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Where to Go for the Best Hot Dog

I am going to Chicago in November, and I know the city is renowned for its hot dogs. I think they even did a PBS special on the topic a few years back. For you Chicago natives or those that have spent a lot of time there, where is the "best" place to get a Chicago hot dog?

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  1. Everyone has their favorites, but you could always go right to the source and visit the lunch room at the Vienna factory on Elston Av. just north of Fullerton.

    Mark

    4 Replies
    1. re: Markauf

      or Hot Dougs who also makes his own!

      1. re: GutBomb

        No he doesn't.

        A small number of the special sausages are made to his specifications, but none of his sausages are made in-house, and none of the sausages on the main menu are made to his recipe by others.

        The hot dog he uses is a standard vienna hot dog.

        1. re: gleam

          Hot Dougs serves much more than the standard Vienna variety.

          1. re: amoncada

            As I said, the hot dog he uses is a standard Vienna hot dog. I said nothing about the rest of his menu, except that none of them are made in-house, but some are made to his specifications.

    2. This is an impossible question (that could lead to fisticuffs in some quarters) to which there are no right or wrong answers. Chicago has the most, and the best hot dog purveyors per capita on the planet.

      My personal favorite is 10 minutes south of O'Hare on River Road, just north of Grand Avenue (and the BP/Mickey D's on the corner) - the ever-popular Gene's and Jude's.

      Red hots, tamales, fries, Pepsi (NOT Coke). Mustard, relish, onions and sport peppers. That's the extent of the menu, unchanged since 1951. If you want ketchup you'll have to swipe it from the McDonald's next door.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Grizzly

        Please don't use the "K" word here. Thank you.

        1. re: Grizzly

          I agree completely. Gene's and Jude's. Before I moved here it was the first place I'd eat whenever I was in town. DO NOT ASK FOR KETCHUP.

          1. re: cdphx2k5

            I totally disagree on Gene and Jude's. We used to go there for the best hot dog. The last time we were there, I literally could not bite through the skin of the hot dog. I had to tear the filling out with my teeth. What happened?????

        2. Ketchup !?!!!
          I believe you could be subject to immediate arrest if you're caught putting ketchup on your Chicago dog!
          Mark

          1. The only thing that would cause fisticuffs at Gene & Judes, is that ketchup remark!

            Plus it might even get you booted off the Chicago board all together!

            1. In my opinion, you can't go wrong with hot dogs from Gene and Jude's. Not only fries, but truly great fries!! Let's give Grizzly the benefit of the doubt and assume the ketchup was for the fries, not the hot dogs. Be prepared for a long line of people, and no seating anywhere - except for your car in the parking lot. Well worth it, though.

              Another favorite is Superdawg Drive-In at 6363 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, at the corner of Devon and Nagle. Again, you eat in your car, but this time with car hops. Some picnic tables if the weather is nice. Web site says they have a "cozy, indoor dining room" but I have never noticed it. A little more variety on their menu. Great dawgs and pretty good fries. www.superdawg.com

              1. It's a chain, but Portillo's is always a safe bet for a good dog in my opinion. plenty of spots are chi-town too.

                1. I'll pitch in with two places. My favorite by far is on the South Side..... Fat Johnnies at 72nd and Western. Its surrounded by used car lots. Ask for a Super Fat One with the works. You get a quarter pound David Berg Dog with Mustard, Chili, Cheese, Onion, Relish, Tomato and a Cucumber spear. Fabulous. There are a couple picnic tables if the weather is OK and the Bees are not too bad.... otherwise eat in the car.

                  For a North Side dog, the one I am most familiar with is 3 blocks north of Wrigley...With Parking!! Byrons on Irving Park just west of Sheridan. This is the Vienna dog, and also has the trademark northside bright florecent green relish. Here the ingredient choice for me is Mustard, Cheese (no chili), Onion, Relish, Tomato and Sport Peppers. Enjoy your visit!

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: chris63

                    I would definitely 2nd Fat Johnnies. The best hot dog I have ever had. I get it just like chris63 but with no chili. I LOVE that they put cucumber on it. MMMM wish I had one right now....

                    1. re: janedoe67

                      I just found out that chris63 is my brother! hah! No wonder!!! He was the first person to introduce me to Fat Johnnies. Thanks Chris!!! Let's go get one together when I'm in for Thanksgiving.

                      1. re: janedoe67

                        Chowhound- gastronomical uniter of family's...

                        1. re: janedoe67

                          Hi, Jane and Chris. We are from the old neighborhood, too. Where'd you guys go to school? And Fat Johnnie's remains the best dog EVER!!!

                          1. re: troop742

                            Me = McAuley and Chris = Brother Rice, you?

                    2. If you can get to the northside, in the Andersonville neighborhood, Huey's is the best place for hotdogs! Great fries too, as well as the cheese for the fries if you're so inclined.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: marciab

                        huh I just looked up the address. I live near ashland and foster and i've never seen this place. I'll have to check it out. I frequent Budacki's (damen & lawrence) and Wolfy's on Peterson.

                      2. Living in Evanston and having recently discovered this place about a year ago, I can't stop recommending The Wiener and Still Champion at 802 Dempster. They do your standard natural casing all beef Vienna hotdog but what stands them apart is their fries and their freshly made corndogs.

                        1. Love Gene & Judes too. Found a place almost as good in Elk Grove - Bubby's. (on Higgens)Good snap to the dog and fresh cut fries.

                          1. I agree with nu_sue, this unassuming Evanston dive (The Wieners and Still Champion)serves a respectable Vienna Dogs with first rate fries, I know people who actually consider "The
                            Wiener" a destination spot just for those fries.

                            1. I agree with Wiener and Still Champ - but in addition to the great fries and dogs - including the corn dogs, they've got an amazing falafel burger (for meatless types), and incredible fried onions. Despite the modest environs, it's a destination, for sure (and only 1/2 block from the Dempster El Stop).

                              1. My favorite is Hot Doug's on California (northwest side). I guess it isn't representative of the typical Chicago hot dog, but it sure is tasty. Plus, the duck fat fries on Friday and Saturday are worth the trip. Speaking of, it is not that easy to get to via the El.

                                1. Wow, you'd think I was the one eating ketchup on my hot dogs. Sheesh! Obviously a snide/satirical remark is lost on the populace here...

                                  First, the inquiry was from out of towner, and a lot of "foreigners" eat ketchup (or worse) on hot dogs, stange as that seems to those of us who grew up here. Second, I know a couple of locally bred sickos who don't like Gene's and Jude's because they don't serve ketchup on the dogs, stranger still. Naturally, I shun the opportunity to dine with them ;-)

                                  Personally, I don't eat ketchup on anything.

