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New and improved Chicago on a Bun - San Diego/UTC

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YaYa Jan 22, 2007 09:52 PM

We live nearby Chicago on a Bun and would drop in there every once and a while for a hot dog fix. A month or so ago we discovered they are under new ownership and it's very noticable when it comes to the chow. On our most recent visit over the weekend, the place was busier than I have ever seen it, I guess word is getting out!

Hubby and I each had a spicy dog on a fresh poppyseed bun prepared Chicago style. It was topped with tomatoes, onions, mustard, relish, mini hot peppers, a crisp quarter spear of dill pickle, and I added shredded cheddar cheese to mine. The dog was plump and juicy with a tasty bun that held up wonderfully under all the toppings. The casing made the pleasing little snap that comes when you take a bite out of a great hot dog. The shoestring fries are delicious and abundant. While the price for the fries is a little steep ($2.75 I think?) it can be shared between 2 or 3 people.

They now have ribs and I overheard one of the new owners telling another customer that they have redone their burger. I'm so obsessed with their spicy dogs that I don't know if I can bring myself to try their other offerings, but I was salivating looking at everyone elses plates.

I highly recommend any local hot dog lovers make their way over to the new and improved Chicago on a Bun, you won't regret the trip!

  1. o
    ohm86 Jan 22, 2007 11:06 PM

    Thanks, YaYa!! As a Chicago native, it took me quite a while to find places that served food that could truly be called "Chicago-style." I had found Chicago on a Bun a few years ago. They got almost everything right - the steamed poppy seed bun, the Vienna Beef dogs, the beef sandwiches (although they always looked at me oddly when I asked for hot AND sweet peppers ... I think they thought I was trying to invent a new kind of pepper), and the potato chips - Harry Carey would have been proud.

    I'm curious to go back and see if it's even better. From what you said, it sounds like they upgraded to the natural casing dogs (which was always my complaint before!). Do you know if the new owners are former Chicagoans as well?

    On a tangent, to anyone who is interested in REAL Chicago-style pizza ... Lefty's in North Park is it. Awesome homemade sausage (pronounce it with me now: SAAAAAA-SIDGE) and good beef as well. If the only "Chicago-style" pizza you've experienced in San Diego is Uno's (I'm stifling a gag), you owe it to yourself to try Lefty's. Just be sure to give them 60 minutes for a deep dish and 90 for a stuffed (Seriously. Go online and find their menu and call in your order ahead of time. It's worth it!!)

    2 Replies
    1. re: ohm86
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      YaYa Jan 22, 2007 11:40 PM

      They are former Chicagoans! They've been in San Diego for about 10 years now, very friendly and they even ship in Gonella's bread (not sure if the previous owners did?) You can also now buy delicious dogs by the pound to cook on your own grill. I think you will be pleasantly surprised by the upgrades they've made to the food.

      And thanks for the tip on the pizza. My hub is a huge pizza fan and has been disappointed in the SD pizza scene, we'll head to Lefty's on our next pizza jaunt. Sounds delicious! :)

      1. re: YaYa
        e
        EddieB Jan 22, 2007 06:23 PM

        As a somewhat regular at COAB dating back to their days in Mission Beach, I have always been impressed with their quality and consistency. I tried COAB shortly after the original owners, Jerry and Francis, sold it and was disappointed in the Beef sandwich. I believe the new owners still use Fontanini Beef for their sandwiches, but the bread was not the Gonnella French roll used for years by COAB. I may have just caught them on a day when they had to use a substitute bread. The beef and sausage were still good though.

        I have not tried the new owner’s ribs yet, but the baby backs offered by the original owners were good.

        Lefty’s makes their own beef instead of buying the Vienna or Fontanini Italian Beef product and I think they do a good job. I wish they would use Gonnella (or another French Roll) bread instead of Solunto’s roll, which is much harder than I am accustomed to for Beef sandwiches. Their stuffed pizza is excellent.

    2. c
      chitowngirl Jan 25, 2007 06:34 AM

      I too am an old customer from the Mission Beach location. I have been going to Chicago on a Bun for so many years and have always found them consistent. I miss Jerry alot and hope he and his lovely wife are doing well. I do know that the old owners were from Chicago and they did everything right, including the ribs which were to die for! I know that they had the real thing from the beginning even the Gonnella Bread. Now I've been back with the new owers and it's just not the same family feeling which was one thing that I loved. The entire kitchen staff is still there which I was pleasantly surprised to see. The place looks good and I hope the new owners can accomplish what the old owners did well for many years. We will miss them and good luck to the new owners.

