On October 3rd, Hot Doug's will serve its last elk dog with truffle manchego (no matter how much we beg). Helping you pick up the pieces to your hot dog-shattered life, we put together this list of 25 other Chicago dog-slinging stands worth shifting your patronage to.
Franks ‘N’ Dawgs (address and info)
One of the longest-running gourmet dog spots, FND follows in Doug’s footsteps with house-made sausages in even wilder combinations, like the Brunch Dog topped with bacon and egg, or the Po’ Boy made up of seafood sausage with fried green tomato and Old Bay aioli.
BIG & little’s (address and info)
Near North Side
You know that the Hot Doug’s high-meets-low cuisine spirit is strong in this one when you order your hot dog/burger/lobster roll/fish tacos with fries topped with a whole lot of foie gras.
Rapidito (address and info)
South Americans like to put crazy stuff on their dogs, as this new Colombian spot will demonstrate for just about $6. Its dog comes topped with cheese, crushed potato chips, quail egg, and about three different sauces, including pineapple sauce. Craziest of all? It’s kind of great.
Flub A Dub Chub’s (address and info)
Tucked in a basement along Broadway and run by a sweet older couple, this is the rare place that really makes Lakeview feel like a neighborhood. Get the extra-thick dog -- it's called the Chubby.
Red Hot Ranch (address and info)
The Western Ave branch of this small chain (it's restaurant bros with Wiener’s Circle and 35th Street Red Hots) only has minimalist dogs (mustard, relish, onion, and sport peppers), fresh-cut fries, and fried shrimp. Why would you need anything else, though?
Fatso’s Last Stand (address and info)
Formerly Phil’s Last Stand, they have plenty-good char dogs and fresh-cut fries -- if you can tear yourself away from the In-N-Out-esque burgers or grilled salami.
Jimmy’s Red Hots (address and info)
Minimalist dogs, fresh-cut fries fried in lard, panhandlers, dodgy guys selling pirated DVDs... Jimmy’s is a true Chicago experience.
Hoppin’ Hots (address and info)
Imagine a Chicago dog with tomato jam, jalapeño mustard, a deep-fried pickle, and your choice of a beef or duck dog. This place takes the Hot Doug's gourmet sausage model so far, it could be Next: Ballpark. It's got really good fresh-cut shoestring fries, too.
Chubby Wieners (address and info)
It's got pretty good Chicago dogs, plus a few more exotic things like the Cajun Creole Andouille Dog.
Hot Dog Station (address and info)
CTA memorabilia (a lot more cheery than the actual Brown Line turnaround across the street) decorates this friendly, well-run stand with a few gourmet-style dogs alongside the classics.
Cookies & Carnitas (address and info)
There’s only one dog on the menu at this farm-to-fast-food place, but it’s a regular Dirk Diggler: an obscenely long, specially made kosher dog served with Mexican-style relish.
Wolfy’s (address and info)
It's got perfect minimalist dogs under a great '60s sign -- we just wish it had better fries than its frozen shoestring ones.
Superdawg (address and info)
Chicago’s best drive-in restaurant has real carhops, fat, garlicky hot dogs, freshly cut crinkle-cut fries, and thick-as-a-brick shakes.
Hot Dog Express (address and info)
We'd trade the skinless dogs for natural casing Viennas, but otherwise, this friendly spot does a nice job with a Chicago dog and fresh-cut fries, along with other Chitown classics like gyros.
Portillo’s Hot Dogs (address and info)
Yes, it’s a chain, but one that really did start in the blue collar suburb of Villa Park back in the 1950s, and turns out real-deal dogs to this day.
Fast Track (address and info)
You’d expect one of the last-surviving, workingman’s greasy spoons Downtown to make a good, classic Chicago dog (the kind with pickle, tomatoes, sport pepper, etc.), and they do.
Allium (address and info)
$14 for a hot dog? Maybe -- but only if it comes to your table with individual mini-squeeze bottles of house-made ketchup, mustard, and relish, and if it’s as good as this upscale hotel restaurant’s house-made dog.
