My 11 Favorite Chicago Area Hot Dog Stands

charcheddarpolish.jpg

A Char Cheddar Polish on French Bread from my favorite place

Not coincidentally, I don't say this lightly:

Chicago has the greatest hot dogs in the world.

Certainly, as an area native and near lifelong resident, I fully admit to being partial to that which I am most familiar. But from Pink's in LA to Nathan's in New York--and  numerous places in between--I have tried many non-Chicago hot dogs and they just don't measure up to a great Vienna beef red hot.

Although, even in Chicago, I tend to prefer Polish Sausages to actual hot dogs, and that's what I typically order at most of the stands included in my list of favorites. As shown above, a char cheddar Polish on French bread, with mustard, grilled onions, relish and a pickle, is absolute heaven and should I ever be in a position to order a "last meal," that would likely be it (assuming I still have teeth).

Before I get to my choices, let me note that they are primarily based on the taste of the hot dog or Polish, with some inexact factoring of how much I like to visit that particular place, and perhaps the quality of the French fries. Although almost every hot dog stand serves several items besides hot dogs and Polish sausages, my picks here do not cover other menu choices or the breadth thereof. These are simply the places at which I most enjoy having a Polish sausage or hot dog.

Before I get to "My 11 Favorite Chicago Area Hot Dog Stands" in the slide show below, I'll first give you 11 Honorable Mention choices. To the best of my knowledge, all of the places cited are still open, but I have noted that a couple would-be honorable mentions have closed (Fredhot & Fries - Glenview; Scott Dogs - Lake Villa).

Honorable Mention:

Byron's - Chicago
Wiener and Still Champion - Evanston
Wiener Take All - Buffalo Grove
Wolfy's - Chicago
Flip's - Glen Ellyn
Mustard's Last Stand - Evanston
Murphy's - Chicago
Portillos - Numerous Locations
Irving's - Wilmette
Jimmy's - Chicago
Fluky's - Niles (inside the Walmart on Touhy)

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  • I've never seen the Wiener's Circle during the day or sober. I owe you a thank you for the photo.

  • You didn't mention Wolfy's. They opened a place in Northbrook a couple of years ago, but they now have a banner saying that it is becoming something else.

    With regard to Little Louie's (better known as Le Petit Louis), you have to differentiate between when the old guy owned it and its menu consisted of old cardboard pizza rounds on the wall, and after the guys from Highland Park took it over and it became overpriced and yuppified.

    Cookers' I don't like, because of the "mandatory fries" included in the price, and they were greasy. I don't think I have been there since the Multiplex closed, so it has been at least 6 years.

    Also, there used to be Fluky's around, but the best I can tell, now only in a Walmart. Their breakfast was better than their dogs, and I liked their dogs.

    Yelp says fRed Hots is closed. I guess with Mike North no longer promoting it... They had posted "Elk Dog...Market Price." I asked what it was, and he said "Elk." I said, "I mean the market price," which was $8.75. BTW, you can get that and similar game dogs at Cabela's in Hammond, but I didn't see what the big deal was.

  • You forgot Jimmy's at Pulaski and Grand. The neighborhood can be sketchy, but the dogs & fries never are.
    --JRs

  • holy $hit, look at little island. it hasnt changed in 30 yrs. do burnouts still congregate inside playing defender and eating fries?

  • Born and raised Chicagoan, I ate off the hotdog carts that used to roll the streets in the 60's. REAL Chicago dogs, choice of bunch or roll tamales, celery salt; the whole kit-n-kaboodle. There's a little joint on 63rd and Keeler in Chicago called Windy City Hot Dogs. For ninety-nine cents you can go back to my Vienna yesteryear.

  • You live north, and you have two Skokie places and an Evanston place. Maybe a little region bias in there? Perhaps?

    Patio in the Italian Village on Taylor should have at least made honorable mention.

    http://chicago.menupages.com/restaurants/the-patio/

  • In reply to gpldan:

    You pegged him GP. Skyway Dog House 95th Ewing Av. Awesome dogs and polish. In the Vienna hall of fame! Cross just over the state line into Whiting and you hit Arnies. Old time classic stand with a counter and 6 stools.

  • Fred's closing was a huge loss to Glenview. Stash's in HP is also a great North Shore institution. They have the best char dogs.

  • Who remembers "Sammys" in Chicago back in the sixties and early Seventies real hot dogs.

  • Yea "Sammys" was located on division near clark.

  • It woulda been nice if you published the addresses of the places. As it is, this is obviously a north side centric view point written by someone who apparently thinks the world ends at Madison Street. I'm guessing the reviewer doesn't own a car...

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