      1. kitchenhag Jan 27, 2007 03:10 PM

        I was at UTC the other day and couldn't find Chicago on a bun. Could someone tell me where this place is? TIA

        3 Replies
        1. re: kitchenhag
          honkman Jan 27, 2007 05:05 PM

          It's in the Renaissance Center on Towne Centre Drive not at the UTC:

          http://maps.citysearch.com/map/view/4...

          1. re: kitchenhag
            s
            stevestr Mar 6, 2007 10:38 AM

            Keep heading East down Towne Center Dr past the Jewish temple. In the distance, on the left you will see a plaza. It's in that plaza. Turn left.

            1. re: stevestr
              kitchenhag Mar 7, 2007 09:12 PM

              Thanks stevestr... I will be down there soon and 'report ' 'bout my lunch......I'd like to say that
              I think I make a mean 'Italian Beef' . Being from Philly (originally) who am I to really know what is authentic since I've never eaten this in Chi Town.
              I can say, with much anticipation, this is gonna be yummy and a learning experience.
              Stay tuned c-hounds
              p.s. I'm a sucker for a great hot dog ....so a Chicago Dog is next on my list.

          2. leanneabe Mar 5, 2007 10:14 PM

            Does anyone know their hours? How late are they open?

            1 Reply
            1. re: leanneabe
              s
              stevestr Mar 6, 2007 10:37 AM

              According to the menu I received (which honetly wasn't too current, prices posted in the shop were about 45c higher) their hours are Mon - Sat 11 - 8 and Sundays 11 - 5. Hope this helps.

            2. s
              stevestr Mar 6, 2007 10:36 AM

              Ok so between this and Yelp! I was swayed to try this Chistyle hot dog shop. I ordered an Italian Beef, Hot Dog, and Large Soda.

              First impressions, definitely UTC prices. I walked out the door $14.55 lighter.

              Second: Hot Dog was excellent. Italian beef was dry, even though they include a small cup of Au Jus. In Chitown most of my Italian beefs had at least some juice on the bread.

              Third: Did my eyes deceive me or was a microwave in use warming up my beef? I hope not.

              Overall not bad. I might stop here now and then, especially when I get those cravings that Buster's can't satisfy due to their limited hours.

              For the person dogging Lefty's - well I don't know what to say. They have about the best pizza in SD and no, Pizzeria Uno (the chain) is NOT the same as the authentic place in Chicago.

              Lefty's has a unique Italian Beef and I didn't find it as flavorful as both here or Busters. I will give this place props for perfectly toasting the bread the sandwich came on.

              1 Reply
              1. re: stevestr
                soulshine Mar 6, 2007 12:08 PM

                "For the person dogging Lefty's - well I don't know what to say. They have about the best pizza in SD and no, Pizzeria Uno (the chain) is NOT the same as the authentic place in Chicago."

                Just curious stevestr, who's post are you referring to? I read through all of the posts here in this thread and did not see anyone "dogging" Lefty's or implying Pizzeria Uno is better or authentic. The only post I saw that mentioned Uno was by ohm86 saying they are NOT the real thing (mentioning stifling a gag would imply displeasure) and recommending Lefty's, not putting them down.

              2. c
                cnova83 Apr 14, 2007 02:24 PM

                i just moved out here from chicago and ive been trying to find a good chicago style hot dog and pizza place. thanks for the information guys.

                do any of you know if theres a "chicago bar" around here? i loved going down to wrigleyville to watch the cubs games and bears games. i miss the home style feeling.

                1 Reply
                1. re: cnova83
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                  EddieB Apr 23, 2007 09:43 PM

                  710 Beach Club (fka Blind Melons) in Pacific Beach (710 Garnet Ave.) is owned by a transplanted Chicagoan and caters to Bears, Cubs and the few of us that love the Sox. Sluggers or Hi Tops it is not, but the place is jammed for Bear games and they usually run a party bus for one of the Padres-Cub games. For years Blind Melons was San Diego's home of the Blues, but they finally had to pull the plug on Blues and go more mainstream to stay out of the red. It is too bad because most of the touring Chicago acts played there.

                2. geekyfoodie Apr 24, 2007 12:00 PM

                  My friend's a Chicago-native and he recommended CoaB. I loved it! Yes, it was quite steep, but I love, love, love hot dogs (especially Polish sausages), so it was worth the try. I had a Polish topped with tons of onions and the freshly fried chips. I'd pay the for the chips alone.

                  On the Lefty's sidenote, it was great, but hampered by the rude woman who hovered over our table making snide comments about how long we were taking. This was when the rest of the tables were filled with people who were there just as long as we were. Not anyone's fault but the woman's, of course.

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