Lemme be perfectly clear: I don’t care if you put ketchup on your hot dog. I don’t even care if you put catsup on your hot dog. Or cat’s blood. You, sir or madame, whoever you may be, can put whatever the heck you want on your dog. I’ve lived in Chicago my whole life, I know the rules, but I don’t care.
With that said, ketchup or not, here are five of the best hot dog joints in the Chicago-land area. Don’t see your favorite on here? Then why dontchya whine about it!
No, seriously, we got a comments section for a reason.
3324 N. California
Chicago, Il 60618
There are so many choices! Literally. Sure, you got your standard Vienna dog, but Hot Doug’s doesn’t stop there. They’ve got a whole cadre of encased meats to fit any tastes. Like the Anna Kendrick, also known as the Fire Dog, previously known as the Keira Knightley, Jennifer Garner and the Britney Spears – perfect for those who wants something spicy (obviously). They got corn dogs (the Dave Pound), they got brats that are soaked in beer (the Paul Kelly), and they got a list of specials that changes daily. Right now, on October 18th, 2011, their special is a Mediterranean lamb sausage. Sure, I’ll try it.
Hot Doug’s also gained some fame over their use of foie gras (fattened duck liver) in some of their sausages. When the city made foie gras illegal, Hot Doug’s screamed, “revolucion!” and fought the system. How enchanting!
6363 N. Milwaukee Avenue
Chicago, Il 60646
How can you not love Superdawg? They’ve got the giant, cartoon hot dogs on top of their drive-in-like location that are bound to bring out the happy kid in any curmudgeon. Just don’t imagine you’re eating those lovable characters as you actually chow down on one of their great dogs. That’ll probably scar you, or cause at least a little damage to your psyche, or something. Anyways, stop by this great fast food restaurant for great decor and food!
Gene & Jude’s
2720 River Road
River Grove, IL 60171-1325
Gene & Jude’s Facebook
Remember that rant I had about ketchup at the beginning of this article? Yeah, well, forget about it for this spot. Gene & Jude’s DEFINITELY cares about ketchup. They hate it. They do not have it on the premises, and if you ask for it, two guys (unless you’re unlucky, then three guys), will jump the counter and dispense a good, old fashioned pounding on you.
Just joking, they won’t beat you up.
Still, don’t ask for ketchup. They got great dogs, but they won’t let you sully ’em with anything made from tomatoes.
My advice? Bring your own ketchup (for your fries, they got great fries, by the way), and keep it in your car. There’s not a whole lot of room to eat inside anyways. Just, uh, don’t let anyone see ya with the contraband.
Pluto’s Beef & Hot Dogs
10341 South Cicero Avenue
Oak Lawn, IL
It’s a trek to go that far Southwest, but everyone in Oak Lawn agrees, Pluto’s is great for, well, everything. Dogs especially. They don’t only make amazing Chicago style dogs though, they have great Italian Beef and burgers. One of those places where it’s hard to find anything on the menu that’s bad.
2501 North Damen Avenue
Chicago, IL 60647-2101
Want a good hot dog? Just go right to the source. The majority of the dogs you eat are Vienna, so why not visit Vienna Beef’s factory? The public is allowed to eat in their cafeteria, so stop by for lunch sometime, they’ll be happy to see ya. The best part about visiting the cafeteria is that you can eat one of their tasty dogs, then buy a bunch frozen to make at home. Or, if you’re lookin’ for something different, maybe you’ll want to buy a gigantic bag of bagel dogs instead. Or! And this is a stretch, a giant bag of mini bagel dogs. Just, you know, get whatever you want.