10 of Chicago's Top (Hot) Dogs
Chicago is known for its signature hot dogs... hold the ketchup. As the city grows, the quality of these encased meats never wavers. Click through for 10 of the city’s top (hot) dogs.
1. Hot "G" Dogs
Local favorite Hot Dougs may be gone, but two brothers who worked there carry on its spirit (and duck fat fries on Fridays and Saturdays) with this new joint at 5009 N Clark St in Uptown, home to a swarm of recent construction.
Notable developments: the high-rise at Montrose and Clarendon received the green light, coming in 2018 by JDL development.
What’s Hot About This Dog? Hot "G" Dog embraces Hot Doug's penchant for quirky encased meats alive, with kangaroo, smoked shrimp, foie gras and Tolouse pork sausages.
2. Wiener's Circle
A Chicago staple at 2622 N Clark St, Wiener's Circle is where late night revelers craving a hot dog ask for "the works:” a Vienna Beef frank with mustard, tomato, pickle, relish, onion, banana peppers and celery salt stuffed in a poppy seed bun.
What’s Hot About This Dog: The dive has been all over the press for its famed “abuse” from the staff, who won’t hesitate to serve up a few expletives and insults with your order.
3. Red Hot Ranch
Located in Bucktown at 2072 N Western Ave, Red Hot Ranch takes a minimalist approach to the Chicago dog, serving up what Serious Eats calls the "Depression Dog."
Notable Developments: Centrum 606—the largest new construction planned for Bucktown—is walking distance from this no-frills joint.
What’s Hot About This Dog? The Depression Dog, which originated during the Great Depression, is simply a natural-casing dog on a steamed bun with onions, peppers, mustard and hand cut fries piled on top.
4. Gold Coast Dogs
From humble downtown beginnings at 159 N Wabash, Gold Coast Dogs is quite the lucrative business with outlets at O’Hare and Midway airports, and Union Station.
Notable Developments: Office development is booming and the Loop location is in the thick of primed to capitalize on it. Tishman Speyer recently unveiled plans for an “origami style” tower at 130 N Franklin St, which could stretch to 51 stories.
What Makes This Dog Hot? ABC 7 voted Gold Coast Dogs’ Chicago hot dog the best in Chicago.
5. Felony Franks
Located at 6427W North Ave in Oak Park, if the name alone isn’t enough to prompt a visit maybe their signature hot dog, dubbed the "Misdemeanor Weiner” will. The eatery originated in Chicago and has a difficult past. According to the Chicago Tribune, former Ald. Bob Fioretti raised issue with Felony Franks'request to erect a sign with the shop’s logo—a hot dog wearing prison attire. By the time the sign was approved in 2011, however, Felony Franks closed and workers ended up losing their jobs, making the reopening all the more sweet.
What Makes This Dog Hot? The eatery works with the Rescue Foundation to hire ex-felons and give them a second chance, along with offering ongoing life training.
This upscale restaurant located in Chicago’s Four Seasons Hotel at 120 E Delaware Pl deserves a mention serves a $16 dog worth every penny. Those with cash to spend can check into Starwood’s rebranding of the former Conrad Chicago hotel to The Luxury Collection located at 521 N Rush St.
What’s Hot About This Dog? Everything is entirely homemade and locally sourced, including the dog itself. No Vienna Beef here. If that’s not enough, Allium offers private dining (pictured) for those to enjoy their dogs away from prying eyes.
7. Fatso’s Last Stand
The hip Ukrainian Village is home to this stand at 2258 W Chicago Ave. Fatso's is best known for its char dogs and is close to new, luxury construction at 1000 N Damen—one of the first LEED Gold certified multi-unit residences in the area—and the soon-to-be-open 1,600 SF Dollop Bake Shop.
What’s Hot About This Dog? If franks aren’t your thing, bring an appetite for Fasto’s Po’Boy Challenge, in which contestants are invited to consume two pounds of fried shrimp, coleslaw, shoestring fries and bun, covered in cheddar cheese sauce plus a 32 oz soda in 45 minutes or less.
8. Downtown Dogs
Just off Michigan Avenue at 804 N Rush St, Downtown Dogs reminds customers not to expect ketchup on their Chicago dogs. Shoppers can take a pit stop on this busy street to refuel and add to their wardrobes—the city’s first Vinyard Vines outlet recently opened in a 2,973 SF space at 932 N Rush St previously occupied by Marmot Mountain, says Crain’s Chicago Business.
What Makes This Dog Hot? Check out Downtown Dogs’ wall of dogs plastered on the front of its counter.
9. Gene and Jude’s
The Chicago-style hot dog started at this River Forest institution at 2720 River Rd. The eponymous Gene and friends ordered hot dogs and drinks at a 1945 baseball game. Feeling like “something was missing,” he went home and created what is a Chicago culinary staple: a frank with relish, onions, pickle, fries, mustard and a warm bun.
What Makes This Dog Hot? Last year, the joint won the Illinois Office of Tourism's first-ever Delicious Destination award and Gov. Pat Quinn even stopped by to help make dogs for an afternoon.
Mad Men might have just ended but those needing their dose of the 1960s can swing by retro-chic Portillo’s, which opened its first outlet ("The Dog House") 52 years ago in Villa Park. Portillo's now has spots all over the city; its most popular location is at Clark and Ontario streets in River North.
What’s Hot About This Dog? Portillo’s is a growing national chain with locations in Buena Park, CA, Moreno Valley, CA, Merriville, IN, and two spots in Scottsdale and Tempe, AZ.