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6 great places for a Chicago-style Hot Dog

You won’t have to look far to find hot dogs in Chicago, but here are some of the best classic Chicago dogs, as well as a few new spins on an old favorite.

Chicago is a city on the go, a place where life moves at a faster pace. To fit in with the rhythm of the city, the “street food,” of food trucks and stands, is popular. The city’s most famous food is the Chicago-style hotdog, which features a unique mix of toppings. 

One of the city’s most famous food is the Chicago-style hotdog. Photo: ShutterstockFood expert Ashok Selvam, a writer and senior editor at Eater Chicago (Chicago.eater.com), a site dedicated to reporting on all things related to Chicago food, explains how a Chicago dog is assembled. 

“There are a lot of toppings, but the selections aren’t arbitrary. It all works together cohesively,” Selvam says. “There are variants, but the normal toppings are onions (raw or grilled), sliced tomatoes, pickled relish, pickle spear, mustard, pickled pepper and a dash of celery salt. The celery salt is what makes the whole engine hum collectively.” 

One thing you won’t find on a Chicago dog is ketchup.

“Ketchup ruins the profile of a Chicago hot dog. It’s overwhelming.” Selvam explains. “There are pockets of Chicago where you will be ridiculed for ordering ketchup. You’re less likely to make friends. Ketchup is pushed off as a condiment for children who don’t know any better.”

But what makes the Chicago dog such a beloved treat? Selvam says there are several reasons.

“It’s an item people from all walks of life can enjoy,” Selvam says. “It’s affordable and very satisfying. It can also be customized to individual’s tastes. Most Americans have childhood memories of hot dogs as it was a cheap staple of many families kitchens.” 

One thing you won’t find on a Chicago dog is ketchup. Photo: Shutterstock

Selvam says the best Chicago dogs can be found at Hot Doug’s, which closed its storefront location but still has a stand in Wrigley Field, where hot dogs pair well with a baseball game. Selvam says a good, classic Chicago-style dog can also be found at the Superdawg drive-in restaurants and you can get a more modern take at Lola’s Coney Island, which features a Chicago dog as well as a Detroit-style hot dog…but that’s a different story. 
 

Dog Haus Biergarten Lincoln Park

The beer garden has a great location in Lincoln Park, which stretches alongside Lake Michigan. They have lots of varieties of hot dogs, sausages and hamburgers, as well as locally made craft beer.

Dog Haus Biergarten

2464 N. Lincoln Ave, Chicago

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Photo: Scott Thompson

Lola’s Coney Island

This new restaurant is owned by a Detroit native, who shows his skills, serving Detroit, Chicago and New York-style dogs. Try them all to see which is best!

Lola’s Coney Island

2858 W. Chicago Ave, Chicago

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Allium

If you’re feeling like a fancier environment than your average street corner stand, Allium is a top dining destination for “contemporary midwestern.” While most street dogs cost just a few dollars, Allium has a $19-dollar hot dog on the menu.

Allium

120 E. Delaware Pl, Chicago

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Photo: Scott Thompson

Superdawg Drive-in

This classic drive-in diner has been around since 1948. It’s famous for the statues of cartoon hot dog characters on the roof and their classic Chicago dog. They have a second location in Wheeling, Illinois.

Superdawg

6363 N. Milwaukee Ave, Chicago

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Hot G Dawg

Has a good variety of sausages, including a Guinness beer brat, Santa Fe chicken sausage and a vegetarian option.

Hot G Dawg

5009 N. Clark St, Chicago

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Fatso’s Last Stand

Serves a great Chicago dog, chili dogs, veggie dogs, burgers, fried shrimp, mac and cheese and deep-fried pickle chips.

Fatso’s Last Stand

2258 W. Chicago Ave, Chicago

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