Chicago-style hot dogs have become something of a legend: the all-beef frank, poppy seed bun, yellow mustard, chopped onions, relish, tomatoes, a dill pickle spear and celery salt. A Chicago native can rattle off the ingredients in a matter of seconds (and don’t you dare mention the word ketchup). But it seems every visitor, local, and food connoisseur is asking the same thing—where can I get the best Chicago hot dog? While the answer to the question may vary from person to person, neighborhood to neighborhood, we tried to gather the cream-of-the-hot-dog-crop, to help you decide where to get your perfect Chicago-style hot dog.
Classic Chicago Hot Dogs
- Portillo’s: One of Chicago’s most famous restaurants is also home to one of Chicago’s most famous hot dogs. The food is fresh and prepared in front of you. Dine in the unique atmosphere and indulge in other Windy City classics, such as the Italian Beef sandwich.
- America’s Dog: Chicago’s famous for its hot dogs, and that doesn’t come without the fair share of hot dog chain restaurants. These hot dogs are standard and delicious, when you can’t make the hike to one of the more classic hot dog vendors.
- Downtown Dogs: Cap off that busy shopping day with a Chicago style hot dog…without hiking to one of the neighborhood stands.
- Max’s Take Out: Whether it’s near your place of work or on your walk back to the train, this hot dog stays true to its Chicago roots in the heart of downtown.
- Kim & Carlo’s (The Field Museum): Many people wonder why Chicago doesn’t have any street side vendors selling hot dogs out of carts. When sky-high sidewalk rent prices drove the stands out of downtown, one remained at the Field Museum. So timeless, so good.
- Superdawg: One of the few original drive-ins left in the country is also one of the best places to get a Chicago-style dog. Only you don’t walk up to a stand here: a carhop will deliver your dog to your car. The restaurant and the food haven’t changed since the 1940s.
- Felony Franks: The name of the Chicago-style-hot-dog game at this west neighborhood joint is the Misdemeanor Weiner. And the theme is in keeping with the mission: this neighborhood spot employs ex-felons, giving them a place to work and serve their community.
- Weiner’s Circle: This place is famous for its chardog with “the works” but also for its mutual verbal abuse between staff and customers. It also has a reputation as a late night hangout spot post-bar hopping—it’s open ‘til 5 a.m.
- Byron’s Hot Dog Haus: If you can’t wait until you’re inside the stadium to get your paws on a Chicago hot dog, a stop at Byron’s may be just what you need. A greasy little hotdog stand nestled in Wrigleyville boasts a hot dog with heaps of classic toppings and fan-favorite fries.
Not-Quite-Chicago-Style Hot Dogs
- Hot Doug’s: While the Chicago-style hot dog does make an appearance on the menu, this unique eatery offers much more eclectic sausages, including The Elvis (“smoked and savory”) and the Salma Hayek (made with Andouille sausage).
- The Original Nana’s Hot Dogs: Our concierge love this place, but if you’re expecting a true Chicago-style hot dog, this isn’t your spot: Nana’s serves dogs dressed in only mustard, relish, onions and sport peppers.
- Gene & Judes: This “Depression Dog” comes from a little stand with a big reputation, but only comes topped with mustard, onions, relish and sport peppers. This place was voted numerous times as the “Best Hot Dog in America” and don’t come if you don’t want a dog: it (and tamales) is the only item on their small menu.
- Franks ‘n Dawgs: This bun at least has the right type of dog inside, but is made with pickles, cherry tomato relish, caramelized onions and beer mustard instead of the classic toppings. This place also has the most unique hot dogs on this list, including the Brunch Dog (complete with friend egg on top).
- Jim’s Original: It still made our list because it’s such a classic location, but this hot dog isn’t even a dog: it’s a Polish Sausage. Also special to Chicago and the historic Maxwell Street area, this frank is topped with mustard, grilled onions, and sport peppers. For those craving the true Chicago experience, Jim’s also has all-beef dogs.