Elmhurst has a lot of nice restaurants and quick-serve places in its downtown, but what it doesn't have is a hot dog place. Thankfully, you can find a delicious burger or Chicago dog just a little south of the city center in the Vallette shopping area -- Southtown Express fits the bill wonderfully.
With the typical "hot dog place" menu of hot dogs, burgers, Italian beef, sausage, soup, fries, etc plus soft-serve ice cream and milkshakes, Southtown is a fun little neighborhood joint full of teenagers and kitschy old signs.
It's smallish but has a handful of booths and a counter, bright red and yellow with a chalk menu (and more menus above the counter and kitchen areas). Friendly, chatty guys working who dealt with the influx of teenagers well.
We both got hot dogs and fries, and I cheated on my diet a little more thoroughly with a dreamsicle shake that I couldn't resist. The hot dogs were the longer-thinner variety, with good flavor and snap, and those squishy poppyseed buns. Good thin-sliced pickle, lots of celery salt, and slightly chewy sport peppers. The fries were the thinner variety, not shoestring but just right, hot and crispy.
And the milkshake was divine. While I'd certainly like to try more of their food, it's the ice cream that would probably get us back even sooner.
Note: Closed Sunday.