MONTGOMERY – “Chris’ Famous Hot Dogs is a true landmark in Montgomery,” said one of this year’s Retailer of the Year judges. The downtown Montgomery restaurant, famous for its hotdogs and nostalgia, was honored today as the 2018 Silver Alabama Retailer of the Year in the Annual Sales Less Than $1 Million category.
Christopher Anastasios “Chris” Katechis immigrated to the United States from a small island in Greece and opened his hot dog business on May 1, 1917. More than 100 years later, Chris’ Famous Hot Dogs remains in its original location – 138 Dexter Avenue in downtown Montgomery. Chris’ Hot Dogs is the oldest family owned and operated restaurant in Montgomery. In terms of the name, merchandise, location and ownership over the past 101 years, not much has changed. “Same name, same food, same location, same family,” said Gus Katechis. Gus, the founder’s grandson, runs the business with his dad and owner Theo Katechis.
“We have had five generations of customers,” said Theo. “That is what has allowed us to remain in business for over 100 years. My dad had his gene ration, then I brought in my generation of people, and now my son is doing the same with his generation. We’re now working on a fourth generation,” added Theo.
For a restaurant that’s been in business for 101 years, the Retailer of the Year judges were impressed that revenues continue to increase. “They have stayed relevant and found new ways to adapt to modern consumer preferences,” said one judge. “They are true ambassadors for the industry and have been for many decades.”
Among the famous customers who’ve visited the restaurant are Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, George H.W. and George W. Bush, Elvis Presley, Martin Luther King Jr., Clark Gable, Oprah Winfrey and Hank Williams.
“There’s a story that (Hank Williams) first wrote ‘Hey Good Lookin’ on a napkin here,” said Gus.
Chris’ Famous Hot Dogs, an Alabama Retail Association member since 2004, was one of 13 retail businesses honored today as Retailers of the Year. This year’s winners came from a pool of almost 100 nominees. The Alabama Retailer of the Year awards, started in 1999, honor retailers who have demonstrated growth, innovation and a commitment to their respective communities. Carr, Riggs & Ingram CPAs and Advisors, Slappey Communications and the University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Business were the award luncheon sponsors.
“Theo and Gus Katechis are retailers of the year EVERY year to Chris’ Famous Hot Dogs’ customers, their 12 employees and the Montgomery community,” said Alabama Retail Association President Rick Brown.
The Alabama Retail Association represents retailers, the largest private employer in the state of Alabama, before the Alabama Legislature and the U.S. Congress. Through sales of food, clothing, furniture, medicine and more, our 4,200 independent merchant and national company members touch almost every aspect of daily living. Since 1943, we’ve worked to promote what’s best for the retail industry in Alabama. Whether voicing the retail view when public policy is made, educating members about issues that impact them, negotiating rates for benefits and services or communicating the retail story, the Alabama Retail Association and its members are better together.
Gus Katechis, Chris’ Hot Dogs | 334.202.8444
Melissa Warnke, Alabama Retail Association | 256.338.0621 | 800.239.5423
Nancy Dennis, Alabama Retail Association | 334.551.0643 | 800.239.5423