                                  But I know what the abf005 means about starting a fight over ketchup at Gene's and Jude's. Asking for ketchup there will get you an icy glare or a roll of the eyes from the counter people, depending on their tenure (I've seen some of the same people slinging dogs there for 30+ years), and dirty looks from the regulars in line around you.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Grizzly

                                    For those strangers who must have ketchup on their dogs, remember, it's "for the fries," then furtively scurry into the restroom with your tray, choose a stall (close the door behind you), apply ketchup to the interior of the bun (behind the dog) so that it leaves no visible trace, relax and enjoy.

                                  2. Hope no shots were fired at you Grizzly!

                                    I once read an article that the counter help at Gene & Judes had been known to "escort out patrons who request ketchup" and that was what I was thinking when I typed up my response. Personally, I doubt that you would be walked out, as I think they would much rather abuse you while you were there!!

                                    BTW: There are no restrooms to "hide in" at Gene & Judes, so if you must persist in disgracing the perfection that you have been served, than please, I beg you, go across the street to the forest preserve to consume your abomination.

                                    1. I have been a patron of Wiener and Still Champion for over twenty years and a variety of owners. The quality of the hot dogs has varied considerably over this time but the fries were always a treat-fresh and crisp.
                                      This is no longer the case with the new owners. On three seperate vists I have found them to be oily and of variable crispness.
                                      The hot dogs themselves are better than they have been in a while with the return of Vienna and poppy seed buns, but each time the dogs were luke warm and the buns were not always properly steamed.

                                      I have had fairly good luck with another Wiener punster-Wiener Take All in Buffalo Grove.

                                      1. When we lived in the Northern suburbs, we patronized Flukey's, Dear Frank;s and a place in downtown Highland Park that was called, I think, Nathan's? Any of these still good? My husband is from HP and would shrink away from me as I asked for ketchup and relish, remnants of my Ohio childhood. He would tower over me and make the crazy sign, much laughter, not funny to those of us who really do need ketchup and relish. Oh well!

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: Diane in Bexley

                                          The place in HP that used to be called Nathan's is now called Michaels. It's good, but not someplace I would go out of my way to try.

                                          1. re: Diane in Bexley

                                            I've read that Flukey's on Western near Pratt is no more and a U Lucky Dawg has replaced it. Flukey's was also my favorite for a long time but I had to invoke the 3 strikes yer out rule after 3 consecutive disappointments 2-3 years ago. Sorta sad when they stopped caring about serving dogs that were in the water too long, shriveling tomato slices and stale buns. Haven't tried U Lucky Dawg yet.

                                            1. re: Wolfy_sm

                                              The owners of U Lucky Dawg are the same people who owned that Fluky's location for something like the previous eight years.

                                              That said, it sounds like you had a bad experience during their shift -- just clarifying that only the name has changed, as far as I know. I only ate there once, while it was Fluky's, and was neither impressed nor disgusted.

                                          2. Ever since Byron's on Clyborne and North closed there is no definitive answer.

                                            1. Hot Doug's on California a couple of blocks south of Addison serves up fantastic hot dog's, wild game dog's, etc. etc. Doug puts a new spin on the traditional Chicago Hot Dog. His hot dog creations are inventive and delicious!

                                              Huey's Hot Dog's on Balmoral at Clark is a great mom and pop Andersonville hot dog and burger joint.

                                              Super Dawg on the northside is excellent as well.

                                              Chickie's on south Pulaski brings back great memories.

                                              Portillo's is a great fast food chain restaurant that would thrive in most any US city. Great variety of hot dog's, Italian beef, burgers, ribs, chicken, pasta, salads, et. I love this place even though it's a chain.

                                              Byron's is overrated.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: amoncada

                                                IMHO superdawg is overrated. and no viena beef.

                                              2. ok - I have to be the one to say it. I love the Wiener Circle. Char Dogs are my preference over boiled dogs. Maybe its my nostalgia for summer. I love the sauteed onions and all the fixins. Also, if you are a cheese fries fan - I believe they use Merkt's. Someone tell me if I am off.

                                                Wiener Circle - Clark St.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: aliselara

                                                  Weiner Circle is acceptable only if you go after midnight and have been drinking heavily. You need the alcohol to kill whatever is in the food.

                                                  That being said, if you have been drinking heavily, it is a fine place.

                                                  1. re: aliselara

                                                    Wiener's Circle is great. Anyways, Vienna is the hot dog of choice. Most Jewish people seem to prefer Vienna to David Berg. Char dogs are great, especially char Polish, but they don't really boil the dogs...they steam them.

                                                  2. FYI: Fluky's is still open, they just moved out of the city altogether. At any rate, I believe they've lost something quality wise over the years, or maybe it’s just that everyone else got as good, I don't know. But as I recall my last few visits to the 2nd Western location were pretty unmemorable. They do maintain a website: http://www.flukys.com/default.htm

                                                    Byron’s, that was no loss as it was downright awful. I used to live by Broadway & Norwood several years ago and there was a Byron's on Clark & Norwood that I visited a few times and that I really disliked.

                                                    Go ahead and say it! I won't disagree. The Wieners Circle is a nice option for a different version of the Chicago Hot dog. They do one of the best char dawgs around. And the cheddar cheese is heart stopping good on the fries & burgers. Not my first pick, but when I'm in the area I try to go.

                                                    So what if Portillo's is a chain! When talking about “Chicago only” chains, there should be no issues. Otherwise, many our favorite Chicago icons would thus be eliminated from any board discussion after the second or third restaurant opened. Example: Lou's Malnati's, Uno’s, Gino's East, Al's Beef, and finally Portillo's, but the list goes on and on.
                                                    IMO if it started here, and still maintains a greater than 90% Chicago locations only ratio, then there shouldn't be any shame in recommending it. Fact is, if half the chains in this country could do what Portillo's does everyday, the world would be a better place to eat.

                                                    My only jab at the Portillo's are those damn double the other joints prices, but now that's entirely another matter!

                                                    Lastly, Hot Doug's? Wild game dog? Now that just sounds nasty! Anything other than pure beef in a hot dog tastes like well, not a hot dog! But calling it “new concept”? Not really, in case you haven't noticed just about every grocer in the nation sells more turkey and pork hot dogs than they do beef. Not to mention that people have been stuffing everything imaginable in a casing since the dawn of time. Most of it being that soft mushy non-beef crap, which is made for amateur weenie’s to eat, and is generally meant to be covered with ketchup.

                                                    Sounds to me like you better go join the forest preserve ketchup consumers that would dare disgrace Jean & Jude's, with that wild game abomination.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: abf005

                                                      It sounds like you've never been to Hot Doug's. Is this correct?

