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Chicago Pizza & Hot Dogs - specific questions

We will be arriving at Midway on May 9 and I have a couple questions. I have searched, printed, read, highlighted and compared the previous posts regarding Chicago pizza. Now, I believe that I have narrowed it down to Gino’s East for deep-dish pizza. I have a couple of questions. Obviously, it will take a while for the pizza to arrive – not a problem. My question is: is there usually a wait to get seated as well? I was thinking of maybe arriving around 5-ish on a Wednesday. Is this a good time to go? Do they close between lunch and dinner or are they open the whole day? Also, I understand that sausage is the topping to get – what else should we order on the pizza? I have heard that we should order some apps to tide us over – what would you recommend?
Now for Chicago dogs. I plan on going to Superdawg for a Chicago dog (do all Chicago dogs come with the neon green relish?). It was featured on “A Hot Dog Show” on PBS out here in L.A. and I really liked their story. Also, is it possible to purchase the green relish? How about the sport peppers? I would like to get a Chicago dog elsewhere – what would you recommend? I heard mention of a stand that does very good Chicago dogs, but cannot remember the name. I also just saw Hot Doug’s featured on the Gourmet Magazine show that is now on PBS and they said that they were not going to be able to offer anything made with Fois Gras any longer since the ban is going into effect. I do not think that I am interested in the gourmet dogs he offers – just plain, normal Chicago dogs.
We will have a rental car, so location is not really a problem. We have not determined exactly where we will stay for the first night (the next day we will be leaving for the drive to Wisconsin to see my brother). Any suggestions for something centrally located? Maybe someplace with a decent breakfast place nearby? We plan on taking a boat trip out into the lake – I did a sunset one last time I was there and the Chicago skyline is gorgeous!
Thank you for your assistance!

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  1. Here are a few answers - I can't help that much. :)

    First, welcome to Chicago!

    Gino's East - I don't know about a wait on a Wednesday at 5:00 - I've only ever eaten there on a weekend, and the wait was aboutt 45 minutes - and it's been years since I've been there.

    Chicago Dogs - if you can't get the sport peppers or relish at Superdawg (you can call them and ask - 773/478-7800) you can get them directly from Vienna. You'll find them at http://www.viennabeef.com/.

    Other hot dog stand - could it have been Fluky's (http://www.flukys.com/) - they have the relish and sport peppers too. Or maybe Portillo's?

    Finally, can't help you with a hotel - I live in the suburbs so I've never had a need for one. :

    )

    Hope you enjoy your stay!!!

    1. > Obviously, it will take a while for the pizza to arrive – not a problem.

      If you like, you can order ahead so that it is coming out of the oven shortly after you get there. You'll find the Gino's East menu and location addresses and phone numbers on their website at www.ginoseast.com

      > My question is: is there usually a wait to get seated as well?
      > I was thinking of maybe arriving around 5-ish on a Wednesday.
      > Is this a good time to go?

      Waits can vary. It depends partly on the location, too. The locations near downtown are more likely to be busy around 5 because many people work in the vicinity. But I wouldn't expect too long a wait to be seated at that hour.

      > Do they close between lunch and dinner or are they open the whole day?

      You can find hours for each of Gino's East's 11 locations in the area in their listings on Metromix:
      http://metromix.chicagotribune.com/di...

      > Also, I understand that sausage is the topping to get – what else
      > should we order on the pizza?

      Available ingredients are the typical pizza toppings you find anywhere - mushrooms, onions, pepperoni, sausage, green peppers - as well as some more unusual ones. The one ingredient that is fairly common in Chicago but not typically found elsewhere is spinach. But get whatever sounds good to you. No particular ingredient is a "must have" (or a "faux pas").

      >> We will have a rental car, so location is not really a problem. We have not determined exactly where we will stay for the first night (the next day we will be leaving for the drive to Wisconsin to see my brother). Any suggestions for something centrally located? <<

      I know the Chowhound Team frowns on non-food related advice. Basically, most of the hotels are either (a) in the downtown area (including the Loop, Magnificent Mile/Gold Coast, River North/Streeterville), any of which are centrally located, or (b) in the suburbs, which are often less expensive.

      > Maybe someplace with a decent breakfast place nearby?

      For brunch and breakfast suggestions:
      www.chowhound.com/topics/364403
      www.chowhound.com/topics/369457

      3 Replies
      1. re: nsxtasy

        Thank you both! I truly appreciate your assistance. If you ever come to L.A., I would be happy to reciprocate!! One more question - which Gino's is the one I have to go to?

        1. re: WildSwede

          All the Gino's East locations are basically the same.

