You don't have to be a Sausage King of Chicago to know that Chi has a shload of great link options, both old and new. You do, however, have to be a Men's Interest Website King of Chicago to identify which nine are the absolute best. To wit, here're our (and probably Abe Froman's) nine favorite sausages in Chicago.
The Restaurant: Link's Taproom (click here for address and deets)
The Sausage: Chicago Steak & Ale
Obviously the best beer sausage in Chicago resides in a place with growler light fixtures. Link's Chicago Steak & Ale consists of simmering a sirloin dog in Bell's Amber, then awesomely topping the thing with bacon and horseradish.
The Restaurant: Jim's Original (click here for address and deets)
The Sausage: Polish Sausage
75 years after firing up the grill, Jim's Original is still doling out smoked Polish sausages dressed exactly like they were in the '40s... back when men were men and women... um, weren't.
The Restaurant: The Radler (click here for address and deets)
The Sausage: Grilled Thüringer
Proving you don't need to be 75yrs-old to make a great sausage, The Radler... makes a great sausage: their Thüringer Rostbratwurst, with hard-cooked egg, pickled celery root vinaigrette, fried-potato puree, and spicy mustard. Side liter of beer optional (Editor's Note: ... but not really).
The Restaurant: Westminster Hot Dog (click here for address and deets)
The Sausage: Bourbon Bacon
Their specialty dogs are all incredible, but the Bourbon Bacon might be the incredible-est of the bunch: a French-style farmhouse sausage with bourbon and maple syrup.
The Restaurant: Gene's Sausage Shop (click here for address and deets)
The Sausage: Bratwurst Plate
The rooftop beer garden'll return when (if?) it gets warm, and with it, the bratwurst plate -- a massive undertaking with a choice of two sides and a bratwurst you can do any of seven ways (Gene’s homemade, traditional German, Chicago-style, Sheboygan, mushroom Swiss, jalepeño, or apple)... but will do the Sheboygan way.
The Restaurant: Chicago Brauhaus (click here for address and deets)
The Sausage: Knackwurst
Brauhaus has a knack (!) for making short, plump wieners, as illustrated by their titular Knackwurst, a pork and beef link that's just the right amount of spicy and smokey.
The Restaurant: Bari Subs & Italian Foods (click here for address and deets)
The Sausage: Hot Italian Sausage
You can't beat the price ($4.50 for 9in), or the fact that they make all their own sausages, or the fact that this tiny, Italian specialty grocer's Hot Italian is just really, really, really good. Pro tip: load up on some Italian meats and cheeses so you can have another feast when you get home.
The Restaurant: Franks 'n Dawgs (click here for address and deets)
The Sausage: The Tur-doggin'
Oh, this? It's just your average, everyday turkey & date sausage with crispy duck confit, herb/garlic aioli, pickled onion relish & pickled carrots. Nothing to see here people, nothing to see here.
The Restaurant: Joe Boston's (click here for address and deets)
The Sausage: The Combo
Sausages are great on their own, but they're even better when they're lovingly paired with a pile of moist, flavor-packed, Italian beef. Are you getting it piled with sweet & hot peppers? Of COURSE you are.
Grant Marek is a Senior Editor at Thrillist, and changed his fantasy football team name to "The Abe Fromans" two years ago. He has been to the finals each of the last two years. Coincidence??? We think not. Follow him @Grant_Marek.
1. Links Taproom1559 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
2. The Radler2375 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
3. Westminster Hot Dog11 N Wells St, Chicago
4. Gene's Sausage Shop And Delicatessen4750 N Lincoln, Chicago
5. Chicago Brauhaus4732 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago
6. Franks 'N Dawgs1863 N Clybourn, Chicago
7. Jim's Original Hot Dog1250 S Union Ave, Chicago
8. Bari Subs & Italian Foods1120 W Grand Ave, Chicago
9. Joe Boston's Italian Beef2932 W Chicago Ave, Chicago
Links is a taproom that's got tons of lip-licking brews, fries that're topped with Italian sausage, bacon, cheddar, giardiniera, and green onions, and an awesome selection of non-brew beverages as well.
The Radler's a beer hall that's serving up tons of different sausages, sessionable and unique brews, and an opportunity to chant "PROST!" outside of Oktoberfest.
With from-scratch hot dogs and innovative toppings, Westminster Hot Dog in Chicago takes the char-dog to new heights.
Gene's is pouring the experience honed from their own 37-year-old family-run biz into their new-to-them two-story temple of cased meats (walls of exposed steel, wood, and stone, gigantic chandeliers, and the Meyer's neon sign above the deli), where the goods are whipped up by Euro-trained sausage makers and smoked on the premises, a past time that also got you kicked off the high school lacrosse team. The Liverbest Sandwich has a thick slab of creamy liverwurst with sliced pickles on a pretzel roll, so it's prepped for you to slather on one of the assorted mustards and wash it all down with a Pilsner. Plus, Gene's rooftop beer and wine garden is undoubtedly one of the best summer drinking spots in the city.
Chi's Bavarian-est restaurant rocks heaping portions of various -wursts, bountiful German beer, and yodeling.
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).
Jim’s Original is there to fulfill the 4am Polish sausage craving you’d be lying if you said you’ve never had. The 24/7 stand has perfected its recipe in the decades since 1943, and its most illustrious Polish sausage sandwich buries a smoked pork and beef Polish sausage in a white bun smothered with yellow mustard and heaps of sweet grilled onions. If sausage isn’t for you, order up a hamburger or a chicken sandwich at the counter. Take napkins for the road; since there’s no place to sit, you’ll want to dive in immediately upon reassuming the driver’s seat.
Bari constructs some of the best cold subs in the city, but you should also try their menu beyond their sandwiches considering they also make great salads and soups.