No ketchup? No problem. Chicago is a hot dog town, and we pile 'em high with sliced tomatoes, raw onions, pickle spears, sport peppers, mustard and celery salt. Whether you're grabbing a quick bite from one of the city’s renowned hot dog joints or looking for a fancier take at a restaurant, here's what to order when you get there.
Hot dog buns at The Bakery at Fat Rice
Leave it to the culinary wizards at Fat Rice to turn an iconic Chicago classic on its head. One of the highlights of The Bakery at Fat Rice, located a couple doors down from the main restaurant in Logan Square, is the Chicago-style hot dog bun, which takes all the staple elements of the dog and turns it inside out. Made with chopped up pieces of Vienna Beef hot dogs enrobed in Portuguese sweet dough, the pastry is flecked with neon-green relish, celery salt, poppy seeds, tomatoes, onions and mustard. There’s also a solitary sport pepper in the middle.
2951 W. Diversey Ave.; 773-661-9544
Sterling Service hot dog at Tortoise Supper Club
Few hot dogs in Chicago are as decadent as the version served at Tortoise Supper Club. Borrowing a page from summer state fairs, the restaurant’s Sterling Service hot dog features an all-beef dog wrapped in bacon and deep-fried. Along with a couple of Chicago-style touches like yellow mustard, celery salt and housemade relish, it’s layered inside a fluffy potato bun and served with french fries and classic deviled eggs.
350 N. State St.; 312-755-1700
Chicago-style dog at Allium
These guys aren’t joking when they say that everything for their Chicago-style dog, available on the lunch menu, is made in-house. The sausage, the fluffy bun, the pickles and even the ketchup (for the fries, not the dog) are made fresh from scratch. Condiments even come in adorable squeeze bottles.
120 E. Delaware Pl.; 312-799-4900
Duck fat hot dog The Duck Inn
In keeping with the duck theme, this duck and beef sausage is stuffed in a natural hog casing before being served Chicago style on a brioche poppy seed bun with mustard, relish, hot peppers, zesty housemade pickles, tomatoes, onions and celery salt. Note: It's only available on the bar menu.
2701 S. Eleanor St.; 312-724-8811
Char dog at Fatso's Last Stand
This Ukrainian Village late-night institution specializes in all things deep-fried and chargrilled, including a killer char dog with all the fixin's — mustard, relish, onions, tomatoes, sport peppers and celery salt. Add cheddar (because why not?) for an extra $.50.
2258 W. Chicago Ave.; 773-245-3287
Depression Dog at Gene & Jude’s
A trip to Wrigley Field in 1945 convinced Gene Mormino that the lackluster hot dogs served at the ballpark needed improving. He opened his first stand in 1946 serving hot dogs and fries. After losing that one in a card game, he reopened it as Gene & Jude’s in 1950 in River Grove, which still serves the famous Depression Dog with zingy mustard, onions, relish, sport peppers and fresh-cut fries.
2720 River Rd., River Grove; 708-452-7634
Foie gras dog at Hot "G" Dog
Former Hot Doug's employees are keeping the legend alive, offering the Chicago-style classic alongside gourmet options like the famous duck sausage topped with truffle aïoli and foie gras. Don't miss the duck fat fries either, served Friday, Saturday and Sunday only.
5009 N. Clark St.; 773-209-3360
Hot dog and fries at Redhot Ranch
This snappy dog — loaded with mustard, onions and sport peppers — provides the base for a mountain of crispy hand-cut fries (arguably some of the best in town).
2072 N. Western Ave.; 773-772-6020
Beef hot dog at Superdawg
The signature beef frank is served (mostly) Chicago style with green tomato, sport peppers, onions, a dill pickle wedge and a side of crinkle fries. Per tradition at this timeworn Northwest Side institution, servers deliver food on trays to your car, in the style of a classic drive-in diner.
6363 N. Milwaukee Ave.; 773-763-0660
Double-char dog at Weiner Circle
Despite its goofy name, there are serious dogs to be had at this Lincoln Park mainstay. It specializes in the Vienna Beef red-hot, but for an extra treat, opt for the double-char dog — two Vienna Beef hot dogs grilled to a crisp with everything on 'em.
2622 N. Clark St.; 773-477-7444