The Beauty of the Chicago Dog


There really is no comparison to the famous Chicago hot dog. Because they are so ubiquitous here, I don’t give them much thought since I can pick one up at any time. It’s just one of those things that you don’t miss until you can’t get it. But then – you get that craving and you must have it and you must have it now!

The Chicago dog is very specific – there is not a lot of leeway when having the Chicago dog. First and foremost, the dog must be a Vienna Beef dog. No other brand is allowed. Kosher Best? – no. David Berg? – no. Nathan’s? Fuggedaboudit. Vienna Beef and Vienna Beef only. Second, the dog must be nestled in a fresh, steamed poppy seed bun. Stale buns are a big no no.

Here are the rest of the ingredients, in order. No substitutions!
1. Yellow mustard
2. Bright green relish
3. Fresh chopped onion
4. Two tomato wedges
5. Kosher pickle spear
6. Two sport peppers
7. A dash of celery salt

…and for God’s sake – no fucking ketchup! What the hell – are you five years old?

There are hundreds, no, probably thousands of hot dog shacks in the Chicagoland area, so naming the best dog would be silly. As long as the above rules and regulations are abided by, they are good in my book. Some famous ones: Fluky’s, Frankly Yours, Demon Dogs, Franks for the Memories, Gold Coast Dogs, Little Louie’s (home of the first Chicago dog I ever had in Northbrook, IL), Weiner’s Circle. They are all awesome.

The only sour note? I know I am probably commiting sacrilege by saying this, but I have a problem with world famous Superdawg on the northwest side. I know they have been run by the same people since 1948, and it is a fact that they are a Chicago institutuion. But, they don’t use Vienna Beef dogs, and they put a piccalilli of green tomatoes instead of two slices of red tomato and no celery salt. Therefore I cannot put them in the same category with a traditional Chicago dog. Sorry Maurie & Flaury. It’s just not right.

If you’ve never had a chicago dog, or if you moved away and miss your dogs – Portillo’s will come to the rescue and ship them to you for a mere $50. 

I think I know what I have to do for lunch today…

4 thoughts on “The Beauty of the Chicago Dog

  1. Great post! My soon-to-be-2 son LOVES Superdawg when we go visit Grandma and Grandpa in Chicago. I grew up in the Chicago ‘burbs and LOVE a good Chicago Hot Dog. Now that I am in MN, there are 2 (YES, ONLY TWO!) great places for a Chicago dog here in the Twin Cities. I miss all the dog joints you have!

  2. I’ve been working my way down the list of iconic chicago grub each time my buddies come up from texas for a visit.

    Naturally, we went for deep dish pizza first, which completely blew them away.

    Later, per your excellent recent post, Al’s #1 Beef on Ontario….blew them away again.

    No question that the chi. dog and also ribs with tangy mumbo sauce are slated for future consumption by the visitors. No doubt they will enjoy them as much as I do the tex-mex food down in san antone.

  3. Just got a shipment 2 days ago from my brother in Chicago and the Portillo label dogs are made by Vienna for them, all natural casing and perfect!

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