Haute Sausage (info)
You've gotta love a food truck with a storefront in the Southwest corner of the Loop, making exotic things like bacon-guacamole sausage and alligator dogs. Another cool thing? They sell by the half-dog, so you can try a bunch of different kinds on the same visit. Not that you wouldn’t have, anyway.
Morrie O’Malley’s Hot Dogs (address and info)
If there’s anywhere you ought to find hot dog tradition unchanged by time, it’s in the shadow of the Sox, and 35th St is a living museum of vintage dogs like this one.
Jim’s Original Hot Dog (address and info)
University Village/Little Italy
Dating back to the old Maxwell St in the 1930s, this two-steps-below-no-frills stand takes you back to the primordial beginnings of Chicago dogs, and even better, the Polish sausage -- the 24-hour friend of the working man.
H-Dogs (address and info)
An unlikely place to find Doug-style gourmet dogs, perhaps, but this stand gives them a South Side spin, from the H-Dog with turkey chili to the Turducken Cobb Dog (topped like a Cobb salad).
Fat Johnnie’s Famous Red Hots (address and info)
Lots of places call themselves a “hole in the wall”, but Fat Johnnie’s literally is one -- it's a walkup stand that looks like it’s about to fall down. The David Berg kosher-style dog doesn’t have the spice of a Vienna Beef dog (even though it comes from the same company), but this is one of the few places you can still try a Mother-in-Law, the dogless tamale in a bun that folks in the Great Depression ate when they couldn’t even afford a Chicago dog.
Carl’s Red Hots (address and info)
This guy's a 1950s-vintage joint in a new building in the shadow of the Skyway, still cranking out dogs, Italian beef, and Chicago-style gyros.
Parisi’s Drive-In (address and info)
A 1950s-era stand best known for Italian beef and Italian-breaded steak, but also not surprisingly, a place making a pretty good dog, too. Whatever you get, it’s all just to lay down a base for its excellent milkshakes, anyway.
Fat Tommy’s (address and info)
It's got the farthest-South genuine Vienna Beef dogs and fresh-cut fries in the city. That counts for something, right?
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1. Franks 'N Dawgs1863 N Clybourn, Chicago
2. BIG & little's860 N Orleans St, Chicago
3. Rapidito Colombian Gourmet Bites1855 W Diversey Pkwy, Chicago
4. Flub A Dub Chub's3021 N Broadway, Chicago
5. Red Hot Ranch2072 N Western Ave, Chicago
6. Fatso's Last Stand2258 W Chicago Ave, Chicago
7. Hoppin' Hots1477 W Balmoral, Chicago
8. Portillo's Hot Dogs100 W Ontario St, Chicago
9. Allium120 E Delaware Pl, Chicago
10. Fast Track629 W Lake St, Chicago
11. Jim's Original Hot Dog1250 S Union Ave, Chicago
12. Morrie O'Malley's Hot Dogs3501 S Union Ave, Chicago
13. Fat Johnnie's7242 S Western Ave, Chicago
14. Parisi’s Drive-In6216 W 63rd St, Chicago
15. Fat Tommy's3031 W 111th St, Chicago
16. Hot Dog Express4300 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
17. Superdawg6363 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
18. H-Dogs4655 S King Dr, Chicago
19. Carl’s Red Hots1957 E 83rd St, Chicago
20. Jimmy's Red Hots4000 W Grand Ave, Chicago
21. Chubby Wieners4652 N Western Ave, Chicago
22. Hot Dog Station4742 N Kimball Ave, Chicago
23. Cookies & Carnitas5759 N Broadway St, Chicago
24. Wolfy's2734 W Peterson Ave, Chicago
Chef'd by a Blackbird/Sixteen alum, FND looks like an unassuming hot dog stand decked out in red, black, and steel and ornamented with photos of local graffiti (would also be American Graffiti, but shockingly Opie isn't anywhere).
BIG & little's is Chicago's one-stop wonder for fish 'n chips. There are also po'boys, truffle fries, burgers, and.... need we keep going? Just get there.