                                                    2. Two words...

                                                      Hot Doug's baby!

                                                      I guess that's 3 words.

                                                      1. Yes, I've been once.

                                                        The traditional Chicago dog was alright, not great, and it's clearly not in a league with Jean & Judes or SuperDawg.

                                                        Was it Unique? Different? Yes absolutely! But there were allot of nasty meat combinations of crap that I would even feed my dawg...

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: abf005

                                                          Did you try anything except the hot dog?

                                                          1. re: gleam

                                                            Nope, not that I can recall, but it was awhile back, at least 2-3 years. Why did I miss something major?

                                                            As I remember, it was a sausage emporium of everything from beef/pork andouille to the very exotic stuff like crab, ostrich, goat & alligator. Now that's all fine for messing around and puting on a "Wild Chicago" kind of twist, but when it comes to hot dogs I'm a bit of a purest, it has to be either Kosher or pure beef, and there cant be ketchup anywhere in sight!

                                                            Fact is if they had simply had a real Texas style hot link I would have been more impressed than looking at some nut, mushroom, cheese and goat meat concoction.

                                                          2. re: abf005

                                                            Most of those "nasty meat combinations" are pretty darn tasty. There is a reason that there is typically a line out of the door, and it's for a heck of a lot more than Chicago Style Hot Dogs.

                                                            By the way, it's Gene & Jude's.

                                                          3. Re-read the thread question, it was "where is the "best" place to get a Chicago hot dog?" Not the most bizarre, unique, freakish or eclectic.

                                                            Meaning an all beef or kosher hot dog like; Best Kosher, Vienna Beef, Chicago Red Hots, David Berg, Scott Petersen etc. These would all qualify, not a goat meat & mushroom whatever!

                                                            Just 'cause its in a hot dog bun or roll doesn't make it a Chicago hot dog.

                                                            With that being said, any other "sausage" derivative that is truly not a "hot dog" does not address the posters question, nor is anyone doing any visitors to Chicago a "favor" by sending them to anything other than a real hot dog stand.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: abf005

                                                              I was just curious if you'd ever even tasted the things you were dismissing as "nasty". Apparently not. Should I trust that you've tasted everything else you give opinions on?

                                                              Having never eaten the hot dog at SuperDawg, I'm going to now pronounce it nasty.

                                                              I think the OP would be better served to skip a chicago hot dog altogether, head to the vicinity of Halsted and Roosevelt, and get a maxwell street polish.

                                                            2. People! Try to have a sense of humor.

                                                              Perhaps my "nasty" comment is too harsh, but I dislike wild game and strange meats. And I am allowed to. If that makes me less credible as a reviewer, so be it.

                                                              Ah yes, a Maxwell street Polish, now on that we can probably agree.

                                                              Unless we start talking about stuffing "wild game, nuts and veggies" into a casing again...

                                                              1. While I have been a life-long fan of Gene & Jude's rubber dogs, it should be noted that many people absolutely hate them. I have friends that think they are just awful because of the balloon-like casing. I happen to like my dogs with a chew, but I can see how some are put off by it. Also, G&Js do not serve what most people think of as a "Chicago Style" hot dog. They don't come with tomatoes or glow-in-the-dark relish or all of the other accoutrements usually associated with "Chicago" dogs, just mustard and onions, which suits me fine.

                                                                As far as the more traditional salad on a bun type of dog, I guess I would have to vote for Superdawg, especially for out-of-town visitors. They were not always my favorite, but most of my favorite places from my youth have closed or gone downhill, and SD does get extra points for ambience. The giant hotdog couple with the glowing red eyes on the roof is worth the visit alone, and the dawgs are pretty good (but a little pricey).

                                                                7 Replies
                                                                1. re: Roger Spark

                                                                  Agree that Superdawgs has a kitschy, fun factor that out-of-townies will get a kick out of. My only quibble is that they don't include tomato slices in their dog.

                                                                  1. re: Roger Spark

                                                                    As a Gene's & Jude's lover, I have to make a correction. The condiments available are mustard, relish, onions, sport peppers and salt. FWIW, those are the basic building blocks of a Chicago style dog in my book, along with the Vienna red hot.

                                                                    Look at it this way, if you plopped an Oscar Meyer on a bun with tomatoes, pickle and celery salt (no mustard, relish, onion or Vienna), would you consider it a "Chicago style dog?" No more so than a venison sausage at Hot Dougs is a "Chicago style dog" (and I love venison, in sausage or any other way).

                                                                    The custom casing on Gene's and Jude's special Viennas does have more snap to it than standard Vienna dog outlets, but it's part of the charm of the G & J dog.

                                                                    Finally, a subjective note on Superdawg, which I know many people just love, but I can't stand the place. Two gloppy dogs in cutesy little boxes with frozen crinkle cut fries and a small Coke for $10 (plus tip for the car hop)? Outrageous.

                                                                    Even after 50+ years of monetary inflation, you can still score 2 outstanding dogs with gloriously greasy, fresh-cut fries and a Pepsi at G & J for under $5!

                                                                    1. re: Grizzly

                                                                      Ok I stand corrected, sort of. As I recall, if you order a dog at G&Js it comes STANDARD with only mustard and onions. I have never asked for relish on my G&J dogs, so I overlooked it. Does that come on the dog or is it something you have to add yourself? I do always get the peppers, but you have to request them as add-ons.

                                                                      Regardless, you know exactly what I mean about the Chicago Style Hotdog. People expect it to come STANDARD on a popyseed bun with all sorts of vegetation, and Gene and Judes definitely does not. Whether you like it that way or not is irrelevant to the point. I myself, also prefer Gene and Jude's simple dogs, but they are not "Chicago Style".

                                                                      My point about the "snap" in the casing is that many people do not like it at all. There is a reason they are often referred to derisively as "rubber-dogs". What you and I find charming, many people find inedible, and people should be aware that G&Js is not your average Vienna Red-Hot.

                                                                      1. re: Roger Spark

                                                                        Well, I've been ordering "2 with the works" at G & J for almost 35 years, and they've universally come with mustard, relish, onion and peppers.

                                                                        On occasion I'll get the clarifying inquiry; "you want peppers on those?" from the counter person (do I speak in tongues, or look like I can't read the menu?), but "everything" on a G & J dog has always (in my experience) included mustard, relish and onion as a minimum.

                                                                        As I said at the head of this thread, what constitutes a "Chicago style dog" will vary, and can become the subject of heated debate, which I really don't want to get in to, particularly with another G & J devotee.

                                                                        But IMHO, the poppy seeds on the bun, and "all sorts of vegetation" have become almost a stereotypical, TV Food Network creation of what people (primarily out-of-towners) have come to expect of a Chicago style dog.

