By CBS 2 Chicago Staff

CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s a Chicago classic: the hot dog. Local tradition dictates it’s all-beef, piled high with a garden of ingredients, and absolutely no ketchup.

But now a family business born out of the pandemic recession is doing things its own way.

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CBS 2’s Adriana Diaz shows us how a hot dog is helping a father get closer to his daughter while reinventing himself.

Recording artist and web designer Bobby Morelli always had a partner in his daughter Brooklyn, but when the pandemic hit, his income was cut in half.

“I had, like, small business clients. A lot of them had to go out of business, and that left me scrambling to find something to do,” Bobby said.

To help support his family, he thought outside the box. From a shipping container on the South Side, he decided to sell a family favorite.

“I’m like, hot dogs,” he said. “Me and Brooklyn, we’re always searching for a really good hot dog.”

So when Bobby said “let’s sell hot dogs from this shipping container,” what did Brooklyn think?

“No, I don’t know if that’s a good idea,” she said.

But she stuck with the new family business; twice a week, in 10 feet by 10 feet, the 9-year-old helps her dad re-invent himself.

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“I say, ‘Hello, welcome to The Hot Dog Box. Let me know if you have any questions,’” she said.

The business, promoted in social media videos, has been a hit.

“First of all, I’m not a chef,” Bobby said. “We’re big into music, and writing, and I wanted something I can be creative with.”

Their creative toppings are popular, such as the Cajun buttermilk shrimp and steak dog.

But the biggest draw might be their father-daughter connection.

“I didn’t necessarily have my father growing up,” Bobby said. “To be able to give her the opportunity to grow and learn, and have this as her training grounds, because one day she’s going to grow up and be a black woman, and I want her to be successful.”

Bobby said he can’t believe that the economic downturn has led to this venture.

“I’m unbelievable, but then I’ve been in the trenches for so long, been working really hard, and to see how, like, I’m like ‘Really God? Hot dogs!?’” he said. “Best job I’ve ever had, yeah.”

Is it also the best job Brooklyn’s ever had?

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“Yeah, but I don’t think I ever had a job. So, yes,” she said.

CBS 2 Chicago Staff