This Columbian spot in Lincoln Park offers up authentic South American flavors, like their signature hot dog that comes topped with cheese, crushed potato chips, quail eggs, and about three different sauces including pineapple sauce.
This Lakeview eatery is nestled in a basement along Broadway and it serves up quality greasy eats like burgers and 'dogs. Pro-tip: try the extra thick hot dog called the Chubby.
Redhot Ranch is a char-dog fixture, whipping them up "Depression-style" with mustard, onion, relish, and peppers.
This no frills, Ukrainian Village eatery pretty much has the perfect name, with a menu chock-full of items like fresh-cut fries, char dogs, and burgers. One of the staples here is the Double Fatso with cheese -- two perfectly grilled beef patties flanked by slices of American cheese, onion, and secret sauce -- a burger that can give In-N-Out a run for its money.
Hoppin' Hots is the place to get deliciously decorated and crazily infused hot dogs.
Portillo's is a Chicago-area hot dog chain serving up authentic char-dog-style frankfurters.
Allium's spiced up the former Seasons space with flourishes like a cheetah-print couch purring before a marble fireplace, as well as nosh from bison tartare w/ waffle chips, beer mustard, and a 62-degree egg, to dry-aged, 23oz bone-in ribeyes with blue cheese fondue.
Originally created to serve friends and family the best food, Fast Track is still slinging out some of Chicago's best -- and fastest -- hot dogs. It's pretty cheap, but cash only.
The stand-up only Polish sausage sandwich stand dating back to the old Maxwell St in the 1930s grills bone-in pork chops to a sizzle and serves them on hot buns with layers of yellow salad mustard, mounds of sweet Spanish onions, and spicy peppers. They're irresistibly tender and tasty, and a bag of fries is thrown in for free.
Another cash only joint, Morrie makes some killer Chicago-style hot dogs, as well as sandwiches and burgers. Oh, and there's an entire menu just for ice cream. Score!
Fat Johnnie's in Marquette Park is a walk-up food stand looks like it's about to collapse, but it's got a loyal following for its David Berg kosher-style hotdogs. It's one of the few places you can still find the legendary Chicago sandwich Mother-in-Law, which is basically a Chicago-style dog with a chili and cheese-topped tamale in a bun instead of a hot dog, along with the traditional fixings, including cucumbers. With the success of his neighborhood staple for over 40 years, Johnnie isn't changing anything about his red hots anytime soon.
This is a Clearing staple for it's beef hot dogs and awesome sammies, even if it doesn't look very nice from the outside.
At this Mount Greenwood foodery, you'll find an array of fast-food favorites, from hot dogs to burgers to chicken to BBQ to... you get the idea.
This quick-and-easy pit stop is the quintessential Chicago-dog spot, so head in for the ultimate assortment of toppings atop a crispy, juicy dog.
Up closer to Evanston, Superdawg reigns supreme for the ultimate Chicago dog.
This gourmet Chicago-dog eatery is one of the best in the whole city. Head in for a Turducken Cobb Dog with all the fixings and a cold brew.
This South Side eatery is most well-known for its seriously delicious Chicago dogs. However, don't look past their gyros, either -- they're steamy, crispy, and generally spiced to perfection.
Jimmy's has been serving minimalist "Depression" dogs alongside fresh-cut fries fried in lard to Chicagoans for for over 55 years.
Not just a politically incorrect name you call your friend's fat dachshund, Chubby Weiners is all about classic Chicago hot dogs, plus a few more exotic things like the Cajun Creole Andouille Dog.
This reliable hot-dog joint is right across the street from the Kimball Brown Line stop, and will impress you with a few gourmet-style dogs. Traditional Chicago dogs are served alongside the "Long Island" (kraut, chili, onions), other geo-specific wieners, and popular Italian beef sandwiches.
Cookies & Carnitas serve exactly what you think they would... plus sandwiches, pizza, tacos, salads, and the Dirk Diggler: an obscenely long, specially made kosher dog served with Mexican-style relish.