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#1
Posted April 28th 2008, 2:21am
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While there are quibblers, I think most of us would agree* with the immortal Mike Royko on the quintessential dragged-through-the-garden, Chicago-style hot dog -- a style that, with some modifications, dates back to the original Fluky's on Maxwell Street in 1929. As with Chicago-style pizza, there are variations, but this is the standard:
    o Snappy, natural-casing, all-beef wiener, from Vienna Beef, Red Hot Chicago or a few others, steamed or boiled
    o Steamed, high-gluten, poppyseed bun, such as S. Rosen's Mary Ann
    o Yellow mustard
    o Neon-green sweet pickle relish
    o Chopped raw white onion
    o Dill-pickle spears
    o Fresh, ripe tomato slices or wedges+
    o Whole, pickled sport peppers
    o Dash of celery salt
    o Absolutely no ketchup
But we do not have a definitive list of places to get one, especially not in the touristic areas like River North, Streeterville, the Loop, Lincoln Park and O'Hare.

It seems as if we are more prone to honor the exceptions, rather than the rule. When people ask about hot dogs, we tend to send them to places like Hot Doug's, Superdawg and Gene & Jude. These are all great spots, well worth an excursion to their out-of-the-way locations, but not one of them serves a standard Chicago hot dog.

Besides having awkward hours and long lines, Hot Doug's is really an exotic-sausage emporium -- it's not worth waiting in line there just for a Chicago-style dog, and if you do they're apt to put noncanonical grilled onions on it.

Superdawg is one of my favorite places in the world, and it's worth visiting just for the architecture and carhop service. I adore the hot dogs, too, but Superdawg's proprietary-recipe wiener is spicier than the typical Chicago dog, they serve pickled green tomatoes instead of fresh ripe ones, and they skip the celery salt.

Gene & Jude's serves great fries, but the hot dog is decidedly minimalist. Seedless bun, and no pickles, tomatoes or celery salt. Even if you consider the fries one of the condiments (as I do), the whole doesn't add up to a typical Chicago-style dog.

So, who does serve a regular Chicago dog in the neighborhoods tourists are likely to spend time? I found myself recommending Portillo's recently, although I almost never actually eat there. Surely there are some places LTHers do go?

Portillo's
(312) 587-8910
www.portillos.com
100 W. Ontario St., Chicago

* If you're one of those who disagrees, please do it over in one of the threads arguing such matters and let's limit this one to discussions of where to get a good hot dog as described.

+ Ripeness is a tradition honored more in theory than in practice, I'm afraid. (Tomatoes are also the top item disputed by the quibblers. Pay no attention. There are also misguided Chicagoans who think pizza should be flat. :wink: )
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#2
Posted April 28th 2008, 5:40am
Wiener's Circle
2622 N. Clark Street
Chicago, IL
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#3
Posted April 28th 2008, 6:54am
Although I am firmly in the minimalist camp, and completely disagree with the assertion that these types of dogs are a "standard hot dog", Murphy's in Wriglyville serves such a beast (and boasts about it proudly).

Murphy's
1211 W Belmont Ave
Chicago, IL 60657-3205
Phone: (773) 935-2882
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#4
Posted April 28th 2008, 8:38am
LAZ -- I've never seen a Portillo's carry the radioactive-green relish. Is the Ontario one an exception?

For me, it's the relish and perfect steaming of the dog and bun that makes it worth going out for a dog. Few places do it any more at all, fewer in touristy places, except that "Gold Coast Dogs" shows up all over the place. I want to dislike their rubber-stamped appearance, but the fact is they serve a good dog.
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#5
Posted April 28th 2008, 8:57am
Bob-O's
8258 W Irving Park Rd.
Chicago, IL 60686

Basically Irving Park and Cumberland. (this might be Norridge)

http://www.viennabeef.com/culture/fame/ ... m=14&v=120
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#6
Posted April 28th 2008, 9:27am
I love Poochies on Dempster in Skokie for traditional Chicago dogs,
but sometimes I get seduced by their Char Salami sandwich....
(on French bread with grilled onions and mustard is the way I like it)

Up in the far burbs I also think Dear Franks does an excellent version.
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#7
Posted April 28th 2008, 11:00am
The thing I like about GCD is the Char-dog. I know technically it isn't a Chicago dog but it adds a nice bit of extra crispiness.

