Best places for an authentic Chicago hot dog
Chicago isn't only famous for deep-dish pizza. It's also known for the classic American food: Hot dogs. Real Chicagoans will never order ketchup on a hot dog — some find it sacrilege. So if you want to eat like the locals, order tomatoes on it instead. Or, order a "dragged through the garden" variety, which is basically a hot dog with everything on it, from peppers and relish to pickles.
Here are some of the best places to go in the city and suburbs for an authentic Chicago hot dog:
1. Superdawg, two locations: 6363 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, and 333 S. Milwaukee Avenue, Wheeling, Ill.
The first thing you notice at Superdawg are its two iconic, 12-foot hot dogs on the building's roof, named Maurie and Flaurie, after the husband-and-wife founders. The throwback-styled restaurant still utilizes drive-in service, which might have been popular when it opened in 1948. But since eating in the car has lost its appeal for many families, feel free to eat inside. The hot dogs are unusually thick and delicious, served in a paper box with their famous "Hiya!" slogan and packed with crinkle-cut fries. When ordering, just remember: they're not hot dogs. They're Superdawgs.
2. Gene's and Jude's, 2720 River Road, River Grove, Ill.
As its website says: no seats – no ketchup – no pretense – no nonsense. People come from miles around and line up at this brick shack to have Gene's and Jude's famous hot dogs. The restaurant is regularly ranked among the best hot dogs in America. Fresh-cut fries are piled high, right on top of the snappy dog.
3. Portillos, more than three dozen locations in the Chicago area.
When Chicagoans move away, they come home and go straight to Portillos, a place famous for delicious hot dogs and Italian beefs (another Chicago favorite). The 50s-styled diners are now a big player in the Chicago market, but Portillos retains the roots of its original Villa Park location known as the Dog House. In a rush? Drive-thru service here is efficient and popular.
4. H-Dogs, 4655 S. King Drive, Chicago
The namesake H-Dog topped with chili, cheese and onion, gets the raves at this longtime South Side favorite. The menu includes much more, including salmon burgers, nachos and gelato.
5. Vienna Beef Store & Cafe, 2501 N. Damen Avenue, Chicago
Get 'em where they're made. Vienna Beef are the classic Chicago hot dogs, and this factory has a store and café where you can sample a variety of their products. The cafe's has limited hours, so call
ahead before you come.
6. Jim's Original, 1250 S. Union Avenue, Chicago
A classic Chicago hot dog that's available 24/7. Jim's Original, which has been in business since 1939, is also famous for another Chicago classic: their Maxwell Street Polish Sausage.
7. Murphy's Red Hots, 1211 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago
Owner Bill Murphy — a Vienna Beef Hot Dog Hall of Famer — controls the counter here. So you are guaranteed to have a great hot dog.
8. Jimmy's Red Hots, 4000 W. Grand Ave., Chicago
This longtime West Side joint has been family-owned since 1954. They serve up the classics, and true to Chicago style, there's not a drop of ketchup in the restaurant.
9. Paradise Pup, 1724 S. River Road, Des Plaines, Ill.
It's become a tourist attraction since being featured on Food Network's "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives," but Paradise Pup is famous for its delicious hot dogs, burgers and three-layer fries. Get the char dog for the ultimate bite.
10. Wiener's Circle, 2622 N. Clark St., Chicago
Catering to the late-night crowd, they're known as much for their hot dogs as their sassy servers who lovingly talk smack with customers.
Jamie Bartosch is a freelance writer based in Chicago. Follow her on Twitter at @jsbartosch