Hankering for a Chicago Style Hot Dog
Visitors to the Windy City may not know this, but the Chicago area is home to more hot dog restaurants than McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Burger King restaurants combined.
And it’s no wonder, considering the “Chicago Dog” originated there. This famous style of hot dog consists of an all-beef frankfurter nestled into a poppy seed bun, and neatly topped with yellow mustard, chopped white onions, neon sweet pickle relish, a Kosher pickle spear, tomato slices, pickled sport peppers and a dash of celery salt. Boom!
Bite into one of these babies and your mouth may explode with pleasure. Each bite is a perfect combination of crisp and soft, hot and cool, sharp yet smooth.
Ketchup is not an acceptable topping on a Chicago-style hot dog -– just ask any Chicagoan or hot dog vendor who won’t even offer ketchup as a condiment.
The assembly of a Chicago hot dog is described as being “dragged through the garden” because of all the veggies on top. The hot dogs are typically steamed, water-simmered or grilled over charcoal, depending on the vendor. If the hot dogs are grilled, they are called “char-dogs.”
The Chicago-style hot dog began with street cart hot dog vendors during the hard times of the Great Depression. For a nickel each, a person could eat a hearty meal.
Hungry yet? The next time your travels take you to streets of Chicago, here’s a list of hot dog stands to try. But it’s only a small list of 10 popular ones because there are a million delicious and popular hot dog restaurants to try!
Several locations serve up the classic Chicago hot dog, including an America’s Dog at Navy Pier. The Chicago Dog is “served perfectly and lovingly in a form fitting box that keeps it warm and the bun fluffy. It is never cold when you sit down, and it is never crushed and otherwise desecrated.”
Still rockin’ after 30 years, Augie’s in West Chicago started out as a small grocery store but when they started selling more sandwiches than cigarettes, they knew they were onto something.
The recipes, brought from Naples and perfected in the old Italian neighborhood of Chicago in 1981, are still the heart of Buona’s menu. In Italy, the word “buona” means good. They have 14 restaurants in Illinois.
They’ve dubbed themselves the “greatest hot dog stand the world has ever known.” The Fourkas brothers got their idea in 2005 to combine the freshest ingredients with great quality and taste and then name it after their uncle “Chubby.”
Opening in 1929 on Maxwell and Halsted Streets, Fluky’s carried all the character and romance for which Chicago Street merchants were famous, and Fluky’s reputation as having the best hot dog in the city started to grow. In 1932, a second Fluky’s was opened, and then in 1935, a third and a fourth in 1936. Fluky’s became known for its “Depression Sandwich” – a Hot Dog with mustard, relish, onion, pickles, pepper, lettuce, tomatoes and french fries for only 5 cents!
Gold Coast Dogs
Get ’em grilled. Their signature variation on the classic is the “Char Dog.” Rather than boiling their Vienna Beef hot dogs, they grill them, giving them the slightly sweeter flavor, and a crispier chewier texture. To further enhance the grilled texture, they split the ends of the dogs so they flare out and get crispy.
This “Sausage Superstore” and “Encased Meat Emporium” is a fun little hot dog stand. You can get a Chicago Dog either grilled or boiled. Just get there before they close at 4 pm.
Murphy’s Red Hots
How do these wieners sound? Red Hot Murphy’s features the finest red hot available, an all-beef natural-casing Vienna frank. Choose it boiled or char-broiled. The Footlong Red Hot is if one red hot won’t do it. This dog comes char-broiled and gets a long walk thru the garden. Screamin’ To Be Eaten Polish is the one they are famous for: Murphy’s 1/3 lb “screamin to be eaten” polish is char-broiled, served on gonnella bread and after a walk thru the garden, this one’s a monster.
The first Portillo’s hot dog stand known as “The Dog House” opened in 1963 on North Avenue in Villa Park. Owner and founder Dick Portillo invested $1,100 into a 6′ x 12′ trailer without a bathroom or running water. Today, there are dozens of Portillo’s, even as far away as Arizona and California.
In May of 1948, Superdawg® was established at the corner of Milwaukee, Devon and Nagle in Chicago. Superdawg continues to be family owned and operated in the same location today. Inspired by the superheroes featured in the popular comics of the ’40’s, Maurie and Flaurie named their signature product and restaurant. It was not a wiener — not a frankfurter — not a red hot — but their own exclusive SUPERDAWG&tm;.
This post was written by Melissa Davidson who works for CityPASS. While you’re stuffing your face with great food in Chicago, make sure you also take time to see the attractions in Chicago. With CityPASS you’ll save close to half off admission prices.