It was clear from the moment I moved here that Chicago cared about its hot dogs more than any other place I'd ever been. And after five years of searching, here are my ten favorite Chicago-style hot dogs.
'Jimmy's Red Hots' on Serious Eats
When it comes to hot dogs, Chicagoans have opinions. We care where they are made, who serves them, and what tops them. We will drive all over the city to satisfy a craving, passing lesser stands that just aren't quite good enough.
Here's the thing: Most people think that the Chicago dog has an inflexible formula, one set down from on high, which mandates a certain seven toppings that must be included or the whole deal is off. But the reality I've encountered over the many years I've been searching for the best hot dog in Chicago is far more varied and interesting. Here's the guide to make sense of it all.
Back in 2009, I set out on a simple quest to find the best places to eat in Chicago while standing up. I didn't come close to covering all of the scene in those short six months, and now with a whole new crop of food truck pioneers on the scene, I'll have no trouble uncovering more options. But first I thought it would be best to start off with a look back at the best of Standing Room Only to showcase where I've already feasted.
"The Depression Dog is a unique Chicago treat full of history and terrific for anyone who doesn't want a salad-topped hot dog." Past Weeks' Dogs Papaya Dog24-Hour DogSlaw DogPuka DogThe Philly ComboTijuana Dogs When we think of a Chicago hot dog, we normally think of the classic dragged-through-the-garden jumbo dog piled high with various vegetables and neon green relish on a poppy seed bun. But a few old-school hot dog stands still serve what may very well be the original Chicago dog, what some refer to as the "Minimalist" or "Depression Dog." A Depression Dog features a regular-sized (eight per pound) natural casing all-beef frank instead of the jumbo (six per pound) dogs that often come on a standard Chicago...
Note: This post marks the debut of Nick Kindelsperger's Standing Room Only series, in which the author visits Chicago's best seatless eateries. Have at it, Nick. "The best seat is probably in your own car." Why start the column at...