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Chicago Hot Dog Crawl

Marcus Nilsson Chicago hot dogs

Photo: Marcus Nilsson

Ever since Austro-Hungarian immigrants Emil Reichel and Sam Ladany introduced Vienna-style sausages at Chicago’s 1893 World’s Fair, “wieners,” also known as red hots, have been the city’s essential food on the go. Chicago dogs aren’t just served, they’re built. The frank is laid on a poppy-seed bun, then layered with condiments: yellow mustard, kryptonite-green sweet relish, nibble-sized sport peppers, and a dash of celery salt. If you want the extras—tomato wedges, a dill pickle spear, diced onion—order your pup “dragged through the garden.” When the gods are with you, you’ll experience what food critic Jonathan Gold has called “a steamy thing with a snap not unlike a plucked cello string and a heavenly rush of garlicky juice.” So let the wiener festspiel begin.
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Destinations: Chicago · Lincoln Park · River North · Lakeview · Avondale

Themes: Food + Drink

Inspired by: Chicago’s Hottest Dogs — by Francine Maroukian, Published Jun. 2007

Hotels (2)

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    The James, Chicago

    Opened in April 2006, The James marries a residential vibe to a hotel setting. To evoke an apartment style, all of the 297 contemporary rooms have

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  • 201101-a-hotel-peninsula-chicago_standard_thumb

    The Peninsula Chicago

    As you walk into the Peninsula, the concierge and receptionist greet you by name; classical music plays when you enter one of the 339 rooms; and yo

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Restaurants (7)

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    Portillo's

    Founder Dick Portillo began serving his delicious Chicago-style hot dogs out of a trailer back in 1963, and now this legendary franchise has nearly

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    Byron’s

    This little rectangular, white building with big yellow signs near the Sheridan El stop on Irving Park Road is popular with baseball fans headed to

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    Wolfy’s

    Since it first opened in 1967, Wolfy's has been known for its take on the traditional Chicago-style hot dog. The diner has a retro look, with red -

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    Wieners Circle

    Don't be fooled by its shabby appearance. When Danny Meyer was developing the Shake Shack menu, he turned to this 1980s strip-mall relic for frankf

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    Superdawg Drive-in

    Chicago hot-dog lovers tend to lie in one of two camps—the newfangled spot Hot Doug's or this Windy City classic. Superdawg is an old-school, 1950s

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    Hot Doug's

    "The Sausage Superstore and Encased Meat Emporium" is how Doug's describes itself, so you know it takes the item between the bun most seriously. Th

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    Murphy’s Red Hots

    In the mid 1980s, Bill Murphy opened a hotdog stand in Lakeview to put himself through architect school. Soon after, though, he realized his callin

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