Chicago-Style Hot Dog

In the comments to a different post, our own Alana asks “What is an authentic Chicago hot dog and where do you get it?”

A Chicago-style hot dog is:

  • a beef hot dog
  • a poppy seed bun
  • yellow mustard
  • sweet relish
  • chopped raw onion
  • a kosher dill pickle spear
  • tomato slices
  • sport peppers
  • celery salt
  • no ketchup

Dear god, it’s 1:00 AM and I was headed for bed, but as I’m writing this my mouth is watering and I’m tempted to go out and get a dog. A Chicago hot dog is such a perfect little meal — a little meat, plenty of vegetables, spicy from the peppers and cooled down with the tomato and the zing of the celery salt… damn! And get a milkshake with it and you’ve even got all four food groups (if they still did that).

And the great thing about a Chicago-style hot dog is that it really is the Chicago-style hot dog. That is, nearly anywhere in the city that serves a hot dog (which is a lot of places) serves it Chicago-style. And it’s hard to mess up a hot dog and some vegetables. You can surround it with kitschy ambiance or late-night vulgarity or an incredible variety of other sausages, but the best hot dog I’ve had in Chicago hasn’t been that much better than the worst. (But I stress that the reverse is also true — the worst hot dog I’ve had wasn’t that bad.) So, just head down to the place on your corner that has gyros and burgers and pizza puffs and dogs… and get yourself a Chicago-style hot dog.

But if I have to suggest some places, I’ve had some stand-out dogs at:

Cubby Dog
3550 N Clark

Three locations

Hot Diggity Dog
251 E Ohio St

Hot Doug’s
3324 N California

3 Comments so far

  1. Jennifer Roche (unregistered) on May 22nd, 2005 @ 10:51 am

    Love the Royko link. That’s a classic.

  2. steven (unregistered) on May 22nd, 2005 @ 11:40 am

    great post. i know it might not be an authentic chicago dog, but the weiners cirle on n clark is great. mmmm chardogs. you can’t beat the late night atmosphere, but go during the day if you want to avoid the drunks.

  3. Mike (unregistered) on August 4th, 2005 @ 9:07 pm

    I have to recomend the dogs at Hot Diggity Dog on Ohio. All the food is great, drunk or sober.

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