It seems that every major city has its own iconic street food. New York has thin crust pizza. In Philly, it’s the cheesesteak. And in Chicago, locals and tourists alike line up for Chicago dogs.
Not your average hot dog, Chicago dogs are a very specific assembly of ingredients. The base is an all-beef hot dog nestled in a steamed poppy seed bun. The dog is then topped with yellow mustard, chopped white onions, neon green relish, a dill pickle spear, a few slices of tomato, pickled sport peppers and a dash of celery salt.
Ketchup-lovers, take note: many establishments see ketchup as an insult to a Chicago dog and will not put it on even if you ask, but do offer ketchup bottles so you can sauce your own.
With more than 1,800 hot dog stands in the city, it can get a little overwhelming. Here are three of our favorites.
Hot Doug’s Even if you head here early on a weekday, be prepared to wait in line. Known for their gourmet dogs (think: foie gras and sauternes duck sausage with truffle aioli, foie gras mousse and fleur de sel), Hot Doug’s also has a really good Chicago dog. Head here on the weekend for duck fat fries. Cash only. 3324 North California Ave.
Portillo’s This Chicago-based chain started serving up dogs in 1963. Over the years it’s expanded both its menu and its locations (with more than three dozen restaurants from Illinois to Arizona). 100 W Ontario St.
Chubby Weiners All jokes aside, the name here has two meanings. The owners named the stand after their late uncle, who was nicknamed Chub. Additionally, they sell a “Chubby Dog” that features an extra large hot dog with all the normal trimmings. We’ve tried the Chubby dog, but prefer the balance and perfection of the original Chicago dog served here. 4652 N. Western Ave.
photo credit: adactio, flickr