Chicago is often hailed as the Sausage Capital of America, so it comes as no surprise that the subject of the best hot dogs in Chicago leads to some pretty heated debates amongst passionate locals.
Want to know what to look for in a real Chicago hot dog? Locals claim it must include onions, relish, mustard, spear pickles, sport peppers, tomatoes and, of course, celery salt. Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? It’s quite different from the other coveted dog in the country, the New York-style hot dog.
But, we’re getting sidetracked. We’ve got delicious dogs to devour or at least rank. Not sure where to start your journey of finding the best hot dogs in Chicago? Check out our picks for seven of the best…
Best Hot Dogs In ChicagoHow do these rankings work?
Since 1946, Gene & Jude’s has been serving up some of the best hot dogs in Chicago (the best depending on who you ask). They come with all of the standard toppings and a pile of fries to really round out all of the flavours. We’ll go ahead and make things simple for you…order your dog with everything and make no modifications (that’s pretty frowned upon here). Plus, when the dog’s this good, it doesn’t need any modification.
In terms of classic Chicago hot dog joints, Superdawg is a must as a visitor. In true drive-in fashion, servers wear uniforms as they run dog after dog to tables full of hungry guests looking to indulge in one of the best hot dogs in Chicago. Here, they serve up all-beef franks that are topped with thick pickles and tomatoes plus delicious crinkle-cut fries. Still hungry? Order a “Supershake.”
Locals might disagree, but Portillo’s Hot Dogs is a great place for travellers to sample a Chicago hot dog. And, it’s a great place to indulge in other styles of tasty dogs. Whether you’re craving a chilli cheese hot dog or a Polish-style sausage, they’ve got more variety than just Chicago-style for travellers after some variety. And, you can’t argue that their Chicago-style hot dog is actually super delicious, too.
At Fatso’s, it’s all about the char dog. Unlike some other spots on this list, however, Fatso’s is also pretty well-known for other cheat meal foods like their smash burgers, mac and cheese and creamy, thick milkshakes. Nothing beats those dogs, though. Because they char them they’ve got a bit of a more barbecue-like flavour that tastes like an All-American summer in the suburbs of Chicago.
Have we got you drooling over the idea of a charred dog? Just can’t resist the allure of a smoky frank? Wolfy’s serves up chared hot dogs as well, featuring a Vienna beef char-grilled Polish sausage. It’s actually one of the best places for newbies to dive into Chicago hot dog culture as they do a great job of balancing out the toppings in proportion to the meat and poppyseed bun.
The Chicago Loop lunch crowd heads here for fast, tasty dogs on the daily. Served with thin tomato slices, one crispy pickle spear and a super juicy frank, it’s hard to beat the flavours of the hot dogs here. It’s worth noting that this spot is closed on Saturdays and Sundays, so if you’re travelling to Chicago just to sample the hot dogs, make sure to visit U.B. Dogs during the week.
This walk-up hot dog stand is a must for tourists in Windy City looking for an authentic Chicago hot dog dining experience. They serve a tantalising Vienna beef Chicago-style dog with grilled tomatoes. And, they’re open 24 hours a day, making it easily one of the best spots in the city for late-night cravings of Chicago’s hottest “dish.” Order the full meal with fries and it won’t even cost you $5. How’s that for budget travel?