phillip, and daughter Jamie Lynn – all work part-time for their father. Cribari even named a dessert, Jamie Lynn’s Soon to be Famous Chocolate Cake, after his youngest child. “I’m proud of all my kids,” he says.
In addition to large flat-screen televisions and many interesting photos, the unique décor includes actual bumper cars salvaged from Chicago’s historic Riverview Park, which was open from 1904 to 1967. “It’s all part of that all-American look,” Cribari says.
Cribari has lofty dreams of building another Fradillio’s someday, but stiff competition and a rocky economy are keeping those plans in check for now. “I’m grateful for what I have,” he says. “I’m grateful for my customers, staff and vendors. When you send off positive energy, you get positive feedback.”
Fradillio’s is open Monday through Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday until 9 p.m.