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Aug 29, 2001 04:55 PM

Chicago hot dogs vs. New York dogs

  • m

Ok, this is a challenge to New York chowhounds - please show me a place that offers hot dogs remotely close in quality to the classic Chicago hot dog made by the Vienna Beef Co., and featured in hundreds of fast food joints throughout Chicago and its suburbs. I've had Grey's Papaya (not bad - but small and insignificant), 2nd Avenue deli,is and Katz's deli hot dogs - none compare!!!!

This is the one area Chicago beats the pants off NYC.

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  1. b
    Bill Lukashok

    I offer the following with all the respect due a fellow chowhound:

    I have spent 2 years in Chicago and I find your comment regarding Vienna dogs vs. (for example) the 2nd Avenue Deli's dogs w/o merit. Number one, hot dogs are ultimately a regional thing - they are seasoned differently all around the country. Second, notwithstanding the fact that quality at the 2nd Ave Deli has been somewhat mixed since Abe died, they can still churn out the single best hot dog on the planet if you catch them when there is good turnover. I always thought the vienna dog was a little soft.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Bill Lukashok

      As someone who lived in Chicago for four years and now lives in New York, I agree with Marc: Chicago dogs are far superior. Even if don't drag them through the garden – and there's just something about celery salt and sport peppers that brings out the flavor of a good dog - Chicago dogs are juicier and tastier. Most of the New York dogs I've had (the exception being Katz's, which was a substantial, tasty sausage) were skinny, greasy little tubes that sat in my stomach like a lead knish.

      1. re: Ira Kaplan

        For your reading pleasure, here is a long discussion from the chicago board about the relative merits of Chicago and New York/New Jersey dogs.


        1. re: Seth Zurer

          By all means, check out the Chicago hot dog thread mentioned by Seth (with the link) I started that post, and while I have not had a Chicago style hot dog, I wonder how you can really enjoy the dog with all those condiments. Chicagoans are passionate about them and say that they pair off nicely. I'd have to experience one for myself. I've tried most of the hot dog places in NY/NJ and I love to taste the dog with just a bun and a little mustard. How a boiled hot dog is preferred to one well done on a griddle or a charcoal grill, I'll never know, but to each his own. I notice with interest that there are a lot of Chicagoans who come to NY/NJ and like the dogs here better. I've had the famous Vienna Frank here in N.J from a cart. It was okay, no better than Shofar (which is called Best in Chicago) or Best Franks from Newark, N.J. A poster, on the Chicago board said something to the effect that boiling is a more natural way of cooking the dog than grilling. I like an all beef dog well done on a griddle, or charbroiled. Natural casing, with a little mustard. Papaya King makes an excellent dog. They, along with Gray's Papaya, and Katz's deli get their dogs from Marathon Enterprises in Rutherford, N.J. They are the makers of Sabrett, but the 3 mentioned are far superior to Sabrett. They are similar (I've tasted them side by side) and made special for each place. Syd's in Union, N.J. and Jerry's in Elizabeth, N.J. make the best dogs in the Garden State. Both use Best's brand from Newark. Syd's is a foot long charbroiled, and Jerry's is smaller (8 to a lb) that is cooked a unique way (boiled then grilled) The absolute best hot dogs you can buy come from Usinger's in Wisconsin. I order them from the company and cook them at home. A great website is Check out his hot dog page.


          1. re: John Fox

            Yes, have to agree with you that Usinger's are terrific. But locally,have you tried the ones from the German charcuterie guy at the Grand Central Station Market? And also,Karl Ehmer in Glendale Queens have always been a favorite of mine.

            1. re: John Fox

              As mentioned in the Chicago thread, the Usinger's Angus Beef hot dog is the best. I buy them where I live, in Pittsburgh, for $3.99 (I think) for a package of four dogs. They are more dense and meatier than any other. I've also heard that F&B in NYC sells a Usinger product, but not the Angus Beef dog. Still, I intend to go there on my next trip to Manhattan in October to check it out.

              1. re: John Fox

                You are very correct on the Marathon making the dogs for many of the great ones. In fact Marathon also used to make the hot dogs for Nathan's ( when Nathan's was better). Katz's has Marathon make theirs thicker and with slightly more garlic. Marathon will customize the formulas for people. Also, As a matter of taste, I do enjoy the hot dogs at Wrigley with all the condiments on them, i also love the brats in Wisconsin. But Katz's hot dogs are my favorite, or the garlic wurst at Katz's. It's all a matter of taste. If you ever saw hot dogs actually being made ( i saw this in several meat plants) it is gross , really disgusting. Another thing is bologna and hot dogs are virtually the same, just as gross to watch being made. Neither have to be cooked to eat.
                ( is it weird or is it me, but did people come out of the woodwork to comment on hot dogs. Many with first and last names, and names i've never seen on this board. Are we being invaded haha)_

          2. re: Bill Lukashok

            I'm in full agreement -- there's a reason why Chicago dogs carry more cargo than Noah's ark -- it's just not a great hotdog. When there last year, i tried to have one NY-style -- without all the shmutz -- and was a bit dissappointed.

          3. If you go to the corner of 23rd and Broadway, in the park by the yellow taxi playground, you'll find a hot dog stand with real Chicago hot dogs. It's owned by Danny Meyer of Union Sq. and GT restaurant fame.(he is also a midwesterner) As gracious a host as he is in his dining rooms,he has turned out the the finest, and cleanest hot dog cart in NY. All the condiments are there.

            1. Haven't eaten there myself, but I'm attaching a link to a post Jen Kalb made about a cart near Madison Square Park. It might be just what you're looking for, although she said they might only be there for the summer.


              1. i've had both new york and chicago and chicago ain't got sht on new york style. Why? because of the BIG *** BUN they got with the hot dog, not to mention the toppings. I don't dislike the chicago dog per se, but it has nothing on the new york style. New york style is better with multiple foods, not just hot dogs.

                Chicago dogs have a lot of uneeded crap on them and THE BUN IS TOO THICK. if you feel like just eating bread and not tasting your hot dog, go for chicago.

                With a chicago dog all you taste is the toppings first, the bun, and the hot dog last. You get traces of the hot dog. With new york style the DOG sticks out first then the toppings perfectly compliment it and not too big of a bun.

                1. it's like eating a little hot dog in a big hoagie roll with some kind of vegetable on top or whatever. You wanna eat bread n toppings only eat a 'chicago' or if you wanna eat a true hot dog, go new york.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: a2999

                    Tell us how you really feel!!!!
                    For me, there is nothing that compares with eating a Nathan's hot dog with onion,kraut, relish and mustard on the boardwalk @ Coney Island!!!!!
                    With a Hires root beer to wash it down!!