Dragging It Through the Garden
The all-beef hot dog wasn’t just a hit, it was a phenomenon, the cylinder of ground meat became a symbol of American prosperity. The assembly line worker loved them as much as Babe Ruth loved them. It was affordable, it was filling, it was good, the American dream on a bun, and nobody downed them like Chicago. But the original sausage was only the foundation of our city’s great dish. Tastes were starting to change on the streets, as more immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe filled the working-class neighborhoods.
One such enterprising individual was Sam Rosen. A Polish-born immigrant Rosen had first moved to Germany to learn the art of baking. He first came to New York and opened a bakery at the unbelievable age of 16. Seeking better fortune only a few years later he came west to Chicago, buying a bakery and opening his eponymous business in 1909. It was a huge success, not only on the strength of its rye bread beloved by the Germans and Poles of Chicago, but as the originator of the poppy-seed bun. It was another essential ingredient in the Chicago dog, introduced by an upstart, enterprising immigrant, tailored to the tastes of a diverse city.