Tast-e Hast-e—A Lost Chicago Drive-in

Last month I celebrated Superdawg on the death of its founder.  Now is a good time to remember its onetime rival down Milwaukee Avenue—Taste-e Hast-e.

Taste-e Hast-e (1978)

Taste-e Hast-e (1978)

My earliest memories of the place were of a portable stand on the sidewalk line at 5446 North Milwaukee Avenue.  The food was prepared in a little garage at the back of the property.  In 1955 a permanent building with a parking lot went up on the site.

When I first started eating here, we called the place Hasty Tasty.   That may have been a simple mistake—or, as rumor had it, another drive-in had already trademarked that name, so the owners on Milwaukee Avenue had to restyle their business as Tast-e Hast-e.  Whatever the reason, both names stayed in common usage.

Tast-e Hast-e didn’t have carhops, and the hot dogs themselves were nothing special.  What set it apart from other frankfurter emporiums were the trimmings.  “Everything on” meant you got mustard, tomato, onions, cucumber, lettuce, dill pickles, piccalilli, and both green and red peppers.  My Dad appreciated all that stuff, so he’d simply tell the man, “Run it through the garden.”

Around 1980 a branch called Bowser Dog opened at 4504 West Irving Park Road, but it never attained the popularity of the original.  Both Tast-e and Bowser closed during the 1990s.



21 Responses to “Tast-e Hast-e—A Lost Chicago Drive-in”

  1. 1 terrinschmidt2013 June 24, 2015 at 6:45 am

    Sometimes I think the only reason you dated me was that I conveniently lived between Tast-e-Haste-e and Superdawg (L0L)

  2. 3 Ralph June 25, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    I probably went to Tast-e Haste maybe 4 or 5 times only in my life. Good food but for some reason I just never went there. I was more of a Beefy-19 guy myself in the late 1960’s, early 70’s. JR, do you remember a place called “Chicks Drive In” on Milwaukee Ave. in Logan Square? I use to go here a lot back in the late 1960’s and 1970’s as well? I love hot dogs and that’s what I am having for dinner tonight as well! LOL

  3. 4 Jim Jastrzebski August 11, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    I went there frequently and took my kids there. Remember the crate of little toys at the end of the serving line? It was a little thing, but it showed the owner’s compassion. They also had Kayo chocolate drink in bottles!

  4. 6 Michael Howe August 21, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    Growing up in the ’60’s & 70″s around Nagle & NW Hwy, it was always Tast-e Hast-e. My Dad would take us there over Super Dawg. Always loved the little carts that held the bun and the dogs as it went by getting loaded with all the trimmings. Living in San Antonio now, not much in the way of a great Hot Dog stand / Drive in here.

  5. 8 Bob Zaun October 8, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    I grew up across the street from Rosedale Park. Every Saturday morning we’d walk to the Times theater to see 2 hours of cartoons. It was a long walk, but the good thing is we passed Hasty Taste-e, that’s what we called it, and would eat & drink, coming and going. It was THE GREATEST…”a meal-on-a-bun.” Our Taft HS golf team went there after each match. It must have been good as we went undefeated and won the Chicago City championship my junior & senior years, 1956 & 57. A few years later, when I came home from college, I always took my wife-to-be there for a night of gourmet dining. Coming from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, she never quite understood the allure of the Chicago hot dog. Pitty! Super Dawg was, and still is, good, but doesn’t have the raw charm of Hasty Taste-e.
    Bob Zaun

  6. 10 nick linden January 2, 2016 at 2:59 pm

    Thank you for the posting. My father worked in a nearby factory – Janler Plastics – & it was a great treat to enjoy good times, good food & the trinket.
    I collected the trinkets, more of a tangible collection of memories with my father & family.

    Strangely I today vicariously continue my Taste-e Haste-e experience with my own children via a common venue … Tony’s Steamers in Winfield IL.

    My children never have met their grandfather as he is long gone. It is amazing how something as simple as hot dog and fries not only creates good times. It bonds them.

    Thanks for the posting.

  7. 11 TAMMY VERNE January 25, 2016 at 8:17 pm


  8. 12 Bagwhan Shree Rashneesh September 28, 2016 at 4:26 pm

    I had the pleasure of working there ’84-’89. It was great living in the neighborhood and working at such a recognizzable place. It seemed ALLthe neighborhood kids came by – regularly. When I went to College of DuPage, I would make the 1 hour trip to get Hast-e dogs, rather than the 20 min trip to the nearest Portillo’s. That was TWO tolls one way! Was always worth it!

  9. 13 Kelly Capellani January 16, 2017 at 7:50 pm

    Went there when Superdawg was too crowded. Was Taste Hastee

  10. 16 Pete Hough January 17, 2017 at 1:24 pm

    Grew up between Tast-e and Superdawg myself, 90% of the time i went to Tast-E.That’s what I’ve always said! Put the Superdawg hotdog on the Tast-E bun, best hotdog in the history of the world!!!

  11. 17 cathy z January 19, 2017 at 10:04 am

    I always enjoyed tast e hast e !!!! Mom and Dad would take us there as kids and when I got married I moved a block behind it!!! Yeah!!!! Now I live in wisc and crave the wonderful taste of all the wonderful foods in chgo!!! The totally awesome pizza, the It. beef sandwiches, and the little chinese take out place on milwaukee ave just down from a grocery store that I dont remember the name of but I think the name of the family resturant was the blue angel. Food here in wisc is no comparison at all, so, I make my own cause I know what it SHOULD TASTE LIKE!!!!! lol thanks for posting sure brought back good memories!!

    • 18 Milan Norum September 7, 2017 at 10:39 am

      Cathy Z. That grocery store was a National Tea, then a Butera. Now it’s a strip mall and the Blue Angel is Ell’y Pancakes. Gladstone Bank is now Associated Bank. Paterno’s sold the liquor store but opened a deli-bar-pizza joint behind it. The Hamm Tree is still there next to the True Value.

  12. 19 Jim C January 20, 2017 at 10:50 pm

    went there every night when i was 14-17 summer and winter it was our hang out… great place loved the ” Z Burger”

  13. 20 Jack March 9, 2018 at 6:58 pm

    1960’s, I lived on Mango by the Taste Haste. “It” was there or Orsi’s Pizza.

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