I love hot dogs. They were a staple of my childhood. Hot dogs for lunch and dinner. A large pot of beanie-weenie (baked beans with pieces of hot dog in it for those who are unfamiliar with this delightful dish). Hot dogs on the grill. Hot dogs boiled in a big pot of water. Yummy. As I have grown older, my taste for hot dogs has turned a bit more sophisticated. Now, I have to say that there are few things more delicious and more perfectly balanced than a great Chicago-style hot dog. Almost all of the food groups are present on one plate.
In the time that I have lived in Chicago, I have found three places that make a great Chicago dog. And yet, the dogs at all of these places have their own taste.
Wolfy’s – Ryan and I pass this place frequently on our way to or from a Target shopping trip. It’s a place that Ryan discovered because his dad saw it on a tv show. It is definitely a great place for any of your basic grilled fast foods. They’ve got burgers, cheeseburgers, crispy fries, Philly cheesesteak sandwiches but they also have a great classic Chicago-style hot dog. Ask for everything on your dog but be prepared because the peppers that they throw on the dog are really spicy. I get the peppers because I like some of the pepper juice to soak in with the other toppings but I remove them once I take a bite and am quickly reminded just how much of a bite these peppers add.
Superdawg – This is a great place not just because of the drive-in set-up of the place. The milkshakes are delicious. The fries are crisp. The dawgs are great! Superdawg adds a little something different to the classic dog recipe as they have a pickled tomato instead of the normal red tomato. I feel that this is a great touch especially during the winter when sometimes you really want a hot dog but you know that the tomato on top is going to taste bland as it is way out of season. I have heard from some people that they feel it is overpriced or is only popular because of the kitschy-ness. I have to politely disagree. After a long weekend during the summer, there really is nothing quite like pulling up and hearing that “Hi-ya!” when you press the button to order. Plus, Puck is a big fan of the Superdawg with nothing on it and the fries.
Hot Doug’s – So, when I go to Hot Doug’s I do usually make sure that I am there on a Friday or Saturday for an order of duck fat fries. And I usually order one of their crazy-over-the-top dogs. However, they also make a great Chicago-style dog. On one of my birthdays, Ben and I went to Hot Doug’s for lunch. We each got two dogs and split an order of duck fat fries and a corn dog. (Quit judging. We were hungry.) The fries and corn dog were both good. I’m sure that whatever weekly-special-dog that I ordered was tasty. However, what I still remember as being really really good was the Chicago-style dog. And if you’ve only got a couple bucks in your pocket, it really is a great deal as some of Hot Doug’s dogs can be a bit pricey (understandably, since they are using amazing ingredients for their specialty dogs).
So, there you have it. If you’re looking for a delicious hot dog on the northside of Chicago, I highly highly recommend you check out one of all three of these. And if you’ve got another to add to my list, please let me know. I’m always on the lookout for a new favorite spot.