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15 Top-Rated Spots For Chicago-Style Hot Dogs In The Windy City

array of Chicago hot dogs
array of Chicago hot dogs - Static Media / Shutterstock

When thinking of Chicago, one of the first foods people probably associate with this city is the hot dog. And not just any hot dog, but a Chicago-style hot dog. It makes sense why this food is well-known in the Windy City, as the hot dog has been popular in Chicago for more than 100 years. Over time, the city developed its unique style of hot dog, and nowadays Chicago produces some of the best hot dogs in America.

What exactly makes a hot dog Chicago-style? No ketchup in sight. Traditionally, Chicago-style hot dogs are made with a beef link in a poppyseed bun, and are topped with peppers, a pickle, green relish, mustard, onion, tomato and celery salt. Did we mention no ketchup? This mashup of flavors forms the perfect mix of sweet and savory.

The Chicago hot dog is part of the city's culture; at a Chicago Cubs baseball game, you'll likely see many people in the crowd enjoying one. If you ask people across the city about their favorite spot for this classic handheld meal, there's bound to be debate. Being from the Chicago area, I have visited several famous hot dog spots citywide, and each one brings its own unique take on the dog. Many of these establishments have been in business for decades, and Chicagoans have memories going to them since they were kids. Find out why — here are some top-rated spots for Chicago-style hot dogs in the Windy City.

Read more: Common Mistakes Everyone Makes With Hot Dogs

The Wieners Circle

Wieners Circle hot dog
Wieners Circle hot dog - The Wiener's Circle / Facebook

The Wieners Circle is among the most well-known hot dog spots in Chicago. This is partially due to its pop-culture-related signage, but also for its unique form of customer service. When ordering in-person, customers are welcomed with some good-humored insults. That salty service is a fun part of the experience, and the reward is the delicious food that awaits you.

When ordering a hot dog, try it steamed or charred. The Char Dog is a popular choice for Chicagoans, and comes with the traditional Chicago toppings, but for an additional charge, add cheese and/or chili to take this meal to the next level. Pair it with some cheddar fries, and you'll be living your best Chicago life. Stop by for a pick-up order or take a seat and enjoy dining in. Be sure to grab a mixed drink, from the Wiener Slammer (a concoction of bourbon, cognac, and amaretto with orange juice and blackberry) to the Chicago Style Dirty Martini, made with vodka, olives and pickle brine.

Hate that feeling of craving a certain meal, but the restaurant is already closed? That's a rare issue at The Wieners Circle. Open until 2 a.m. at the earliest, and 4 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, it's rarely too late to stop by. In addition to ordering at the restaurant, it also offers delivery, but that is less likely to come with a side of colorful language when ordering.

wienerscirclechicago.com

(773) 477-7444

2622 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614

Fatso's Last Stand

Fatso's Last Stand hot dogs
Fatso's Last Stand hot dogs - fatsoslaststand / Instagram

When craving a great hot dog, Fatso's Last Stand is a perfect spot to visit. Hot dogs here are only charred, not steamed. It has the expected Chicago toppings, but additional menu options as well, from the Char Cheddar Dog to the Double Char Dog to the Chili Dog. Also, this may be a Chicago-focused article, but we have to highlight Fred's NYC Char Dog too, prepared with spicy mustard and sauerkraut.

Fatso's has two locations in the city, in Ukrainian Village and Lincoln Park. While it's likely to see a few picnic tables outside during the warmer months, this restaurant has more of a pick-up and go vibe. Both locations open at 11 a.m., making this a perfect place to stop by for an early lunch. For those looking for second dinner, the Ukrainian Village location is open until 10 p.m. Nighttime diners will see the glorious glow from the giant yellow sign beckoning as you get closer.

And while we're focusing on hot dogs here, it is worth mentioning that Fatso's offers incredible burgers as well, prepared char-grilled or smashed.

fatsoslaststand.com

Multiple locations

Devil Dawgs

Devil Dawgs hot dog
Devil Dawgs hot dog - devil.dawgs / Instagram

Devil Dawgs respects Chicago classics, but brings its own spin to these favorites. After launching a single location near DePaul University in 2010, the establishment now has five restaurants across Chicago. What makes this spot so good? Its menu is full of unique options that bring hot dogs to a whole new level. From the Taco Dog (featuring chili, pico de gallo and tortilla strips) to the Bacon Cheddar Dog, it's impossible to go wrong when ordering. Also be sure to try one of the namesake Devil Dawgs, built around a spicy all-beef sausage to give your meal an extra kick.

