I invite you to meet someone you should know. Meet Tony (Rosario) Manno, the owner of “Tony’s Pump Room”, (not to be confused with the real Pump Room in the Ambassador East Hotel). He was born Ventimiglia di Sicilia, Palermo, Sicilia, Italy on January 8 1894
Beginning 1953 or earlier, Tony sold hot dogs from his white hot dog cart, an icon and fixture on Chicago’s North side. He and his cart moved around from time to time, selling at various intersections, He was often found at the corner of Addison or Waveland and Lake Shore Drive, but sometimes at the corner of Addison and Ashland , sometimes on Southport, other times at Addison and Sheridan, or Irving Park and Sheridan. His Pump Room was mentioned more than once in the Chicago Tribune as the best place to find a real Chicago dog.
I know people, including my friend Franny, who swears “The best hot dogs I ever had were from Tony’s Pump Room”. You had the choice of either the Vienna or Oscar Mayer frankfurter. Most of us would tell Tony “everything on”.
We don’t know a whole lot about Tony yet, when he died, or where he is buried, but we fondly remember him for being a champion of the “Chicago hot dog”.
But all is not well in Chicago, because our beloved hot dog sparks a fierce debate between the two types of Chicagoan’s, those who choose ketchup on their hot dog or those who defend the traditional yellow mustard.