How It All Started

Our Story


On the northwest side of Chicago, in the Portage Park neighborhood, my dad (Dominic Guinta) came up with an idea for keeping my brother Joe and myself Sam busy and out of trouble, doing something productive, during the summer of 1964.

From a 6 x 10 foot trailer that our father rented for us next to the gas station near our Chicago home, we sold Vienna Hot Dogs for a quarter and soft drinks for a dime that first summer. Sammie’s was operated seasonally six months a year. Growing up and moving on, we opened a year-round store in Chicago 1970 and two years later in 1972 a second in Grayslake, where we turned a walk-up summertime stand into a year-round fast-food operation.

Expanded several times since, that restaurant has gone from six stools to seating 78. In 1982 we opened in partnership with Dave Keith, a third location now located at 215 W. Rollins Road in Round Lake Beach. In 1988 we sold our original store in Chicago, and now operate exclusively in the Lake County area.

In 1997 a new SAMMIES was opened in partnership with Tom Sheehan, at 216 Milwaukee Ave.(RT. 83) in Lake Villa.

In 2008, Sammie’s was honored to be inducted into the Vienna Hot Dog Hall of Fame. A legacy we will always respect and appreciate being included in. Bob Schwartz of Vienna Beef started this program to acknowledge and award long time independent hot dog stand operators. We are honored to be included in his new book just released, “NEVER PUT KETCHUP ON A HOT DOG”, the history of the Chicago Hot Dog and the people that serve them.

Sammie’s has turned into a lifetime endeavor for my brother Joe and I along with our partners Dave, Tom and his wife Jeri and my son Dominic.

What hasn’t changed in more then 50 years are the authentic Chicago Style Hot Dogs and other Chicago Style Sandwiches we serve. Plus our commitment to quality, good service and good value. It is a honor to serve you.

Here at Sammie’s, we maintain a simple idea that our DAD taught us. Do it the best you know how. Period! We hope you enjoyed your visit to Sammie’s and look forward to seeing you again, soon. . . .Sammy

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