Windy City comes to Craig

Restaurant owners bring taste of Chicago to Colorado

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Scott Clark and Lori Tomey want to give the people of Craig a taste of their childhood.

Both raised in Chicago, the business partners are opening Windy City Dogs and Beef in a couple of weeks.

"It's food from Chicago fixed by two native Chicagoans," Tomey said.

The business partners and longtime friends recently purchased the building previously occupied by the Wild West BBQ on Victory Way and are planning to open the second week of January.

Tomey recently moved to Craig to join her mother, who has been here for 25 years. Clark, needing a vacation from Chicago's fast pace, came for a visit and decided to stay.

"I think Scott just needed to chill out from the crazy Chicago nightlife," Tomey said.

In a way, opening Windy City is taking Clark back to his roots. His father owned restaurant/bars in Chicago since Clark was a child.

"Since I was 9 years old, I've worked in a bar/restaurant," he said. "Since I was 9 years old, 'til now."

Clark said he was excited to use his knowledge and experiences to make Windy City an authentic Chicago-style eatery.

"We just want to show them (that) this is what a Chicago place looks like inside," Tomey said.

On a final trip back, he's loading up with memorabilia and decorations. Then the duo will get everything set up and open the doors.

Selling Italian beef and sausage, hot dogs, gyros, chili, sandwiches and brownies, Tomey said the idea for the restaurant was inspired by her travels.

With no such foods available here, she said she would load her suitcases with foods to bring back after a visit to Chicago.

"These are things you can't buy in a grocery store," Tomey said. "We're going to prepare it the way we had it growing up."

The store will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. with lunch specials and discounts for high school students and senior citizens.

They will use the drive-thru window and picnic tables during nice weather.

They also are considering grilling outside during the summer.

"We just hope everyone drops in and gives us a try," Tomey said.

And while Clark and Tomey may miss the foods they were accustomed to, they're not missing the hectic lifestyles they left behind.

"I don't want to go back to Chicago," Tomey said. "I want to stay here for a long time."

Clark shares her sentiment and said he was enjoying the close-knit community of Craig.

"You have to get used to waving, that's for sure," he said.

Michelle Perry may be reached at 824-7031 or mperry@craigdailypress.com.

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