Mike Dikta's "Spicy Jumbo Ditka Dog" has been added to Al's Beef menu.
"Happy National Hot Dog Month, from Mike Ditka and his friends at Al's Beef.
"The Italian beef chain has added the 'Spicy, Jumbo Ditka Dog' -- a char-grilled, 1/3 pound Vienna Beef sausage -- to its menu in honor of National Hot Dog Month. Some might argue Chicagoans celebrate National Hot Dog Month year round, but that's beside the point.
"The new menu item is part of the former Bears coach's recent partnership with Al's Beef and Nancy's Pizza.
"Ditka was named a spokesperson for both restaurants, which are owned by Mokena-based Chicago Franchise Systems, in May.
"'The Spicy, Jumbo Ditka Dog is a taste to experience, and you better be prepared to tackle it with an appetite,' said Ditka in a press release. 'This is the best sausage I've ever had, which is exactly why I put my name on it.'
"According to the press release, the sausage is 'almost three times the size of a traditional hot dog.'"
Chicago Franchise Systems (via Yahoo.com) notes the "Spicy, Jumbo Ditka Dog" costs $6.95:
"For a limited time only, Al's Italian Beef customers can enjoy the enormous dog priced at $6.95 and for a few dollars more can add Al's signature homemade, fresh cut French fries and a drink for $9.99. They can also customize their Ditka Dog to their liking by choosing one of three topping recipes, including:
- "Original --- Mustard, Relish, Onion and Sport Peppers
- "Chicago Style -- Mustard, Relish, Onion, Sport Peppers, Sliced Tomato and Kosher Pickle Spear
- "Maxwell -- Mustard, Grilled Onion and Sport Peppers
"'National Hot Dog Month is the perfect time to introduce our newest menu item and celebrate our recent partnership with Mike Ditka,' said Dave Howey, president of Chicago Franchise Systems, Inc. 'The Ditka Dog is a big, bold and spicy and a perfect representation of Al's Italian Beef and Mike Ditka.'
"The franchise enlisted Mike Ditka, former pro football player, coach and TV commentator, to support Al's Italian Beef as its official spokesperson. 'The Coach' is taking an active role in the company's nationwide expansion, advising on restaurant experience and menu items, helping scout new locations and supporting its marketing efforts.
"To support the launch of the Ditka Dog, he will be featured in a new promotional artwork that can be seen in Al's Italian Beef locations across the country."
Ditka "is only the second person to win the Super Bowl as a player (Dallas, 1972), assistant coach (Dallas, 1977) and head coach (Chicago, 1986)," per his official website. His total pro football experience amounts to a total of 26 years (12 as a player and 14 as a head coach)
Ditka's official website also notes he "joined ESPN as an NFL analyst in 2004."