It was clear from the moment I moved here that Chicago cared about its hot dogs more than any other place I'd ever been. And after five years of searching, here are my ten favorite Chicago-style hot dogs.
'Superdawg' on Serious Eats
When it comes to hot dogs, Chicagoans have opinions. We care where they are made, who serves them, and what tops them. We will drive all over the city to satisfy a craving, passing lesser stands that just aren't quite good enough.
Going to Superdawg and not ordering the eponymous offering (which still rates as my favorite in town) is much like going to Egypt and not seeing the pyramids.
When visiting a new city, I feel like I'm always caught in the that strange middle ground of wanting to sample the iconic local food specialties, while simultaneously avoiding the kind of restaurants that prey on my naivety and take all my money. These are the places that that offer an unmistakable glimpse at Chicago, while also dishing out great food.
Here's the thing: Most people think that the Chicago dog has an inflexible formula, one set down from on high, which mandates a certain seven toppings that must be included or the whole deal is off. But the reality I've encountered over the many years I've been searching for the best hot dog in Chicago is far more varied and interesting. Here's the guide to make sense of it all.
Back in 2009, I set out on a simple quest to find the best places to eat in Chicago while standing up. I didn't come close to covering all of the scene in those short six months, and now with a whole new crop of food truck pioneers on the scene, I'll have no trouble uncovering more options. But first I thought it would be best to start off with a look back at the best of Standing Room Only to showcase where I've already feasted.
Superdawg is a fast-food fantasy land unlike anything else in Chicago. It's an honest-to-goodness drive-in with car hops, neon lights, and mascots (their names are Maurie & Flaurie) that seem to greet you from the road. Open since 1948, it has been mentioned often and loudly as one of the best Chicago dogs in the city. But I had my doubts. They break nearly every one of my Chicago hot dog rules.
Photograph from roboppy on Flickr New York food critic Alan Richman should not be writing about Chicago hot dogs. But, that's what happened in his GQ piece last week, as we've previously mentioned. Richman swooped into the Windy City,...
Photograph from roboppy on Flickr GQ columnist Alan Richman hit what his Chicago hot dog-loving buddy called the dozen best franks in that hot dog-crazed town, but he didn't seem to love any. In fact, after reading his story...