MONTGOMERY / BIRMINGHAM – Chris’ Hot Dogs celebrated its centennial anniversary earlier this year. It marked the milestone with a block party, car show and live entertainment. For one day only, it offered curbside service as it did in its first 25 years before traffic became an issue. The city even placed a historic marker outside the business.
Being just three blocks from the Alabama Capitol, Chris’ Hot Dogs has a front row seat for Montgomery history and has served a lot of politicians and other movers and shakers.
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 all have eaten there.
“There’s a story that (Hank Williams) first wrote ‘Hey Good Lookin’ on a napkin here,” said Gus Katechis, the founder’s grandson, who runs the business with his dad and owner, Theo Katechis.
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. One hundred years later, Chris’ 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 100 years, not much has changed. “Same name, same food, same location, same family,” Gus said.
“People always ask us the secret to being in business for 100 years,” he said. “I always tell them, you just gotta be here. You’ve got to be here every day.”
The Alabama Retail Association today honored Chris’ Hot Dogs, an Alabama Retail Association member since 2004, as an Alabama Centennial Retailer. The business received a bronze plaque to place outside the restaurant and a certificate suitable for display inside.
“For a business to survive the dramatic changes of the past century is a remarkable achievement,” said Alabama Retail Association President Rick Brown. “It is fitting to celebrate the enduring first-century contributions Chris’ Hot Dogs has made to Montgomery and the surrounding communities.”
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.