Are there any really good indie hot-dog stands in DuPage Co. or the Fox Valley? Something to rival Superdawg?
I'm looking for snappy, natural casing dogs, the full load of condiments and fun atmosphere.
Hands down the best dogs in the western burbs belong to Portillo's. Can't even think of a close second.
I love Portillo's. It's not as good as Hot Doug's and a couple other City Hot Dog restaurants but it is certainly the best of the chains. Portillo's would thrive in any city because of it's great dogs, beefs, chicken, ribs, burgers, etc and for it's quick service and cleanliness. Don't forget to order a slice of chocolate cake...it's pretty unbelievable!
Also try one of the Dupage County German butchers for thier all natural frankfurters. It's been a tradition to bring deliciously authentic frankfurters and many other sausage varieties...cevap ceci, thuringer, bratwurst, kielbasa, Italian sausage and more to my family barbacues. Chicago has many incredible butchers with fantastic sausage. Give one a try and you'll be hooked! The frankfurters at the Lincoln Market in Lincoln Square or at Paulina Meat Market also on Lincoln Avenue are all natural and delicious. Even the pickiest of kids love thier dogs. Try Kurowski's on Milwaukee avenue or Gilmart on south Archer Avenue for great Polish Kielbasa (absolutely night and day from the grocers version of Polish sausage...like Johnsonville). Also see my earlier reply posting about the many ethic deli's, butchers, and grocers.
Well, it's not exactly downtown, but one of the best sausage-makers in the Chi area is Randy Ream's Elburn Market in Elburn, IL. It's almost 50 miles west of the Loop, and it's worth the trip! He has won every sausage-making prize there is- the walls of his small store are completely covered with plaques and trophies about sausages.
You go out either North Avenue or Roosevelt Road to Geneva, in the Fox River Valley, and go west from there on IL 38 to IL route 47, and then a mile south to the heart of downtown Elburn. The Elburn Market is right in the middle of downtown Elburn. Downtown Elburn in one block long, so it's no big trick to find it- west side of the street.
Believe me- it's worth the trip. Well, maybe not if you live in Detroit or Pittsburgh, but anywhere around the Chicago area. Take a big cooler and go nuts over the sausages and specialty meats he produces.
I got 400 of his National Grand Champion Bratwursts last month for our Rotary club's fundraiser grilling stand at the annual Hinsdale (IL) Art Festival, and sold 'em all in two days. Don't ask me where you go to enter a Bratwurst championship competition, but he did, and he won. Last year, we sold 600, but that was for a bigger party.
Anyway, if you're around this area, and want to take a drive in the country, you could make this a goal of your trip. The Illinois Railway Museum in Union, IL is not that far from Elburn, so you could take the kids and make it part of the trip, without having to admit it was really all about sausages.