Fluky’s of Chicago—frequently credited for originating the Chicago hot dog—is often said to have served a “Depression Sandwich” (hot dog) for a nickel during the 1930s. Fluky’s claim to naming a “Depression Sandwich” is highly possible, but documentation is lacking.
Many sandwiches were called a “Depression Sandwich” during the 1930s. The name “Depression Sandwich” has been cited in print since at least 1931, when it referred to a ham and cheese sandwich.
Fluky’s is a Chicago-area fast food restaurant known for hot dogs.
Fluky’s began in Chicago in 1929 on Maxwell and Halsted Streets. Founded by Abe Drexler, this stand is widely acknowledged as the originator of the Chicago-style hot dog. Still owned by the Drexler family, Fluky’s maintains a stand in a Wal-Mart in Niles. A location in Buffalo Grove recently closed down.
The one-time chain had dwindled by the time the last city of Chicago Fluky’s, 6821 N. Western Ave., changed its name to U Lucky Dawg on February 14, 2006; that site had been owned by a licensee for the previous eight years.
10 December 1931, Thomson (IL) Review, “Little Stories,” pg. 3, col. 1:
HERE’S THE LATEST IN SMART
So up to Ben’s we went, bounced in and bought ourselves seven cents worth of pressed ham.
Then Ben had some good dairy butter so we got four nice slices for a nickel, cut the buns in two, inserted butter and ham and then Ben got generous and kind-hearted, didn’t want to see us fellows go hungry, so he sliced off a couple of nice slabs of cheese which also were inserted in said sandwich.
Then a couple of bottles of oop from the cigar store and we were all set. Those tea biscuits at a nickel a dozen along with the necessary trimmings will make just two nice sandwiches and Ed and I decided that we had such a good lunch that we would have to give the sandwich a name, hence the “Depression Sandwich” and if you are real hungry some day and can coax Ed to mix up one of them for you, we’ll bet you agree with us that it’s a dandy.—F. L. Stagg.
27 August 1932, Lock Haven (PA) Express, pg. 4, col. 7 ad:
DEPRESSION SANDWICH 10c
(New American Restaurant; the sandwich is not described—ed.)
13 September 1935, El Paso (TX) Herald-Post, pg. 9, col. 1:
Take any kind of left-over cooked meat and run through meat grinder until you have two cupfuls. To this, add six chopped hard-cooked eggs, one finely chopped green pepper, one teaspoonful of onion juice, one-third cupful of chopped celery. Season. Moisten with mayonnaise. Serve on crisp lettuce thinly sliced or toasted bread. Garnish with stuffed or ripe olives.
MRS. CLAUDE BRYAN.
1305 Wyoming St.
City in Time: Chicago
By Ray Furse
There, his son Jake “Fluky” Drexler sold a glorified, veggie-covered dog called the “Depression Sandwich” for a nickel each. It was an instant success, and the Chicago Hot Dog was born.
ZZChicago (IL) Reader
Posted by Mike Sula on Thu, Aug 28, 2008 at 11:41 AM
I bring this up because that distinguished Investigator of South Side Culinary Oddities Peter Engler referred me to a few old newspaper clips during my research that challenge some of the conventional wisdom passed down through the ages about the origins of the “Depression sandwich.” For one thing the legend of Fluky’s founder Abe Drexler pioneering what we know today as the Chicago hot dog “dragged through the garden” seems somewhat flawed…
Columbus (OH) Dispatch
>i>Hot diggity dogs
Rising demand, exotic toppings have wiener vendors on a roll
Wednesday, April 15, 2009 3:25 AM
By Story by Kevin Joy Photos by Fred Squillante
Once known by some folks in Chicago as “Depression sandwiches,” hot dogs rose to American prominence as a filling, low-cost meal during the 1930s. (The classic Chicago dog—still popular today—features mustard, relish, tomato, pickle spears, sport peppers and celery salt inside a poppy-seed bun).
Without A College Degree, Hard-Pressed For Jobs
by Zoe Chace
May 6, 2011
The hot dog used to be called the Depression Sandwich. They’re still really popular.