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.


36 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 J.R. Schmidt June 24, 2015 at 9:58 am

      Of course, even with Tast-e Hast-e gone, we’re still married.

      • 3 Janet Thomson June 4, 2022 at 4:32 pm

        Wow!!! Brings back SUCH good memories of going there with my friend and her two young boys. Such a great dog,with all that stuff on it,and good fries,too!! Such a shame that it’s gone. Nothing comes close now,except maybe Gene and Jude’s,which is soooo far. Thanks for a great article!!!

  2. 4 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. 5 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. 7 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. 9 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. 11 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. 12 TAMMY VERNE January 25, 2016 at 8:17 pm


  8. 13 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. 14 Kelly Capellani January 16, 2017 at 7:50 pm

    Went there when Superdawg was too crowded. Was Taste Hastee

  10. 17 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. 18 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!!

  12. 23 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. 24 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.

  14. 26 Joan June 5, 2018 at 12:28 am

    1979 my boyfriend took me to Tast-e Hast-e for the first time. He told me if I didn’t LOVE it he would lose all respect for me! Love it, I did…but I was there for the cheeseburger…run through the garden, of course. Sad that it’s gone. 😢

  15. 27 TIm Markus June 25, 2018 at 2:05 pm

    R.I.P. Tastee Hastee! My parents used to go there when they were dating.We also called it Hasty Tasty. “A garden on a bun” indeed. Those picnic tables …

  16. 28 Carol Olufson September 29, 2018 at 4:26 pm

    I grew up in Jefferson Park. Went to Beaubien elementary. Went toTast-e Hast-e all the time. Double cheese with mayo and tomatoes. Met my first husband there. Miss all the great foods from Chicago.

  17. 29 Joe February 24, 2019 at 11:04 am

    Grew up across the street from Haste Taste on Mango Ave. Mom would take me there every Thursday to buy dinner for the family. Loved the food and the box of trinkets to pick from. Great memories. Saw it grow from a hot dog cart to a drive in.

    • 30 Bruce Ebner February 28, 2019 at 1:34 am

      Joe, my name is Bruce. I lived at Parkside and Catalpa. Did you go to Farnsworth School in the 1950s and 60s?
      Taste Haste was our family favorite.

  18. 31 funny dogs August 21, 2019 at 10:49 pm

    Very good article. I definitely love this site. Keep writing!

  19. 32 Mike saunders February 3, 2020 at 12:58 pm

    Their triple cheeseburger served as lunch and dinner. Used to drive from wicker park 1964-1965. Took one bite and a half head of lettuce would fall into your lap.

  20. 33 Tom C May 28, 2021 at 6:41 pm

    Absolutely loved the Double Cheeseburger with everything. (Yes, run it through the garden was the catch phrase) Once you picked it up, you could never put it down or it would fall apart all over you.
    Favorite stop on my way home from Whelan Pool. But it was tough to pass up the popcorn at their concession stand.

  21. 34 Julie Wrobel-Eckard September 15, 2021 at 3:15 pm

    My grandparents lived directly behind the hot dog stand. The owner would always let me pick out a bunch of toys from the box since I was Einar’s granddaughter. I have very fond memories of that place.

  22. 35 Frank January 15, 2022 at 4:02 pm

    I was a neighbor and childhood friend with the owners son (Todd) in the 1960’s-70’s.
    We would go there and eat for free.

    My mom and other neighborhood moms would help cut onion’s for the hot dog stand.

    I always like the trinkets. The owners garage was filled with big boxes of them!
    Thanks Todd! 👍

  23. 36 Steven Scharf June 16, 2022 at 8:21 am

    I brother and I used to live down the street on Mango. We both worked there when in high school at Taft. They also had pizza dogs, pizza burgers, foot long dogs, etc… Nel’s the owner always took care of it was employees. He was a great owner. What a great hot dog place. Such a nostalgic place to go to and work at as well.

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