                                                                        Beyond the 4 basic condiments at G & J, anything other than a couple of tomato slices, maybe a pickle spear and/or fresh cucumber slice (a personal no-no for me, hot dogs shouldn't crunch) in some joints, along with the ubiquitous poppy seeds and celery salt, is extraneous to "Chicago style" dogs, IMO.

                                                                        There are many variations, to be sure, and everyone has their favorites, but G & J is still there and drawing a crowd after 55 years at River and Grand, while Hastee-Tastee Dog (for one example of the "garden on a bun" style purveyors, formerly on Milwaukee south of Bryn Mawr), which also was once pretty good (if over-dressed), has long since closed its doors.

                                                                        Peace, and Vienna Beef Hot Dogs Forever!

                                                                        1. re: Grizzly

                                                                          Yeah, you are right. I was wrong. Now that I think about it, they have a sign that states exactly what "with everything" includes. I couldn't picture it. It is just that G&Js goes easy on the relish and puts it down inside the bun rather than piling it on top the way most places do. When I picture a Gene & Judes redhot in my head, I see a hotdog with french fries stuck to it with yellow mustard.

                                                                          It has been about a year since the last time I had a G&Js redhot (actually I ate 3 of them). Back in the late seventies, I went to Triton college and later worked for a sound and lighting company that often supplied equipment to the Thirsty Whale, so I ate there quite often. Now, I only get out that way about once a year. At any rate, every time I do go there I end up thinking "this is still one damn fine hotdog". Like I said, some of my friends and co-workers really disliked G&Js because of the texture of the casing. They also objected to the deep-red color, preferring the more anemic looking and less resistant hotdogs at Parky's.

                                                                          I think you are right, G&Js dogs don't fit what has been widely promoted to the outside world as a "Chicago Style Dog", such as in the aforementioned PBS special. You know though, as a kid I can't ever remember places putting cucumbers, tomatoes and pickles and such on hotdogs (or eating deep-dish pizza for that matter). As a kid I used to ride my bike to the original Portillo's on Villa ave and St. Charles Rd (which was a trailer turned into a shack). If I remember correctly, their version of a hotdog was pretty basic also, consiting of mustard, onions and relish. After moving to Lincoln Park, in my mid 20s, I actually used to like Demon Dogs, which were a little more dressed up than Gene & Jude's, with the addition of a poppy seed bun and a tomato, but still no cucumber slices and pickle spears. Oh well, I guess the one thing we can all agree on, is that a Chicago dog does not come with ketchup or sauerkraut (although I do like sauerkraut). But then again if I remember, the venerable Mr G's used to offer sauerkraut as an optional condiment.

                                                                      2. re: Grizzly

                                                                        agreed. superdawg is the worst dog in the whole city. go to poochies in skokie, then we can talk. who wants a wet soggy dirty water dog. throw mine on the grill.

                                                                        1. re: ChefMoly

                                                                          Maybe, but Grizzly is absolutely wrong about the fries. The original Superdawg cuts their fries fresh. There's even a video on their website of them doing it. I'm not sure if they do it at the Midway location, though.

                                                                          And, if you're going to fault Superdawg for being a "water dog," you might as well line up most hot dog places in the City as being "the worst."

                                                                    2. Thanks Roger Spark, for being more specific about Gene and Jude's. I have been thinking about making the trip up there after all of the good words but with only mustard and onions (and I don't like mustard) it doesn't sound so appealing.

                                                                      Another hot dog place that I haven't seen mentioned in Gold Coast dogs--there steamed dog with an order of cheese fries is terrific!

                                                                      1. In response to the Byrons post above...it still exists:

                                                                        Byron's Hot Dog Haus
                                                                        1017 W Irving Park Rd
                                                                        Chicago, IL 60613

                                                                        ...and it's still two meals: 1) large salad + 2) Vienna beef Polish = Yum

                                                                        1. Well stated Grizzly! I totally agree, plus I'd take the G&J over the SuperDawg any day.

                                                                          1. I agree with the above posts on what constitutes a chicago dog, I however need tomatoes on it and I can't stand how Byron's puts large pieces of lettuce and cucumbers on their dogs. Another good question is if you like boiled or char-grilled dogs. I think the traditional Chicago style is steamed, but you can't tell me the chardogs at Weiner Circle aren't amazing.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: augustus gloob

                                                                              I have been converted to a hot dog lover because of the chardogs at Wiener Circle. They are so delicious. I also like the Vienna factory store. But the best dogs are vienna, no doubt....

                                                                            2. Tomato slices/wedges are OK, but lettuce? No way!! That's not supposed to be there! Even according to the over assembly guideline that's been posted by Vienna Beef

                                                                              http://www.viennabeef.com/culture/chi...

                                                                              1. Ketchup's not supposed to be there, either, but Vienna Beef has it on their chart. What to do, what to do...

                                                                                1. I know, I thought the exact same thing.

                                                                                  But it's actually a poorly communicated joke that until you click on the KE element and get: CAUTION! Limit exposure, your thinking the K substance is endorsed by Vienna Beef.

                                                                                  1. Worthy in my opinion of mentioning in the same sentence as Gene & Jude's; Jimmy's Red Hots on Grand and Pulaski located on the Northwest side. Cops hang out there and gangbangers abound but, many consider it sacred ground. Snap!

                                                                                    1. Hot Doug's. End of story.

                                                                                      :-)

                                                                                      1. I always loved the Byron's on North and Clybourn. Now I like Portillos, ask for everything on it, and it comes out just right.

                                                                                        1. I have to chime in again about Byrons on Irving and Sheridan. I agree that the if you ask for everything, they run it through the garden.... excessively so. This, as I recall, was true of the original Flukies. That is not a problem at Byrons if you have good taste in dog condiments... they make it right in front of you and ask what you want.... so ... dont get the lettuce! Also, I can understand the fact that most Tourists and Suburbanites (and many North Siders) are not going to venture out into the entire city and discover that there is actually a South Side! However, the question was.... what is the best Hot Dog? So I will reinerate. It is Fat Johnnies at 72nd and Western.

                                                                                          1. About Bryon's: All I am saying that it is extremely annoying when you order a hot dog w/ everything no peppers, and for some reason you get a dog smothered in lettuce, cucumbers and some places even get ketchup involved. Obviously if I have time to stop them putting on unecessary items...I will, but bottom line these places should know better, especially Byron's (one of the closest hot dog stands to Wrigley)

                                                                                            1. Gotta weigh in here!!

                                                                                              Poochie's on Dempster in Skokie

                                                                                              Try it Chicago Style or better yet try it Char Grilled with Carmelized Onions

                                                                                              Feel me...

