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The Hot Dog Hit List

Where do you even start when it comes to judging Chicago hot dogs? That’s an honest question we had to ask ourselves. It’s a daunting task, and one we’ve never tackled - until now. We went out and ate more hot dogs in a few days than you’d want to eat in a lifetime. And we learned a lot - mostly, that one hot dog a day is awesome, two hot dogs a day are even better, and ten hot dogs a day will worry both your mother and your doctor.

We also learned there are 15 important hot dog stands you should visit. Why these 15? For a combination of reasons that include quality of the food, importance to the neighborhood, and overall history. Welcome to our Hot Dog Hit List. Make it a point to hit all of these spots this summer. Just don’t do it in one day.

To check out the rest of the 2016 Chicago Summer Guide, click here.

the spots

1
8.0
MAP

What To Get: Red Hot, Mother-In-Law (tamale in hot dog bun with chili), Mighty Dog (hot dog & tamale in hot dog bun with cheese and chili).

What To Know: A tiny trailer with only a walk-up window, opened in 1972, cash only.

2

Morrie O'Malley's Hot Dogs

3501 S Union Ave
MAP

What To Get: Hot Dog, Polish, Soft Serve Ice Cream.

What To Know: Opened in 1989, patio seats available in summer, close to U.S. Cellular Field.

3

35th Street Red Hots

500 W 35th St
MAP

What To Get: Hot Dog, Polish Sausage, Fried Shrimp (seriously).

What To Know: A block away from U.S. Cellular Field, picnic benches out front, cash only.

4

Johnny O's

3461 S Morgan St
MAP

What To Get: Hot Dog, Polish Sausage, Mother-In-Law (tamale in hot dog bun with chili, onions, tomato, sport peppers).

What To Know: Present location open since 1970, walk-up window plus a small outdoor patio with tables.

5

Jim's Original Hot Dog

1250 S. Union Ave.
MAP

What To Get: Polish Sausage with grilled onions and mustard.

What To Know: Opened in 1939, claims to have created the original polish sausage, open 24/7.

6

Express Grill

1260 S Union Ave
MAP

What To Get: Polish Sausage with grilled onions and mustard.

What To Know: Located directly next to Jim’s Original, also claims to have created the original polish sausage, also open 24/7.

7

The Wiener's Circle

2622 N. Clark St.
MAP

What To Get: Char Dog, Cheddar Fries.

What To Know: Late-night antics aside The Wieners Circle has good food, picnic benches out front, open until 4am during week and 5am weekends.

8

Portillo's

River North
100 W. Ontario St.
8.3
MAP

What To Get: Char Dog, Cheese Fries, Chocolate Cake Shake.

What To Know: “Original “Dog House” stand opened 1963, current location opened 1994, family-friendly restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating, a national chain but still a classic.

9

Original Jimmy's Red Hots

4000 W Grand Ave
MAP

What To Get: Red Hot with fries, Polish with fries.

What To Know: Opened in 1954, they really hate ketchup, cash only.

10

Redhot Ranch

2072 N Western Ave.
MAP

What To Get: Hot dog with fries, side of cheese sauce for the fries.

What To Know: Open until 4am during week and 5am on weekends, cash only.

11

Murphy's Red Hots

1211 W. Belmont Ave.
MAP

What To Get: Red Hot, “Screamin’ To Be Eaten” Polish.

What To Know: Close to Wrigley Field, a few tables inside.

12

Byron's Hot Dogs

1701 W Lawrence Ave
MAP

What To Get: Hot Dog, Bratwurst.

What To Know: Opened in 1975, close to Wrigley Field, a few tables outside.

13

Wolfy's

2734 W Peterson Ave
MAP

What To Get: Hot Dog, Double-dog, Polish.

What To Know: Opened in 1967, family-friendly, seating inside.

14

Gene & Jude's

2720 River Rd
MAP

What To Get: Hot Dog with fries, Double-dog with fries.

What To Know: Opened in 1945, no seats, no ketchup, cash only.

15

Superdawg

Norwood Park
6363 N. Milwaukee Ave.
7.4
MAP

What To Get: Superdawg, Whoopskidawg, Sundae.

What To Know: Opened in 1948, classic drive-in, the plastic hot dogs on top represent original owners Maurie and Flaurie Berman.

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