Beyond the Chicago Dog: 8 Haute Hot Dogs We Love in Chicago

[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

As we've mentioned a few dozen times on the site, Chicago loves its hot dogs. But while the city is associated with one particular style, which seems to mandate all kinds of rules and regulations, in practice we're more of an equal opportunity hot dog admirer. Honestly, we'll try pretty much anything on top of a sausage—just so long as it's good. That's especially true now, as chefs around town have decided to experiment with the hot dog, topping it with ingredients we'd never even consider as possibilities.

We probably have Hot Doug's to thank for all this. Every week, the encased meat emporium in Avondale puts out a collection of inventively topped sausages, and throngs of people wait in line to taste them. We are certainly not immune, having once tried every single dish on the menu. So why didn't it make this list? Well, if you peruse the menu, you'll notice there is only one hot dog on the menu, and it's a Chicago dog. The rest of the menu is made up of all manner of other kinds of sausages, from bratwurst to wild rice and asiago bison. But there's little doubt that the freewheeling nature of Hot Doug's inspired other stands to throw the rulebook out.

Of course, not every crazy hot dog works. For every implausibly satisfying creation, we've suffered through an unbalanced mess. Here's a list of the best Non-Chicago style hot dogs we've been able to track down. But we're still on the hunt. So if you know if any other hot dogs we need to try, let us know in the comments.