New Trier grad digs local ties
Josh Kaplan, owner of Northbrook Josh's (hot dogs) at 873 Sanders Rd. is just thrilled to be here. Customers includes good pal Jon Scheyer, local basketball legend. Karie Angell Luc~for Sun-Times Media
For more information, visit www.joshshotdogs.com, or call 847-272-1177.
Updated: October 14, 2012 12:24PM
NORTHBROOK — Josh Kaplan made the right career move when he found peace of mind in a piece of meat.
“I came from the world of real estate,” said Kaplan, owner of Josh’s Hot Dogs at 873 Sanders Road in Northbrook. “I was selling real estate before this. ... When I sell somebody a hot dog. I know they’re going to he happy. When I sell somebody real estate, I’m really hoping they’re going to he happy …”
That’s like the difference between a Chicago-style hot dogs with mustard and those sullied by ketchup. One is a crowd pleaser, and the other just isn’t done, unless you’re a tyke who likes hot dogs plain.
Kaplan and his wife Kate, have two sons, Nate, 3, and Marty, 1.
“I do read Good Night Moon,” said Kaplan, of his children’s preferred bedtime reading tastes. “We read Clifford (the big red dog). We got a lot of stuff. We got a whole library in there,” said the proud dad. Kaplan, raised in Deerfield and a 1992 New Trier High School grad, cherishes family time.
And yes, what’s for dinner has dad literally bringing home the bacon.
“Well, my kids like the burgers,” said Kaplan, whose older son also likes gyros.
“My wife and I will have a salad and chicken on it, we run the gamut …”
There’s even a blue milkshake in honor of Jon Scheyer, the Glenbrook North High School basketball legend, who also played for Duke University.
“(Scheyer) wouldn’t let me make a blue milkshake in his name,” said Kaplan. “I tried to call it the Scheyer Shake but he wouldn’t let me. It means he’s a humble guy. He doesn’t need things named after him.”
Scheyer left a few weeks ago to play basketball in Spain.
“Me and Jon Scheyer, we’ve become pretty close,” Kaplan mused. “I catered his parents’ backyard barbecues and (Scheyer) keeps in touch with me. We keep in touch with each other, whether it’s dropping each other a text, you know, ‘How are you doing? How was your week?’
They both share a love for Northbrook.
“The one thing we’re on the same page is, our sense of community. We have even discussed that before, to give back to the community, and that’s something I’ll always be big on, the community.”
Josh’s burger blend and skirt steaks are made exclusively by Northbrook-based Elegance in Meats.
“I had a goal in this business to try to keep it as local as possible.”
Chicken and turkey products come from Glenview-based Harrison Poultry.
“I have faith in the local vendors,” said Kaplan. “The quality is just far superior than most quick service restaurants in my business.”
Said the 1997 college graduate in communications: “I truly believe that we’re not just another hot dog stand.”
In 2009, he started and his business with a partner under the name “Chicago Wolfy’s,” until a partnership was dissolved.
“It’s been great, business has been great,” explained Kaplan. “I just had to rebrand as Josh’s because (the partner) owned the Wolfy’s brand name.”
Nowadays, the former varsity soccer player who “still likes to play every now and then,” wears signature glasses with a bright smile.
“Black, heavy frames,” he said approvingly. “(The) 1950s, which is the kind of look I love ….” ~.