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.
'portillo's' on Serious Eats
River North, the neighborhood just north of the Chicago River, has no shortage of exceptional restaurants. But eating cheaply here is a totally different prospect, one that requires planning and some serious detective skills.
We gathered together a mix of new and old delicacies, which should help get you in the holiday spirit, no shivering on the L platform required.
Of my favorite dishes you can find at Portillo's, none makes less sense than the Grilled Tuna Sandwich ($4.99). After all, this is a glorified hot dog stand, so while I could excuse a fried fish sandwich or something like that, a thick slab of tuna feels off. Turns out I was wrong.
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.
Portillo's is a chain, but it's a great one. I've been wanting to say that for while, because its name comes up often on the site when discussing street food in Chicago, and while that could be because it has numerous locations—including an especially prominent one in River North—the mentions are mostly due to the surprisingly consistent and occasionally excellent 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.
We haven't met many people who don't love a great french fry, and here in Chicago, there are a ton of places to choose from. We scoured the city to compile this list of 10 favorite fry sources. They range from sweet potato fries to foie gras fries to the more classic, skin-on ones.