But why, oh why, does a hotdog and fries have to be so freaking expensive>
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#8
Posted April 28th 2008, 11:17am
I enjoy a good Chicago Style Hot dog as described in the OP. I also like SuperDawg mostly for nostalga, & I imagine I am one of the few on LTH who does not like Hot Doug's . I do go to Portillo's mostly out of convenience in the burbs, but I opt for some chili dogs more than a Chicago Style Dog.

With the above said, my favorite hot dog in Chicago is @:

Morrie O'Malley's
3501 S. Union
Chicago

A few blocks from the Cell, and a Sox fans pre game stop. I actually opt for a grilled Chicago style dog.
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#9
Posted April 28th 2008, 11:20am
Are the areas around Poochie's and Bob-O really considered "in the neighborhoods tourists are likely to spend time," as LAZ asked?
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#10
Posted April 28th 2008, 11:45am
I should have mentioned -- from a tourist's point of view, the O'Hare hot dog stands (not limited to the GCD in Terminal 5), is a decent Chicago dog, with neon relish, celery salt, the whole nine yards (I think they will put ketchup on for barbarians). They're sometimes a little oversteamed, and there's no fries, but the dog is good.
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#11
Posted April 28th 2008, 12:21pm
I find myself defaulting to Portillo's jumbo dog, which is a little bigger than the regular Irving's dogs of my mid-70s youth.

Gold Coast in the Daily News building used to be acceptable, but it was not good the last two times I was there. Harry's is in his own little world, but isn't the end of that world. I'd love to find a good South Loop stand, however.
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#12
Posted April 28th 2008, 12:36pm
JoelF wrote:LAZ -- I've never seen a Portillo's carry the radioactive-green relish. Is the Ontario one an exception?

I stand corrected. :oops: (As I said, I hardly ever eat at Portillo's.)

JoelF wrote:For me, it's the relish and perfect steaming of the dog and bun that makes it worth going out for a dog. Few places do it any more at all, fewer in touristy places, except that "Gold Coast Dogs" shows up all over the place. I want to dislike their rubber-stamped appearance, but the fact is they serve a good dog.

I agree that the fluorescent relish, which to my taste tends to be slightly sweeter than ordinary pickle relish, is one of the highlights of a Chicago-style dog. As with Italian beef, however, I do think the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Gold Coast Dog locations include O'Hare, Midway, Union Station, 159 N. Wabash Ave. and 17 S. Wabash Ave.
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#13
Posted April 28th 2008, 12:42pm
mss60614 wrote:Wiener's Circle
2622 N. Clark Street
Chicago, IL


I second this recommendation, although I'm trying to remember whether they put on all the trimmings of the so-called "Chicago dog." My experience with hot dog stands is that the Chicago dog is more a product of Vienna Beef marketing than anything else. Growing up, the standard hot dog in my neck of Chicago did not include tomatoes, a poppy seed bun, nor neon green relish (just regular looking relish). Pickles and/or celery salt were often omitted as well, although I love that dash of celery salt.
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#14
Posted April 28th 2008, 1:00pm
stevez wrote:Although I am firmly in the minimalist camp, and completely disagree with the assertion that these types of dogs are a "standard hot dog", Murphy's in Wriglyville serves such a beast (and boasts about it proudly).

Murphy's
1211 W Belmont Ave
Chicago, IL 60657-3205
Phone: (773) 935-2882


Actually, I believe Murphy's also includes lettuce and cucumber.
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#15
Posted April 28th 2008, 1:06pm
LAZ,

Your post brought two immediate thoughts to mind.

1) How easily it is to get a bad Chicago hot dog on the North Side.