                                                                                              1. I want to recommend to you all, once again, to try Hot Doug's at 3324 N. California Ave. I do so, not just because Doug's sausages are house-made, not just because he fries his fries in duck fat, and not just because you will not find sausages like his anywhere in the city. I do so because LOVE compels me to share Hot Doug's with you. Love of food and love of people who love food. Trust me on this on, friends. You won't regret the trip, nor will you begrudge Doug his "eccentricities". Check him out at http://www.hotdougs.com/.

                                                                                                Buon Appetito!

                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: JP Big Daddy

                                                                                                  As I mentioned upthread, none of Doug's sausages are house-made. A small number are made locally to his specifications (the ribeye and corned beef sausages come to mind), but almost all, including almost all of the specials, are produced for general use. Heck, the hot dogs are vienna.

                                                                                                  This is not meant to say that Doug's would be better if he made the sausages himself. I kind of doubt it would be. He'd be spending so much time grinding pork and bison and shrimp and chicken that he wouldn't have any time to banter with you when you order, or dream up new flavor combos.

                                                                                                  1. re: JP Big Daddy

                                                                                                    I have to second this . . . the attitude and ambiance at Doug's is great. I like that a businessman who has lines out the door (sometimes a block long) every day still deals personally with every customer. The specialty dogs are great but I rarely get 'em, as he makes a mean char dog (to the exact specs elsewhere in this thread) for a buck fifty. The framed the citation the city gave him for flaunting the foie gras ban is right by the register. I admire this man.

                                                                                                  2. I don't think anybody has mentioned it but the Polish at Jim's is the closest a dog can get you to Nirvana.

                                                                                                    1. Hot Doug lovers: While I'm sure the gastronomical enjoyment of other sausage variations are all very noteworthy, and well worth a trip to go to taste, please go start another thread on sausages or hot dog deviants.

                                                                                                      But for love of all things sacred in Chicago, please don't reply with how great, deer meat sausages, wild game, Polish sausages, Italian sausages, or with anything that is a non-beef frank for that matter. Especially when in a Chicago hot dog category, because its just NOT relevant!

                                                                                                      A Chicago hot is very specific in it construction, including the order in which the toppings are laid on. Starting with a plain or Poppy seed bun,a pure beef frank that's either steamed or char grilled generally made with a natural casing for that classic snap! Then add:
                                                                                                      1. Yellow mustard
                                                                                                      2. Bright green relish
                                                                                                      3. Fresh chopped onion
                                                                                                      4. tomato wedges or slices
                                                                                                      5. Kosher pickle spear
                                                                                                      6. sport peppers
                                                                                                      7. A dash of celery salt

                                                                                                      Anything else ain't a Chicago Hot dog, PERIOD. I now officially give up on this thread!

                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: abf005

                                                                                                        you took the words right out of my mouth..

                                                                                                        My choices:

                                                                                                        Morrie Omallys on the S. Side for a couple of grilled chicago style dogs before a Sox game.

                                                                                                        Morrie Omallys
                                                                                                        3501 S. Union
                                                                                                        Chicago (Bridgeport), IL.

                                                                                                        The old standby: Portillos, consistant, good.

                                                                                                        1. re: abf005

                                                                                                          Except, of course, that not all Chicago style hot dogs contain those ingredients, but are still Chicago-style.

                                                                                                          Your fave gene and jude's only includes mustard, dark green relish, sport pepper, and onion. This is true of most of the older hot dog stands, including Polk and Western, Jimmy's, and Al's.

                                                                                                          And I would, personally, consider the dragged-through-the-garden Byron's a Chicago-style. There is nothing heretical, to me, about the addition of lettuce and cucumber. Just like there's nothing heretical about the omission of celery salt, tomato, and a pickle spear.

                                                                                                          Personally, hot dogs are fairly boring. I think Hot Doug's is a good choice for someone looking for the best hot dog because:

                                                                                                          1) It's a very good chicago-style hot dog, and you have your choice of steamed, boiled, or charred.

                                                                                                          2) The fun atmosphere and doug's personality and passion are contagious, and make the food taste better. Unless you have no soul.

                                                                                                          3) The fries are better than the fries at almost every hot dog stand in town, including Gene and Jude's.

                                                                                                          4) When you get bored of the chicago hot dog, you have a lot more things to choose from. Just because your palate is so unrefined that wild boar sausage with cherries and tomme sounds "nasty" to you doesn't mean that's the case for everyone.

                                                                                                          Hot Doug's is the best total package of a hot dog stand in Chicago, when it comes to food, ambiance, and service.

                                                                                                        2. OK - I'm the one that started this post, and I just got back from Chicago. I know lots of you are loyal Gene and Jude's fans, so please don't completely bash me - but I did not like it.

                                                                                                          The fries were pretty good, but my hot dog roll was a soggy mess and the onions had an almost metallic taste to them. The place was also very, very dirty, which may have affected the hot dog experience somewhat.

                                                                                                          Later in the weekend, we went to Duk's just because it is down the street from where my friend lives. That hot dog was much better - I love the sport peppers and pickle spear on the hot dog, something I had never tried before.

                                                                                                          1. When did Demon Dogs close down? When I was in Chicago in October, I excitedly exited the train at Fullerton and much to my dismay, it was boarded up. I always enjoyed their dogs but found Byron's to be a very suitable replacement.

                                                                                                            Anybody know of any other dog places that are withing a 3 minute walk of a train?

                                                                                                            1. Wiener and Still Champion is about 1/2 block west of the Dempster El stop.

                                                                                                                1. re: bobbym

                                                                                                                  I will have to concur with Gene & Jude's being one of the classic spots for hot dogs in Chicago. As said above, it is not a tradional "Chicago Dog" but that does not distract the fact that it is a great place. The fries are hand cut moments from hitting the fryer.

                                                                                                                  I used to work in Melrose Park & Gene & Jude's was always a special treat. My ultimate lunch was one hot dog w/fries and one tamale. I believe the tamales are the Chicago staple "Supreme Tamales", but they always just seem to tast a little better from G&Js.

