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All About Chicago

Chicago Dog – A Twist On An American Food Staple

Chicago is not just known for their deep dish pizza, but also for their Chicago Dog!

What Is The Chicago Dog?!

Th Chicago hot dogs are topped with chopped onions, mustard, relish, tomato slices, a dill pickle, peppers, and celery salt on a poppyseed bun. The vast majority of the population in Chicago frown upon putting ketchup on their hot dogs, so much so that they won’t even have it for you to use.

The origin of the Chicago dog (or Chicago style dog) dates back to 1929 when a fast food restaurant called Fluky’s started selling what was, at the time, called a “Depression Sandwich”. It had everything on it that the Chicago dog has today, just without the addition of lettuce. The Drexler Family (who owned Fluky’s) still runs a stand at a Wal-Mart, while the last real location changed their name to U Lucky Dawg and is run by someone else.

chicago style hot dog

The Chicago dog has different variations today, but it is almost always made with hot dogs from two hot dog manufacturers in Chicago, Red Hot Chicago and Vienna Beef. Some places will add lettuce or cucumbers, not use the poppyseed buns or celery salt, or add fries in place of the dill pickle. But mostly, the dogs are boiled in water or steamed, although some stands will cook the dogs on a grill, known as “char-dogs”.

There are so many hot dog places in Chicago that they outnumber 3 other big fast food chains combined. However, we are only listing the five best Chicago dog locations.

Best Chicago Dog Restaurants:

#1. Portillo’s

Started as “The Dog House” in 1963 by Dick Portillo, this restaurant has a main location in Chicago that has branched out to Arizona, California, Florida and Wisconsin. Dick sold the company but is still somewhat involved in the business.

portillo's Chicago dog

The restaurant serves a regular hot dog (which is the Chicago dog) and other kinds of dogs, as well as sandwiches, burgers, soups, salads, and more. They also have their famous chocolate cake shake where they put a slice of their chocolate cake right into your shake!


#2. The Wieners Circle

This hot dog stand opened in 1983 and is popular because of its Maxwell Street Polish (a Polish sausage with mainly mustard and grilled onions), cheese fries, and burgers. The char dog with “the works” is basically a Chicago dog but is grilled instead of steamed.

employee yelling -  the weiners circle - best chicago dog

They are also known for shouting matches between customers and employees during late hours. Many drunken pedestrians eat here after their nights of partying at bars, and the language can get quite foul on some nights. Despite this, the employees receive nice tips, making it a desirable place to work. If you’re the right kind of person, that is.


#3. Wrigley Stadium

Chicago hot dog at Wrigley

Going to a game? Then you might as well get a Chicago dog while you’re at Wrigley Field, although they do have other great foods there as well. However, they’ve made this version easier to eat so you don’t have to deal with too much of a mess, as everything is nicely tucked in around the hot dog. Here, they are called “Wrigley Dogs”.


#4. Superdawg

hot dogs at Superdawg

This drive-in stand was opened in 1948, is still family operated and was featured on Food Network’s Unwrapped and Emeril Live. They have carhop service and is one of the last original drive-ins left in the U.S. Their “Superdawg” is an altered version of the Chicago dog, with mustard, Spanish onions, a hot pepper, dill pickle, and tangy piccalilli. They also have burgers, fries, sides, and shakes.


#5. Gene & Jude’s

hot dog with fries at gene's and jude's in chicago


Gene & Jude’s was founded in 1946 by Gene Mormino, a city worker at the time, and has been operated by his son since 2004. This stand only makes hot dogs, tamales, and fries, and does not use nor have any ketchup. Its Depression Dog is like a Chicago dog but does not have tomatoes or a pickle, and instead has fries on top. It has been featured on “Every Day with Rachael Ray” and Serious Eats, a popular food blog, in which it was titled the best hot dog in America.