Posted tagged ‘chili dogs’

Bob Wernet’s Super Chief

June 26, 2008

Every family has one, I am sure. The little greasy spoon…restaurant dive….that holds memories galore. For my children and I, it’s this place. The Super Chief. Foot long coney dogs with buttery grilled buns and messy, mild chili. The greasiest, best tasting onion rings in the world. Cherry cokes still made with real cherry syrup and bits of real cherries in the bottom of your cup that plug up your straw. I don’t think I have ever had anything else there in….forever. I know we went for breakfast one Saturday once…but it wasn’t the same.

We had an argument today about how many people the place holds. I said 33 but the Prince said I am imagining things. HE says it’s less. At any rate it’s small. They have added a small patio with picnic tables for the summer months. Maybe 4 tables. The cozy crowdedness is actually part of it’s charm. We have never had to wait for a seat. And there is always a steady stream of customers.

The Super Chief has been a favorite of my family’s for a good long while. Back then it was a drive in. You pulled your car in and someone came out to take your order. Food was brought to your car on a tray that balanced on your half open window. The perfect place for a summer evening dinner. I am not sure when they moved to this building. It may even have been a move back. My dad used to stop in for chili dogs when he was still driving a truck….way over 50 years ago. Once we gave my dad a tee shirt form the store as a Christmas gift. He was wearing it in Daytona Beach, Florida and was stopped by someone who knew the place. So they chatted a while. Memories….and chili dogs.

When my son was about 4 years old and my parents were visiting from their new home in Florida, we went for lunch. I remember him in shorts and a tee shirt, feet in tennies swinging, as I explained our family history with the place while my dad leaned against the counter and talked with deceased owner’s wife. My son had a quizzical little look on his face for a moment and then said. “Pop brought you hera when you were a yiddle girl….and now you are bring me hera.” The frown deepened a little. My guy. At four he had figured out a new concept. Continuity….and chili dogs.

The restaurant is right around the corner from the building where I would spend hours working on materials for my classroom every summer. I would drag the kids there, set them to work and promise them the work session would be followed by a visit to the Super Chief. One such late summer day we sat in a tight corner booth having a rollicking conversation as we sipped away on cherry cokes. The Prince and I had discovered a – then new – Lewis and Clark coin in my change purse. We were talking about how cool it was when the Princess piped up with some comment. The Prince was rather disdainful and told her she didn’t even know about Lewis and Clark. She informed him that she did so. It was Superman! Heh. (Before school routines involved watching a bit of ‘LOIS and Clark’ on television every morning.) That particular day a very well dressed lawyer type woman who had been reading the paper at the table next to us during our exchange, stopped by to tell me how much she had enjoyed my family that day. Heh. That’s the type of place it is. No secrets…..and chili dogs.

Another time we were there during the winter. Just the kids and I…again. Funds were a little tight that day and I knew she wouldn’t finish a whole foot long chili dog, so I planned to eat part of the Princess’ meal. When the waitress came to take our order, she asked if I wanted anything. When I said no, the Princess burst out that we didn’t have enough money. Well, two orders of onion rings, three foot longs, three cherry cokes and no bill later….we were the recipients of the owner’s generosity… something she does all the time, I was assured. Heh. Heartfelt generosity….and chili dogs.

Bob Wernet no longer owns the Super Chief. Neither does his wife. Bob passed away in 2002. The new owners have pledged to run it just as it has always been run. And just to make sure, Bob’s wife shows up for work there – every day. She has a huge candy bucket that comes out when kids are handy. The same Native American art works hang on the walls. Cheesy paintings of perfect people with feathers in their hair. There is a sculpture of Chief Pontiac on a shelf over the drink dispenser. And a drawing of Bob on the wall next to it. We took a friend with us this time. And a camera. I planned to take pictures for this blog entry. Unfortunately, we forgot to get a picture of the chili dogs before we ate them. Heh. Guess you will have to see one for yourself! Onion rings….and chili dogs

Bob Wernat’s Super Chief is located at 340 W Walton Blvd , Pontiac, MI
And they do take outs too. Phone – (248) 333-2028