                                                                                                                  I think I am gonna pack up the kids and drive to Gene & Jude's tonight!
                                                                                                                  JPK

                                                                                                                2. I have been to over 40 places in the north and northwest part of Chicago as part of a hot dog club. I have to say that Hot Doug's makes the best Chicago hot dog I've ever tasted. Yes, I agree with everyone else that the other sausages he makes with the fancy and/or dancy sauces are also very good or great, the simple fact is that the hot dog is the best Chicago dog I've ever had. It is better than Byron's (my second fav.) or Superdawg (which comes in at No. 3). For a couple of bucks, he makes the best regular dog. One more thing ... the bratwurst is also the best in the city, and if you get one, 25 cents goes to a very worth cause ... the Send Paul Kelly's Kids to College Fund. thankyouverymuch, OldCleat

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. re: OldCleat

                                                                                                                    I just tried Hot Dougs for the first time about a month ago and it is SOOOOOOOOO friggin good! It's my new addiction! I have tried a ton of the "reg" dogs and a ton of the specialty dogs! SOOO GOOOD!!!!
                                                                                                                    I have also been to Byrons which is good but I feel way dirty after eating there or like something has been done to my food (the one at Irving and Sheridan).

                                                                                                                  2. Did Wally's Red Hots from Diversey & Central ever re-open in Park Ridge or wherever as posted on CH awhile back?? That used to be thee best hot dog in town !!!

                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. re: NoeMan

                                                                                                                      For a number of years there has been a Wally's at Oakton and NW Highway in Park Ridge. I was always curious if it was related to the "original" Wally's, but I never remember to ask. The logo looks the same with the Big W, but I thought that might be coincidence. It is a favorite place for me to stop when I am coming from O'Hare. I have never tried the hotdogs, but the Beefs and Gyros are pretty good.

                                                                                                                      \/\/ally's
                                                                                                                      1006 N Northwest Hwy
                                                                                                                      Park Ridge, IL 60068

                                                                                                                    2. OK, already. I've been reluctant to chime in on this, because it's obviously such a matter of individual taste. Given that, why not report my favorite. I love Gene & Jude's (more for the fries than the hot dog, but the dog is very good), Portillos is pretty good. Super Dawg seems to have some nostalgia factor that I don't grasp. The Dog House at the Lake Forest oasis on I-294 is my favorite, specifically the grilled jumbo dog. (Don't confuse this with the Dog House at the Ohare oasis--it seems to be the same chain, but the one at OHare sucks.) The Lake Forest Dog House jumbo dog is skinless, but has plenty of "snap" on the interior--a relatively coarse texture & assertive seasoning. The grilling adds a nice touch, and the flavor is very very good. It's not a place I would frequent except when on on 294, but when I'm there, it's a destination place.

                                                                                                                      1. For me, the wiener and still champion is the venerable HENRY's on Ogden avenue near Austin in Cicero. Being a Chicago Hotdog kinda guy, I've eaten them far and wide--NOTHING is like a Henry's-I can't explain it. Maybe because they never used relish, but insisted on a garlicky slice of Kosher Pickle--who knows? Been going there since 1959, and it's still great.

                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                        1. re: qzq

                                                                                                                          Well, this is a good example of how individual tastes are when it comes to hot dogs. Based on a previous post on Chowhound, my wife and I went to Henry's a couple of weeks ago. Amazingly nice people, good vibes all around, fries pretty good. Hot dog, well c+ at best. But that's just the problem w/ hot dogs. They all come fully loaded--with our own preferences, past histories, whom we made out with whenever, and so on.

                                                                                                                        2. As mentioned a few times, Gene and Jude's isn't a "Chicago" dog in the pure sense, though it is still awesome. A char dog from a Gold Coast is fantastic, and Superdawg is overrated. Wiener Circle is a great place to get belittled by the staff, and a ton of fun, but the dog is average. I'm pretty sure the cheese fries are covered in government cheese. Portillo's has changed their dog, and it is no longer quite the same, though still great in a pinch wherever you may be in Chicagoland. There is no way to get a general consensus on what the best Chicago dog is. Way too many perfect dogs in the city. Try them all and make your own choice!

                                                                                                                          1. Recently tried Hot Doug's for the first time. I don't really care if it's "traditional" or not because I don't like condiments on my hot dog. That's right, I said it. I think the "Chicago Style" hot dog is overkill. I always get my dog plain as can be. Naked as the day it was born, allowing me to really taste the hot dog. Having said that, I thought Hot Doug's was OUTSTANDING. I will be going back to try all the specialty dogs.

                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                            1. re: guttersnipe

                                                                                                                              My favorite used to be in Batavia but they've moved to Yorkville. Its a hot dog stand called Uglys. They'll serve your dogs whichever way you want; plain-yes, chicagostyle-yes, with kraut-yes, with cheese-yes, with K******-NO!. They have the total package- great tasting all beef dogs with all the Chicago style ingredients; the steamy poppy seed bun, the mustard, the neon green relish, onions, pickle, tomato, sport pepper and celery salt. I think you can still get 2 dogs, fries and a drink for under five bucks. They've got the real potato fries and the tamales. They've got polish sausage and italian beef sandwiches and the garden on the bun too for the vegans- but no lettuce. They've got the nostalgic hot dog stand looking building and the character behind the counter who engages you in conversation and is quick to offer up a neighborly recommendation or referral if you need one. I think its one of the last authentic hot dog stands anywhere near chicago and the food is tops, low cost and the service is fast. No bathrooms and save for some some picnic tables outside, no seats. Its a hot dog STAND! And its my top pick.

                                                                                                                            2. no one has mentioned my favorties so I'll post them. budacki's on damen and lawrence. 2$ dog and fries. . . too easy when I'm getting off the el. and wolfy's on Peterson. . . always stop on my way to the highway. does no one else feel hot doug's crazy hours, lines around the block and random closings a bit annoying? I'm surprised no one's mentioned it.

                                                                                                                              1. Hot Dougs is amazing- but be prepared to wait in line

                                                                                                                                1. What! No one's mentioned Parky's in Forest Park? Best dogs and great fries (if u like greasy of course). No better dog!!

                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                  1. re: chigirlmi

                                                                                                                                    A wise sage of my youth once said-Go ahead and eat at Parky's--The next morning, get up and count the number of pimples on your face, divide by two, and that's how many fries you ate at Parky's

                                                                                                                                  2. While I now live in the Milwaukee area, I was born in Chicago, & lived there 44 yrs out of my 56 on this planet, eating "Chicago-style" hotdogs all of my life. That said, here are a few of my opinions.

                                                                                                                                    First, IMHO, the prime ingredient required for a true Chicago-style dog is an all-beef NATURAL CASING Vienna dog. Skin-less doesn't cut it, the "snap" is required. Up here in Cheesehead land, there are a number of places proclaiming they have real Chicago-style dogs with Vienna dogs, but when I show up to feed my craving, I am always disappointed as they are always using the same ol' skinless Vienna you can get at the grocery store. Is there some sort of rule that states Vienna only sells natural-casing dogs to Chicago stands within a certain radius of Chicago??

                                                                                                                                    That said, while a Superdawg dog is a good & tasty sandwich, it ain't a Chicago dog - no natural casing.

