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Hot Doug's and Franks 'n' Dogs

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Will be in town mid-June and want to go to Hot Doug's because I have heard about that place for years and have never had the opportunity to go. I've checked the site, and there are lots of warnings for expecially long lines on Fridays and Saturdays, so I would like to avoid those days, but that seems to be the only days they make the duck fat fries. Also, it doesn't seem like it's convenient to the transit system, and I won't have a car. We're staying at Embassy Suites on State, which (I think) is River North area, and I'll be using the trains to get around during the day while he's at a conference. Estimated cab fare?

I was wondering if it was worth all of the trouble to get there or if there was something similar more conveniently located.

Also, I saw a tv special on Chicago food and Andrew Z was gung-ho on Franks 'n' Dogs. Opinions on that ???

Need suggestions.

TIA

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  1. It isn't exactly convenient via public transportation but it is pretty straightforward. From the River North area, you could take the Red line North to the Belmont stop and then hop on a Westbound #77 bus (Belmont Ave. - towards Belmont/Cumberland), taking it to California Ave. That leaves you ~3 blocks south of Hot Doug's. Buses are well-marked and usually have an LED display to alert you to upcoming stops. That trip should take you ~45 minutes. Personally, I don't think the duck fat fries are any better than his regular fries but if you have your heart set on them, then just be ready for a long line. The earlier you go (or later), the better, as far as lines go. Depending on traffic, you're looking at 15-20 minutes in a cab, too -- I don't know how that converts to cab fare but cabs are relatively inexpensive here. You may have a hard time flagging a cab when you leave HD, however. Doug's is also cash only (and I don't recall if there's nearby ATM).

    Franks 'n Dawgs is also pretty damn good, especially considering it's much easier to eat there. The buns are great, better than what Doug uses, but I find that FnD's sausages are a little much. You get a decent sausage covered in a pile of toppings. Not quite as balanced as what you can find at Hot Doug's -- but, again, it's still a worthwhile destination and doesn't require nearly the amount of work it takes to get there.

    5 Replies
    1. re: danimalarkey

      Thanks. That's great info to have. I already copied the directions and pasted them in my itinerary. Good info on the fries, too. I might just go on a weekday and off-peak hours and skip the duck fries so I don't have to fight with hubbie and get him to stand in a line on the weekend.

      1. re: JanetLong

        I just realized I had a typo regarding the bus line -- now it's fixed! Update the directions accordingly!

      2. re: danimalarkey

        Or, take the Blue Line to Belmont for a much shorter bus ride.Like others have said, the duck fries are not any better than their regular fries, but it is a brilliant marketing tool.

        1. re: delk

          True, but then the OP has to travel down south to Jackson to transfer or otherwise head West via Grand or Chicago and pick up the Blue line there. Not sure if that's any better, all things considered.

          1. re: delk

            The Blue Line to California would be faster and the California/Kedzie bus stops across the street from Hot Doug's. Getting from River North to the Blue line as cited by danimalarkey is the problem.

        2. TV travel shows about food rarely reflect a comparative restaurant analysis of any value. It's more a reflection on the producer's idea of what makes for a good show. Sometimes they'll get a local to guide the host but even then it's the guide's subjective view.

          If somebody asked me where to go for Chicago's best Neapolitan pizza I'd say Spacca Napoli. They might ask "isn't Great Lake widely recognized as one of the seven wonders of the pizza world" and I'd say, "yeah, but I prefer Spacca Napoli."

          2 Replies
          1. re: ferret

            Totally understood. So where would you go for dawgs? I've already planned a trip to Franks for Lyonnaise fries and a brunch or salmon for Saturday while in the Lincoln Park area. Doug's is still on the possibilities list, but I'm thinking I'll make it there. Do you have any opinions on the 2 places?

            1. re: ferret

              I'm not sure what your point is, but I would say Great Lake.