‘Hot Dogs, Hamburgers, and Hope’ marks a milestone, nourishes a need

In 1977 Michael Hoffman turned a 900 square foot “hot dog stand” into a 6,500 square foot food emporium designed to serve up fun and excitement along with its great American menu of jumbo dogs, charbroiled burgers, and chicken and steak sandwiches. Today, Michael’s Chicago-Style Red Hots is a family favorite in Highland Park. The Foundation was honored that the restaurant chose to celebrate its thirtieth anniversary year with a family-style fundraising event supporting pediatric brain cancer research.

“Hot Dogs, Hamburgers, and Hope,” held December 7, 2007, was a delicious good time that drew 200 guests of all ages and raised an amazing $70,000 for The Foundation. Highlighted by hearty cuisine and lively conversation, the evening escalated into a full swing party with a knockout performance by the Beatles tribute band known as British Export. “The story of Rory and the work of The Rory David Deutsch Foundation is well known in the surrounding communities and beyond,” says Michael Hoffman. “In marking a significant anniversary for our business, we wanted to show our support for an organization that is making a significant difference in the lives of children. Many of our customers over the years have contributed in their own way to the mission of The Foundation, so this event was a way for us to applaud their commitment and to make our own contribution to this important cause.”

For the event, Hoffman donated the use of a restaurant that is known as a suburban melting pot of teenagers, businesspeople, families with young kids, and seniors. Its walls are covered with photos of former customers, along with restaurant reviews and awards. Its eclectic and expansive space has made it a popular setting for festive fundraisers, business receptions, and family gatherings. “We set out to establish a restaurant that feels like home but, with the opportunity to present live and DJ music, a place where people come to celebrate,” says Hoffman. “What could be more worthy of celebration than the ongoing support The Rory David Deutsch Foundation provides to expert researchers in the field of pediatric brain cancer. This disease affects all of us in some way, and we take great pride in being associated with this organization through this event and, as it continues to move forward, in other ways as well.”

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