                                                                                                                                    Hot Doug's is a sausage stand, i.e., a place to go if you want gourmet sausages & duck fat fries, I seriously doubt anyone makes a beeline there just for their Chicago- style hot dogs.

                                                                                                                                    I really disliked Byron's dogs due to the pile of lettuce & cucumbers they pile on the dogs. I don't go to a hot dog stand if I want salad...

                                                                                                                                    Gold Coast Dogs was always pretty good, but I would always get dirty looks when I asked for a steamed dog instead of a char-grilled one.

                                                                                                                                    However, I grew up in Melrose Park, & so Gene & Jude's has been my spot for dogs & fries for 56 yrs, & still is the best, IMHO. Although Butch's Beef Stand, that once upon a time was located across the street from the now missing Cock Robin Hamburger outlet at 14th & Lake in Melrose Park, also had pretty much the same dog & fries as Gene & Jude's, & had great Italian Beef as well.

                                                                                                                                    BTW, the reason you don't get ketchup on a dog, is that the sugar in the ketchup covers up the flavor of the dog. But don't take my word for it...here is an explanation from Cecil Adams from "The Straight Dope":

                                                                                                                                    Dear Cecil:

                                                                                                                                    I was sitting at the Montreal Pool Room eating my all-dressed hot dog and suddenly the question hit me: why is there no ketchup in an all-dressed? Is ketchup not as respectable a condiment as relish or mustard? Is there a conspiracy? Does Dirty Harry's remark about ketchup in a hot dog have anything to do with it? I would be so thankful if you could shine a light on this obscure bit of knowledge for a passionate and perplexed user of ketchup. --Paul Macneil, Dorval, Quebec

                                                                                                                                    Cecil replies:

                                                                                                                                    Paul, I know you don't mean to act like an alfalfa-chewing barbarian, but this is like asking why Leonardo didn't paint the Mona Lisa on black velvet. Ketchup is destructive of all that is right and just about a properly assembled hot dog (and we're talking about a pure beef hot dog, not one of those things you could serve with dressing on Thanksgiving).

                                                                                                                                    Ketchup smothers the flavor of the hot dog because ketchup makers add sugar to their products. That takes the edge off the highly acidic tomatoes, but it takes the edge off everything else, too. Which is exactly why a lot of parents like it, according to Mel Plotsky, sales manager for the David Berg hot dog company in Chicago. (Chicago is one of the hot dog's holy cities.) Put ketchup on it and a kid will swallow anything--and from there it's a straight shot to Velveeta cheese, Franco-American spaghetti, and Deborah Norville.

                                                                                                                                    For that matter, you want to watch the mustard, too. Plotsky says your mainstream brands like French's put in too much turmeric and whatnot. What you want is some unpretentious mustard like Plochman's that enhances rather than competes with the flavor of the beef. You should also steam or grill rather than boil your hot dogs--water leaches away the flavor and softens the wiener till it becomes non-tooth-resistant mush.

                                                                                                                                    But--getting back to the original question--you say you like the taste of tomatoes. Fine, then eat tomatoes, as God meant them to be eaten--fresh sliced and piled on top of the hot dog. The recommended ingredients of a hot dog with everything, in order of application, are mustard, relish, chopped onion, sliced tomato, kosher pickle spear, optional peppers, and celery salt. (Many think you have to get kraut in there too, but Cecil wants a hot dog, not Oktoberfest.)

                                                                                                                                    People get pretty emotional over the ketchup question. Mel Plotsky opened our discussion by describing the condiment as a "catchall of garbage." Over at crosstown rival Vienna Sausage, they refer to ketchup as the "K-word." If you go into an authentic hot dog joint and ask for ketchup on your hot dog, the counterman will pause and look you in the eye. He may or may not say, "Ketchup?" with a tone of disbelief. But you may be certain what he's thinking: "Behold this creature that walks like a man. It wants ketchup on its hot dog."

                                                                                                                                    But hey, if you want ketchup, by all means get it.

                                                                                                                                    --CECIL ADAMS

                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: GenoInWisc

                                                                                                                                      WHOA.
                                                                                                                                      That is not making sense to me. How do you explain the insipidly sweet, disgusting relish product that embodies the "Chicago Style" dog, then? That's one thing I'll never be able to understand, and thankfully so. I'm a life long Chicagoan with a few years of stints in NY, and Colorado, but I've never understood what was up with the gross, sugary, sweet relish. Yuck. It's like dumping sugar on your hot dog. Makes no sense whatsoever to me - ESPECIALLY since dill relish is available. Sweet relish is one of those things that give me the heebie jeebies. Miracle Whip is another one. Has no place in this world IMHO. Blech!

                                                                                                                                      I dig Gene & Jude's also. Hold the relish please!
                                                                                                                                      (I'm also a fan of the salad dog having grown up in Oak Park a block away from Tasty Dog.)
                                                                                                                                      I'll also second chigirlmi with Parky's. Not many finer sights are there than the Parky's (grease stained) brown bag!

                                                                                                                                      1. re: GenoInWisc

                                                                                                                                        I agree with Geno that a true Chicago dog has to be natural casing. That is why I am amazed that the Vienna Beef factory store only serves skinless dogs. You can buy natural casing dogs there by the pound but they don't serve it.

                                                                                                                                      2. Chicago dog - Weiner Circle on Clark. Sassy service, Chicago char dogs, great fries. Can't go wrong.

                                                                                                                                        Fancy-schmancy - Hot Doug's on California. Elk, antelope, alligator, ostrich - you name it! Plus he snubs his nose at the Chicago foie gras ban. "Fine me!", Doug says.

                                                                                                                                        1. I hear Hot Dougs has some really good unique hot dogs, but if you want a classic: Gold Coast Dogs.

                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                          1. re: Chew on That

                                                                                                                                            Just wanted to chime in on The Wiener and Still Champion. My family literally lives down the street from this place and yet when we have out of towners, we usually drive 20 miles to Superdawg or the Wiener Circle to give them a unique Chicago experience.
                                                                                                                                            Yesterday we went to The Wiener and Still Champion because my fiance was craving a Chicago hotdog and we were hurrying to a movie.
                                                                                                                                            The first clue of the amazingness of this place was the 4 enormous bags of fresh Idaho potato's on the floor. The fries are the best I've had in a long time. Skins on, perfectly cooked, neither too crispy, nor too soggy. Just perfect. The chicago dog was a classic with a nice bite and condiments by the book.
                                                                                                                                            The corn dog (aka dipping dog), which we only ordered for the heck of it enlightened me as to why this concoction actually exists. I always thought it a rather disgusting combination, geared to the under 10 set. And yet upon first bite of the Wiener and Still Champion, my opinion completely changed. Homemade dipping sauces, to boot. Honey Mustard was good and makes me want to return for Texas ranch, garlic aioli and curry ketchup.
                                                                                                                                            Anyhow a little gem in the rough The Wiener and Still Champion is! There are no neon signs or dancing hotdogs and the staff does not cuss at you, but the food is clearly quality. I left with a new stance on the corndog and the french fries, I shall likely dream of...

