Only true Chicagoans know there is only one golden rule to living in the city — no ketchup on hot dogs. If you adhere to that rule and opt to dress your dogs the traditional way — with mustard, relish, chopped onions, tomato wedges, a pickle, sport peppers and celery salt on a Chicago-style bun (or would opt for another variation) — here are the best hot dog joints in the city and suburbs.
NOTE: Due to COVID-19 concerns, these restaurants may not be open for dining in. Please check each location’s website for more information.
A spin on what you may think of a traditional dog, Big Guy’s serves up sausage dogs with a twist for any tastebuds. From New Orleans-style sausage dogs (made with crawfish) to spicy buffalo chicken sausages and Greek sausages (wrapped in toasted pita and topped with feta), every weekly special is a winning combination.
7201 Roosevelt Road, Berwyn
An old school diner on the corner of Lake and Desplaines Streets in the booming West Loop neighborhood, Fast Track might not fit in with the upscale restaurants in the area, but the food quality is top-notch. The fast (hence the name), counter-seating location is known for its a special Italian beef and sausage recipe, and use of 100 percent cholesterol-free oil.
629 W. Lake St., Chicago
Billed as a “late-night haven” in Ukrainian Village, Fatso’s takes a traditional Chicago style dog to the next level, with additional toppings like cheese and macaroni and cheese, because cheese makes everything better. Their housemade jalapeño relish is also a must-try.
2258 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago
We’re big fans of the slogan at Gene & Jude’s Red Hot Dog Stand — “No seats. No ketchup. No pretense. No nonsense.” The iconic River Grove restaurant nails it every time with their “old style” Chicago hot dog. We love that at Gene & Jude’s, the crispy fries are piled right on top of the hot dog so you don’t have to stop eating one to bite another. Well played.
2720 N. River Road, River Grove
Run by two brothers who worked the line at the famous Hot Doug’s (RIP), Hot “G” Dog almost makes us forget its predecessor. With sausage specials like the Venison (blueberry merlot sauce, Wensleydale cheese), Wild Boar (chipotle sauce, manchego cheese, roasted garlic cloves) and Alligator (shrimp, remoulade, cajun sautéed onions, Danablu cheese), we advise guests to wear the stretchy pants. Tip: Hot Doug’s signature duck fat fries are served Friday-Sunday.
5009 N. Clark Street, Chicago
This no-frills, family-run fixture located off the parking lot of Northwestern’s football stadium (a great place to hang out on game day) has been serving up Chicago-style dogs for 50 years. Here, simplicity shines — their juicy, Vienna pure beef hot dogs are cooked to perfection and topped with the standard fresh fare you’d expect on a Chicago-style dog.
1613 Central St., Evanston
Superdawg is a 71-year old, family-owned hot dog stand with a carhop service. Located in the Gladstone Park neighborhood on the Northwest side of the city, you can’t miss the two giant hot dogs standing on the roof of the nostalgic looking building. Unlike most hot dog places in the city, Superdawg doesn’t use Vienna Beef hot dogs, but rather, a proprietary beef blend to create a delicious bite. Get it delivered straight to your car door with a side of fresh-from-the-deep fryer crinkle-cut fries.
6363 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago (the original location) & 333 S. Milwaukee Ave., Wheeling
Another “can’t miss” hot dog place — not only because of its food — but also because of the humungous hot dog speared on a fork on the roof, Wolfy’s has been serving the Peterson Park neighborhood for more than 50 years. According to employees and die-hard customers, the jumbo char dog is the proper choice to order on a visit to Wolfy’s.
2734 W. Peterson Ave., Chicago
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This article originally published on July 17, 2019. It has been updated with the most recent information.