2) How much I miss Mike Royko!
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#16
Posted April 28th 2008, 2:41pm
Binko wrote:My experience with hot dog stands is that the Chicago dog is more a product of Vienna Beef marketing than anything else.

Vienna Beef supplies wieners to more than 85 percent of the hot-dog stands in Chicagoland, and has since the 19th century. If they can't define a standard, nobody can.

Yes, lots of places serve something somewhat different in one particular or another. I'm describing an ideal, not the most common version. (I wouldn't want to send anyone to eat run-of-the-mill Italian beef or *shudder* the commonest sort of pizza sold in Chicago, either.) Nor is this the most historic version -- the standard has evolved over time.

I don't care what kind of hot dog anybody grew up with. I don't care what kind of hot dog anybody likes better. For the purposes of this discussion, all I want to know is where to find this kind:

Image

Edit: replaced missing image
Last edited by LAZ on July 9th 2009, 8:16pm, edited 1 time in total.
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#17
Posted April 28th 2008, 2:57pm
Fast Track (629 W Lake St) I believe... as mentioned above the Gold Coast Dog outlets all follow the semi-standard chicago dog ingredients.
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#18
Posted April 28th 2008, 3:05pm
ab wrote:Fast Track (629 W Lake St) I believe... as mentioned above the Gold Coast Dog outlets all follow the semi-standard chicago dog ingredients.


Fast track's relish isn't of the neon variety, I believe, but somebody double-check me on that.

But I believe you're correct about Gold Coast Dogs being a strict adherent of the Vienna/Royko standard.
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#19
Posted April 28th 2008, 3:18pm
Hi,

Around 1972, Chicago Magazine crowned Stash's in Highland Park as the best Chicago style hot dog. For a long time, a brass Chicago hot dog trophy was mounted on their wall. In that era, if you asked for a hot dog, then the default assembly was Chicago style.

Meanwhile, Michael's (another hot dog emporium) moved to the other side of Central Avenue and peeled away a portion of Stash's market. In all fairness, Stash sold the business some years ago and has since died. The new owner has a very broad topping range available, thus if you say everything then you are asked to confirm if you want sauerkraut or pickles in rounds rather than spears and other detailed choices.

I will admit to not having gone to Stash's for quite a while. I kind of stopped going because the need to explain how to assemble my hotdog. I should probably go back to simply state, "Chicago style" to see what may happen. I am not 100% confident they will just do it without my explaining how. I could be wrong, so I will check sometime this week.

Stash's
Port Clinton Square
Highland Park 60035
847-432-6550
The official address is on Central Street, but they actually are around the corner in the 1700 block of Second Street
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#20
Posted April 28th 2008, 3:23pm
The Al's Beef on Ontario actually makes their dog to this standard now that I think about it.

Hot Diggity Dogs (251 E Ohio S) in Streeterville. I don't remember if they had Poppy seed buns, but otherwise I think they hit all the ingredients.
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#21
Posted April 28th 2008, 3:27pm
ab wrote:The Al's Beef on Ontario actually makes their dog to this standard now that I think about it.

Hot Diggity Dogs (251 E Ohio S) in Streeterville. I don't remember if they had Poppy seed buns, but otherwise I think they hit all the ingredients.


I can't speak to Al's, but Hot Diggity definitely does not. No poppy seeds (as you mention), no tomato, and I don't believe their relish is of the neon variety, though I'm not certain on that last count.
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#22
Posted April 28th 2008, 3:37pm
LAZ wrote:
Binko wrote:My experience with hot dog stands is that the Chicago dog is more a product of Vienna Beef marketing than anything else.

Vienna Beef supplies wieners to more than 85 percent of the hot-dog stands in Chicagoland, and has since the 19th century. If they can't define a standard, nobody can.


Fair enough. Then you have my suggestion noted above. From checking online, it does seem the Wiener Circle adheres to the standard. Just give your guests fair warning about the nature of the place (apparently "famously abusive," although I personally have never experienced anything but normal service there), and about the "chocolate milkshake" routine.
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#23
Posted April 28th 2008, 4:04pm
Dmnkly wrote:
ab wrote:The Al's Beef on Ontario actually makes their dog to this standard now that I think about it.