                                                                                                                                          2. What a great board. The fun is in trying all of the places...

                                                                                                                                            I was in Hot Dougs two weeks ago and sat next to Anthony Bourdain and his gorgeous date. WIth 2,000 reaturants in Chicago he picks the King of Encased Meats.

                                                                                                                                            And I'm totally down with the duckfat fries.

                                                                                                                                            1. If you're anywhere near the berwyn/cicero area.

                                                                                                                                              on the corner of 26th street and East Avenue in Berwyn there's RED TOP It's been run by the same 2 ladies since I was a kid. Great hot dogs and fries. Always stop there when I pass through my old stomping grounds.

                                                                                                                                              -- JJ

                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                              1. re: juliejoefromplainfield

                                                                                                                                                Red top--A fine dog, but it ain't Henry's......

                                                                                                                                              2. Move all the Hot Doug's discussion off to another thread - it's apples & oranges to the subject of "the best place to get a Chicago hot dog". Hot Doug's is great, but its definitely not classical.

                                                                                                                                                Many good places recommended - I'll add one more - 50+ years of tradition, multiple generations of the same family, incredibly good.

                                                                                                                                                Jimmy's Place
                                                                                                                                                640 W Northwest Hwy
                                                                                                                                                Arlington Hts, IL 60004
                                                                                                                                                (847) 398-9783

                                                                                                                                                It's a classic dive Chicago hot dog place, great Beef's too.

                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                1. I have tried them all and the three best in my view (in no particular order) are wiener's circle, poochies, and gene & jude's. fredhots & fries is right up there too.

                                                                                                                                                  1. Yo Hot Dougs is really the BEST hot dog in the city. Also theres a little hot dog shack right of the stevenson on Roosevelt Road called Jim's I think.

                                                                                                                                                    1. Happy Hut on Roosevelt in West Chicago...hands down, best little known hot dog joint around! It's tiny in size but HUGE on taste and tradition! They don't screw around with fancy game meats or wild topings...just honest Vienna Beef dogs with the traditional topings!

                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: biga290

                                                                                                                                                          Yes, Happy House Hot Dogs does indeed serve natural casing Vienna dogs. It's a solid place if you are in the area. They also have a few other quirks such as offering red cream soda, gravy bread (roll dipped in beef juice) and they deep fry their italian sausage.

                                                                                                                                                          140 E Roosevelt Rd
                                                                                                                                                          West Chicago, IL 60185-3965
                                                                                                                                                          (630) 231-8989
                                                                                                                                                          http://happyhousehotdogs.com/

                                                                                                                                                      1. weiner circle ---- dont forget to ask for a chocolate shake ---- : )
                                                                                                                                                        portillos are awesum whether ur in the city or the burbs

                                                                                                                                                        in the southwest burbs in oak forest or country club hills
                                                                                                                                                        go to UNBEATABLE EATABLES --they have good fries and wrap the hotdog in bacon ---- yeah!!

                                                                                                                                                        1. Here are a few of my favorites that no one has mentioned yet.

                                                                                                                                                          Lucky Dog - Harlem Ave and 16th St. in Berwyn
                                                                                                                                                          Donald's - Central Ave. in Chicago
                                                                                                                                                          Nana's - Irving Park just west of Barrington Rd. in Streamwood

                                                                                                                                                          Buona Beef also has a mean dog, but like Portillo's gets overlooked due to its chain status. Gene and Jude's is also great, but everyone else pretty much summed it up. My dad always raves about eating Jimmy's Red Hots when he was younger, but I haven't gone yet because of the gangs in the area

                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: nman2

                                                                                                                                                            Best "Chicago Style" Hotdog - Wolfy's 2734 West Peterson Avenue Chicago
                                                                                                                                                            Best Polish - Maxwell St. on 31st and Canal, Chicago

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: nman2

                                                                                                                                                              Lucky Dog is pretty close to me and I've been thinking about it for a while, just haven't gotten around to trying it. What do you like about it? Is it natural casing? Good flavor? Do they have sport peppers? (Amazingly, some don't.)

                                                                                                                                                              Also, about Donald's on Central--is this somewhere in the vicinity of Bryn Mawr?

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: nman2

                                                                                                                                                                !! agree w/ NANA'S!!...i was reared on those...skin on fries IN the hotdog rolled in tissue paper to go to get the fries all steamy..or i'd have em on the side to keep em crispy inside the joint...too hot in the summer though!! & what a great sign..havent been there in years!!

                                                                                                                                                              2. Wiener and Still Champion in Evanston has a Wednesday Deal http://www.wienerandstillchampion.com...

                                                                                                                                                                Dont forget to try the Country Fried Bacon or Fried Chili

                                                                                                                                                                1. Anyone know a place in the far south burbs that can compare to the top dog joints in the city? I'm in Homewood, That's around 183rd S. Western. Is Portillo's my only option?

                                                                                                                                                                  I usually buy my own dogs in a thin casing from local butchers and assemble the rest myself, but good, fresh hand tied dogs are getting hard to find around here!

                                                                                                                                                                  1. So One thing I can say is that on my 3 attempts to go to Hot Dougs, the place was closed, either for renovations, or because I got there after-hours, so I cannot attest to the greatness that is Hot Dougs, but have heard amazing things.

                                                                                                                                                                    One lesson learned on my trips to Chicago is that the larger the sign to advertise their hot dogs, usually the worst the hot dogs are. The worst Dog I got was at a place called "Wolfy's" which had a really cool sign that dragged me in, but the actual product was horrible.

                                                                                                                                                                    The best of the hot dogs I have eaten ( which is only about 10 places) The best Chicago-style hot dog was a place called "Chicago Dog House". If you have not tried this place I highly recommend it, it is a small hole-in-the-wall with usually only one person working the counter, but the Dogs are phenomenal.

                                                                                                                                                                    -----
                                                                                                                                                                    Hot Doug's
                                                                                                                                                                    3324 N California Ave, Chicago, IL 60618

                                                                                                                                                                    Dog House
                                                                                                                                                                    4501 W Lawrence Ave, Chicago, IL 60630

                                                                                                                                                                    1. Suparossa, Villa Napoli, & my long time favorite, Coluta's one block north of Harlem & belmont.