          If you've reviewed the pizza topics already, then you're presumably decided on the single-crust pan pizza of Gino's East rather than the double-crust stuffed pizza of Giordano's. If so, Lou Malnati's is another good version. I'm not trying to get into another "which pizza is best" argument, only noting that Lou's is very similar to Gino's, in case Lou's is more conveniently located for you.

          If you have a particular location that you're coming from (like a hotel), we can tell you which Gino's (or Lou's) is closest.

          1. re: nsxtasy

            Haha! What? Plan WHERE we are staying before defining WHAT and WHERE we will be eating? Honestly! ;-) J/K.
            We have not even begun to think about where we are staying yet. First we have to determine what we are going to do and see if we will need to stay in Chicago or drive a little out of the city. I am thinking of going to the Cubs game (have to get to Wrigley Field) if I can cajole my mom into going.

      2. I always stay at the Homewood Suites Downtown. It is nice and close to everything. www.homewoodsuiteschicago.com

        1. I can reply regarding some hot dog spots:

          There is a thread asking Chicago folks about the "top 3 dog stands in Chicago" here on Chowhound.

          I would skip Hot Dougs, and hit some of the more traditional spots, Wieners Circle, Gene & Judes, Super Dawg, and if you are downtown the Portillos.

          Also in my humble opinion the MLB baseball on the S.Side is better, ; )
          and there is a good hot dog stand @ 35th and Union just blocks from Sox Park(where the 2005 World Champs play).

          You also have to try an Italian Beef sandwich when you are in town, in my opinion the Italian Beef & Chicago Style Hot Dog are more "Chicago" than pizza.

          Enjoy your visit to our great city.

          5 Replies
          1. re: swsidejim

            Defintely hit an Italian beef while in town. Go to Al's on Taylor and then after you gorge on that, go across the street for an Italian ice from Mario's and you are in a Chicago food definition of bliss.

            1. re: swsidejim

              I couldn't agree with you more, esp. about MLB on the southside!

              IMO Gino's East pizza is terrible, I'm ashamed when people come to Chicago and go there or to one of those horrifying Uno's places and think they are getting Chicago pizza. Malnati's is good (if inconsistent) and it still tastes like what I remember Chicago deep dish being like when I was a kid.

              And, lbs is right, Al's on Taylor (the ONLY Al's worth going to IMHO) with an Italian ice from Mario's afterward on a hot summer day before a Sox game is Chicago bliss.

              1. re: chigirl71

                Okay, so, should we go to Malnati's instead? What about the Pizzeria Oro that is mentioned below? We just want whatever would be the most authentic specimen of a Chicago deep dish pizza.

                1. re: WildSwede

                  There are two styles of Chicago deep dish pizza. One is the single-crust, pan pizza of Gino's East and Lou Malnati's. The other is the double-crust, "stuffed" pizza of Giordano's, Bacino's, and Edwardo's. Both styles are "authentic".

                  I am amused whenever someone claims that Gino's East is so much better than Malnati's, or Malnati's is so much better than Gino's East, because THEY ARE BASICALLY THE SAME PIZZA. Yes, Gino's crust is yellower, and there are other minor details, but 99 percent of people who like one, will like the other. It's like claiming you love Diet Pepsi and hate Diet Coke (or vice versa). The same is true when choosing among Giordano's, Bacino's, or Edwardo's for stuffed pizza; those, too, are very very similar to each other.

                  So, to answer your question, you can go to Malnati's OR Gino's East (for pan pizza), or Giordano's or Bacino's or Edwardo's (for stuffed pizza). Any one of these will provide an authentic specimen of a Chicago deep dish pizza. And they're all delicious. (My personal favorite is Giordano's, but I like all of them.)

                  All of these chains have many locations in the city and suburbs, listed on their websites:

                  www.loumalnatis.com
                  www.ginoseast.com
                  www.giordanos.com
                  www.bellabacinos.com
                  www.edwardos.com

                  1. re: WildSwede

                    Yes, given a choice between the 2 I would pick Malnati's over Gino's East for deep dish pizza. I haven't tried Pizzeria D'oro so I don't know. Malnati's, IMO, is more authentic and just better pizza.

              2. I like the Sox but you must go to a Cubs game. Everyone I have ever taken falls in love with Wrigley Field and the neighborhood. Uniquely Chicago and a big part of summer. You can stay in Lincoln Park cheaper then downtown, Hawthorne Terrace on Broadway is nice or Days Inn Lincoln Park North on Clark/Divirsey, they just renovated the place. Then jump in a cab or take the Red line to Wrigley or downtown. Also these places are two blocks from the lake, beaches and a ton of fun bars and restaruants. Also you will be around the corner from the famous Wiener Circle.
                I love Hot Doug's, they have really good traditional dogs but also so many other kinds. It is a unique Chicago treat and off the tourist map. The other places mentioned are good choices. Have fun, summer in Chicago is the best.