THE CHICAGO DOG.
One of the many reasons to live in Chicago revolves around the Chicago Hot Dog. Make a date sometime today to treat yourself to your fav or try one or all of the big five listed below. If you don't do it today, National Hot Dog month continues through July 31. However, we in Chicago, don't need any extra encouragement to eat a hot dog, we celebrate our Chicago dogs every day.
BEFORE YOU DIG IN.
Just to be sure you know what to look for and will be able to spot an impostor dog, let's review the necessary requirements for a Chicago Style Dog. First off, a Chicago Style Dog is never boiled. It is steamed to approximately 170 to 180 degrees. Secondly, it is served in a poppy seed bun. Third, the dog must be all beef and usually that means Vienna Beef Hot Dogs which comprise about 80% of hot dogs served in Chicago. Fourth, make sure your dog has snap. In other words, when you bite into your dog you should notice a slight resistance from the casing, this is snap.
SEVEN RULES FOR A PROPERLY DRESSED DOG. (or putting on the dog).
A Chicago dog must be dressed with the following toppings and in this order. After the dog is correctly placed in the bun, add:
1. Yellow mustard.
2. Bright "Neon" Green relish.
3. Fresh chopped onions.
4. Two tomato wedges.
5. A pickle spear, not slice.
6. Two to three sport peppers.
7. A dash of celery salt.
THE BIG FIVE.
To say that the five hot dog stands that are listed below are the best is to ask for a fight. So let me say that the following are perhaps the best known and most widely named hot dog "joints" in the city. Show Me Chicago would love to hear about your choices in the comments section below or at firstname.lastname@example.org
THE WIENER'S CIRCLE.
Take a drive or walk down Clark St. and you'll see the Wiener's Circle bright red picnic tables
in front that seem to beckon you inside to sample their dogs. The place is known for their Chicago style dogs and cheesy fries served with a dash of verbal abuse. It is especially popular with the late night crowd as it is one of the few spots where you can get something to eat as late as 5:00a.m. 2622 N. Clark St. 773 477 7444.
BYRONS HOT DOG HAUS.
This popular Wrigleyville haunt offers the traditional Chicago style dog minus the verbal abuse. The prices are reasonable and sizes generous. Their onion rings make for a nice side. Parking is relatively easy in their free lot. 1017 West Irving Park Road. 773 281 7474.
Head north on Milwaukee to this old-timey Chicago favorite that's been turning out dogs since 1948. Although you'll be given a slew of choices, stick with the traditional style Chicago dog and you'll be a happy camper. Sit inside in the traditional "shelf" seating area or use the vintage drive-in carhop service. 6363 N. Milwaukee Avenue, 773 763 0660.
Fluky's bills itself as the hot dog place for the stars. Could Jim Belushi, Jay Leno, John Candy, Danny Aiello of Dan Aykroyd have ever been wrong? It's been around forever--since 1929-- when it opened its doors on the corner of Maxwell and Halsted Streets. Their current location in Niles is just north of the city. 5630 W. Touhy Avenue, Niles. 847 588 3889.
Portillo's is a national chain of restaurants that Show Me Chicago is including because, number one they have great hot dogs and number two, they are a true Chicago success story. The one city and 30 suburban locations are worth a visit, not just for their Chicago style hot dogs, but for their interesting decor. Dick Portillo, the founder, is especially fond of Chicago history as you will see in many of the locals. There are gangster themed restaurants, along with 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's and 60's themes.
Portillo's Chicago success story: Founder Dick Portillo was born at 1333 West Van Buren
in Chicago. From there he moved with his family to a government-subsidized housing project that became part of Cabrini Green. After graduating from Argo Community High School and serving in the Marines, Portillo opened a humble hot dog stand in a 6' x 12' trailer in Villa Park in 1963. This was the start for a business that has spread throughout Chicago and across the U.S. 100 W. Ontario, plus 30 suburban locations. 312 587 8910.
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