Helen Diekman, a longtime resident of Elgin, Illinois, died last week — but not before turning a full hundred years old.
The key to her long and healthy life, Diekman often said, was eating at Portillo’s, the popular Chicago-based restaurant chain whose iconic Chicago-style hot dog ranks among The Daily Meal’s list of America’s 75 Best Hot Dogs.
In 2013, the centenarian-to-be even met Dick Portillo, the founder of the restaurant once known as “The Dog House,” at the grand opening of the chain’s Elgin location. A photo of the two was kept next to Diekman’s bedside, according to the Chicago Daily Herald. Since then, Diekman stopped by for lunch as often as three times a week, always ordering the same thing — a hot dog with everything except hot peppers, fries, and a Diet Coke.
Diekman’s 100th birthday, which took place three weeks ago, was even held at Portillo’s. When asked to share the secret of her longevity, Diekman told a reporter “Portillo’s” was the answer, plus “I go to bed early and I eat good.”