While ordering delivery is an option, it's worth stopping by the restaurant to see the decor. When walking in the door, customers are greeted by cool graffiti featuring the devil, to stay on brand, along with Chicago highlights. Some locations have more seating than others, so be sure to check that out before deciding whether to eat there or grab on-the-go.

devildawgs.com

Multiple locations

Gene & Jude's

Gene & Jude's hot dog
Gene & Jude's hot dog - geneandjudeschicago / Instagram

For this next spot, it's time to travel just beyond Chicago's city limits to River Grove. Gene and Jude's has been around since 1946, when it was originally a downtown Chicago hot dog stand. It then relocated to River Grove in 1950 and has been there ever since. Gene & Jude's restaurant can be summed up perfectly by the slogan on its website, "No seats. No ketchup. No pretense. No nonsense." Knowing this, the menu should not be a surprise. There are only four items available, proving this is a quality-over-quantity type of establishment.

The menu starts off with the hot dog (featuring mustard, relish, onion, and sport peppers), then offers a double dog with the same toppings, fries, and a corn roll tamale. Simple and delicious. Customers don't mind the drive because the food is amazing.

geneandjudes.com

(708) 452-7634

2720 N River Rd, River Grove, IL 60171

Kim And Carlo's

Kim and Carlo's hot dog
Kim and Carlo's hot dog - Kim And Carlo's Chicago Style Hot Dogs / Facebook

Ah, the classic hot dog stand. Kim and Carlo's hot dog stand is like one you would picture in a big city in the movies. You stop by on-the-go, and already have your order in hand as you're paying. The employees work fast and offer delicious hot dogs. The usual location near the Field Museum is a perfect site for locals and tourists alike. There is also a second stand frequently sited in Eckhart Park. When ordering, the traditional Chicago topping options are available, but feel free to add chili, sauerkraut, or an extra pickle spear (a must).

While Kim and Carlo's offers the classic hot dog option, it also features a vegan alternative. And for the rebels out there, ketchup is available as an add-on, but there is a catch. As seen on Yelp, the hot dog stand's sign states, "Ketchup is free, but it is only available by special request. ... You must dance for ketchup. We are serious."

facebook.com/kimandcarloshotdogs

Multiple locations

Portillo's

Portillo's hot dogs and fries
Portillo's hot dogs and fries - portilloshotdogs / Instagram

Providing some of the best cheap eats in Chicago, Portillo's is a well-known hot dog shop with locations across the city and Illinois. It even has locations out of state, in Florida, Texas, California, and beyond. Its white-and-red striped bag with the literal dog logo is iconic, and the ordering options are virtually endless.

Try the Jumbo Hot Dog, or take it up a notch with the Jumbo Chili Cheese Dog. The Char-Grilled Maxwell Street Polish Sausage includes all the yellow mustard and grilled onions. Portillo's also has a Plant-Based Garden Dog, perfect for those looking for a meat-free option.

We'd be remiss if we didn't mention a few of the non-hot-dog items at this famous spot. It feels very important to try the Italian beef sandwich. While this can be enjoyed as-is, order this sandwich "dipped" to have it fully submerged in Portillo's gravy. Also, for those with a sweet tooth, Portillo's chocolate cake is an absolute must. So rich with the perfect chocolate frosting, you'll be ordering a second slice to take with you. Portillo's also has one of the greatest creations of all time: the Chocolate Cake Shake. Just let that one sink it for a moment.

portillos.com

Multiple locations

Flub A Dub Chub's

Flub A Dub Chub's
Flub A Dub Chub's - flubadubchughotdogs / Instagram

Flub A Dub Chub's is worth a visit for their name alone, but it helps that it has really good food as well. Stop by for the Chicago hot dog and chips for the perfect combo. There's also the Chihuahua, which is a bacon-wrapped hot dog with avocado, pico de gallo, and sour cream. In addition, the restaurant cooks up a bratwurst, a Reuben-style hot dog, and The Willie Dog — a Chicago-style vegan hot dog. There's also a corn dog option, so go live your best childhood life with that one.

While ordering delivery is an option, it's a fun spot for dining in. Upon entering, customers experience a 1950s diner vibe, including the black-and-while tile floors and red seating at each table. Among the decor, it's hard to miss the wall of shame. There is an option to order ketchup on your hot dog here, but in that case, you will have your photo taken and added to the wall of shame. Choose wisely.

flubadubchub.com

(773) 857-6500

3021 N Broadway, Chicago, IL 60657

Jimmy's Red Hots

Jimmy's Red Hots double dog
Jimmy's Red Hots double dog - jimmysredhots / Instagram

"No Ketchup Since 1954" is highlighted on the Jimmy's Red Hots website. This is a true Chicago spot located in the West Side's Humboldt Park neighborhood. Family owned, Jimmy's Red Hots is known for its "Depression style" hot dogs, described as topped with "yellow mustard, chopped white onions, sweet pickle relish, a dill pickle spear, and sport peppers." Here hot dogs are served on a steamed bun, like a comforting blanket that happens to also be very delicious. The Veggie Dog and Polish sausages are ready to order as well. For those looking for some extra spice, Jimmy's recommends adding its Habanero Hot Sauce, which is made fresh on-site. This spot plans to soon sell this hot sauce by the bottle, to be taken home for anytime you have the craving.