Hot Diggity Dogs (251 E Ohio S) in Streeterville. I don't remember if they had Poppy seed buns, but otherwise I think they hit all the ingredients.


I can't speak to Al's, but Hot Diggity definitely does not. No poppy seeds (as you mention), no tomato, and I don't believe their relish is of the neon variety, though I'm not certain on that last count.


This is harder than I thought. I don't think Al's has the neon green relish either. Otherwise it's a match.
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#24
Posted April 28th 2008, 4:22pm
Dmnkly wrote:
stevez wrote:Although I am firmly in the minimalist camp, and completely disagree with the assertion that these types of dogs are a "standard hot dog", Murphy's in Wriglyville serves such a beast (and boasts about it proudly).

Murphy's
1211 W Belmont Ave
Chicago, IL 60657-3205
Phone: (773) 935-2882


Actually, I believe Murphy's also includes lettuce and cucumber.


Yes. They have all kinds of extraneous crap for the asking, although anything beyond the "Typically Embellished" hot dog toppings which are being described in this thread as "standard" is by request only.
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#25
Posted April 28th 2008, 5:04pm
LAZ wrote:Gold Coast Dog locations include O'Hare, Midway, Union Station, 159 N. Wabash Ave. and 17 S. Wabash Ave.

Also convenient for tourists, there's one just north of the Allstate Arena.

There's a Superdawg in Midway in the Southwest concourse... but that's another show.
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#26
Posted April 28th 2008, 6:09pm
Since the Chicago style chart above is the creation of Vienna...how about the Vienna beef cafe.

Weiner's circle does indeed do it Chicago style but who goes there and doesn't get a char dog? and yes the language is straight out of Deadwood but this is really only at night, during the day they dont ride elders, parents with kids and really anyone who's not wasted/so high to the point they can barely speak.

There really arent that many place's that do it to the exact specifications. Budacki's drive-in has a really good Chicago dog (cheap too) with all the necessities but the poppy steamed bun and maybe the relish, which I always order w/o anyway so I wouldnt know. Murphy's and Byron's have all the necessities (except maybe the bun) but they also have cucumbers, lettuce, peppers, banana peppers and enough toppings to make it a salad with a hot dog on top.

Vienna Beef Café
2501 North Damen Avenue
Chicago, IL 60647
773.435.2277

Hours of Operation
Monday - Friday 6:00 am - 4:00 pm
Saturday 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
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#27
Posted April 28th 2008, 6:34pm
Da Beef wrote:Weiner's circle does indeed do it Chicago style but who goes there and doesn't get a char dog?


That would be me. I know Wieners Circle is known for the char dog, but I've just never developed much of a liking for char dogs. Their regular ol' hot dog is pretty much my baseline hot dog.
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#28
Posted April 28th 2008, 6:50pm
Portillo's does a fine job with these.
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#29
Posted April 28th 2008, 8:25pm
I know people swear by Wiener's Circle (no pun intended), but I've gotten far too many soggy buns with their dogs. They definitely aren't carry out food.

The stand on Western and Howard, just over the Chicago border in Evanston (I think it's called Mike's?), used to serve a really great Chicago Style Dog. I haven't been in a while and I imagine West Ridge is not on many tourists radars.

I've always felt SuperDawg was underrated. Great crisp bite to their dogs, and the fries are to die for; or will at least be a contributing factor to my death :roll:.
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#30
Posted April 28th 2008, 8:35pm
radiator wrote:I've always felt SuperDawg was underrated. Great crisp bite to their dogs, and the fries are to die for; or will at least be a contributing factor to my death :roll:.


My favorite dog in the city as well :-)

But sadly, not what LAZ is looking for -- tomatoes are pickled, and there's no celery salt (not to mention which, their dog is seasoned in a somewhat atypical manner, but that's what I love about it!).
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