We already covered Chicago style pizza, so it falls naturally to the Chicago Dog to be our next Windy-City-specific food feature. Love them or hate them, Chicago Dogs are quintessential to the quirky culinary history of the city.
There would be no Chicago dog if it weren’t for the boom in popularity for the hot dog, an item that gained its notoriety at fairs and baseball games (and at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago). The hot dog was a phenomenon across the nation, but Chicago was quick to put its own twist on the classic. Legend has it that Eastern and Southern European immigrants were the first to introduce the poppy-seed bun, hot peppers, cabbage and celery salt, all added to appeal to the tastes across cultures.
The Anatomy of a Chicago Dog
So what’s on a Chicago Dog? The toppings are what sets it apart from the rest, and they include yellow mustard, sweet pickle relish, fresh chopped onions, two tomato wedges, a pickle spear, two sport peppers and a dash of celery salt. And if you want to add ketchup, you’re out of luck. We recommend you keep that condiment far, far away from Chicago Dogs.
Where to Find Them
Chicago Dogs are around every neighborhood, but there are a few spots that are worth a trek. Superdawg Drive-In, Portillo’s, Fatso’s Last Stand and Gene & Jude’s are all top of the list, but here are more options to choose from. Looking to try one outside of Chicago? Portillo’s offers a hot dog kit perfect for out-of-towners.
Whether you’ve grown up with them or are only recently acquainted, Chicago Dogs are just another piece of our history that defines the wonderful city that we call home.