- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 8, 2015

CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) - Christine Miklosik moved to Southern Illinois with hopes of gaining employment in the medical field, but she ended up owning a successful Vienna Beef Chicago-style hot dog cart.

Four years after opening her hot dog cart, she is expanding to her own storefront, called Chicago It Up, in the Murdale Shopping Center on Carbondale’s west end.

After finishing school at Shawnee Community College, she couldn’t find full-time employment, she said.

While looking for employment online about five years ago, she stumbled upon owning her own hot dog cart. After some research, she decided to pull the trigger - six months later she was selling Chicago dogs.

She started out in Murphysboro across from Plaza Tire, where she still sets up on Wednesdays. After the first year, she moved to her location in Murdale across from the Shell gas station.

“Ever since I moved to that spot, it has been fantastic,” Miklosik said. “I couldn’t ask for a better spot.”

However, because of an uptick in business, she needs to have a bigger store. The new location comes with more products on the menu as well. She will be able to offer melted cheese on sandwiches, Italian sausage combos, and pastrami and corn beef sandwiches with most of the product coming from Chicago.

The location will also offer patty melt sandwiches and fresh cut fries, along with the traditional Chicago dogs and more.

The store is next to Radio Shack in what used to be a computer repair store.

Miklosik hopes to have the storefront complete by the end of March, but the cart will be open at the Murdale spot soon.

Although she is opening the new store, she isn’t giving up her cart.

“I love the cart. I don’t want to give it up,” she said. “I like being face-to-face with my customers. I like talking to everybody.

“Plus, there is the magic of the stream table on the cart. The food tastes so much better off the cart than it does in anybody’s kitchen.”

She said she will still serve food out of the cart during lunch at the Murphysboro location on Wednesday, after her Carbondale store opens.

Miklosik said she is thinking about having the new location open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week.

She said the hours could fluctuate depending on how business flows during the first few weeks.

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Source: The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan, http://bit.ly/1F8YLDR

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Information from: Southern Illinoisan, http://www.southernillinoisan.com

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