By: Katie Jones
She's been bringing a taste of Chicago to the Quad Cities for two decades. But now, a Rock Island legacy is retiring. Since 1992 Joan Hill AKA the hot dog lately has been serving Chicago style franks to hungry folks in Rock Island's district. But Joan said it's time to move on and see what the future has in store.
It never fails, every morning rain or shine a sweet smell fills the Rock Island air. When the noon hour approaches, just like clockwork, dozens of hungry folks line up at Joan Hill's hot dog stand. In 1992 the Chicago native set up shop in the district and hasn't looked back.
"They asked me to vend over here for some occasion. I don't even remember what it was but I liked it so much I stayed and here I am twenty years later," Joan Hill "The Hot Dog Lady" said.
As the seasons passed, hundreds of thousands of franks were sold and hill says customers have become family.
"Todd is another one that comes every morning and Dean can't forget him ... there's just a lot of people that come police and fireman come to eat with me," Hill said. As much as she'd like to keep cooking, Hill said the poor economy and extreme weather, have really taken a toll.
"There were a few days when the heat index hit 117 and I thought what am I doing here?" Hill said.
Fighting back tears, the hot dog lady may be saying goodbye but she said her twenty years of memories will last a lifetime.
"I'd like to thank all of the customers I've had a lot of faithful people that have come and kept me in business and I really thank them a lot ... it just amazes me they eat so many hot dogs," Hill said.
On Monday, Rock Island Mayor Dennis Pauley presented Joan with a proclamation declaring this Friday Hot Dog Lady Day.