When you walk into Jimmy's, you can't help but feel transported back in time. The long counter surrounded by brick walls makes it feel like you are about to taste something authentic. There is counter seating available, but you'll most likely take your dog to-go.

jimmysredhotschicago.com

(773) 384-9513

4000 W Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60651

Al's #1 Italian Beef

Al's Beef hot dog
Al's Beef hot dog - alsbeef / Instagram

Al's #1 Italian Beef is a famous spot that many may have heard of even if they're not living in Chicago. With locations in the city and in the suburbs of Chicago, it's easy to find, and Al's even partners with Goldbelly for nationwide shipping. The news of Al's has definitely reached celebrities, as you'll see on its Wall of Fame. From Guy Fieri to Bobby Flay, Anthony Bourdain, and even Mr. T, Al's Beef is definitely popular.

While this restaurant is one of the best spots for Italian beef sandwiches in Chicago, Al's also offers hot dog options, including the Original, the Chicago Dog, the Cheese Dog, and the Chili Cheese Dog. All are served with fries to provide the perfect meal. If you plan to visit Al's, be sure to check the hours of your chosen site, as not all locations are open at the same times.

alsbeef.com

Multiple locations

Paradise Pup

Paradise Pup
Paradise Pup - Paradise Pup / Facebook

We had to include another spot that Guy Fieri visited, Paradise Pup. This restaurant was featured on "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" and is most famous for its char burgers, but the hot dogs are a very popular item too. Try the namesake Paradise Pup red hot or the Char Pup to get that charred hot dog flavor. There's also a Cheddar Pup and a Char Jumbo Dog. We have to shout out the desserts here too — sorry not sorry. Beyond classic milkshake flavors like vanilla and chocolate, you can also try chocolate banana, red raspberry, and Oreo flavored shakes, and even a root beer float.

Drive over to Des Plaines, just north of O'Hare airport, to try all this goodness. There could be a line, but that's a good sign. There is typically outdoor seating, but limited counter space indoors, so keep that in mind if you are stopping by in winter. Also note that Paradise Pup is closed on Sundays, only open until 5 p.m. the rest of the week, and is a cash-only business.

instagram.com/paradise_pup

(847) 699-8590

1724 S River Rd, Des Plaines, IL 60018

Chicago's Doghouse

food from Chicago's Doghouse
food from Chicago's Doghouse - chicagosdoghouse / Instagram

Looking for a unique hot dog you haven't tried before? Chicago's Doghouse is the next stop. Of course you'll find the Chicago-style hot dog here in all its glory. There is even a hot dog with ketchup, the Blagojevich Dog ... but it is named after a former governor of Illinois who was impeached and convicted, so you may feel guilty for ordering that one.

Chicago's Doghouse has specialty menu options that bring unique flavors together, like the Snoop Dog with homemade chorizo, beef chili, cheddar cheese, and onions. Or go for sweet flavors and try the Obama Dog with pineapple salsa, bacon, and teriyaki sauce. Feeling spicy? It's time for the Clifford The Big Red Dog, topped with Flaming Hot Cheetos and melted cheese.

That may all sound wild already, but this spot also has gourmet sausage options that are not for the faint of heart. You'll find an alligator sausage corn dog and a rattlesnake-and-rabbit sausage with BBQ sauce. Did we mention the Apple Brandy Duck Sausage with Dijon mustard and caramelized onions?

original-chicagos-doghouse.brygid.online

(773) 248-3647

816 W Fullerton Ave, Chicago, IL 60614

Clark Street Dog

Clark Street Dog hot dogs
Clark Street Dog hot dogs - Clark St Dog / Facebook

Clark Street Dog, located in the Lake View neighborhood, is known for its signature Clark Street Hot Dog, which has the Chicago favorites of mustard, onions, relish, tomato, pickle, and sport peppers. There's also a cheese dog, a chili dog, and a corn dog you cannot pass up. Plant-based eaters can try the veggie hot dog option, and we highly recommend adding sides like the mozzarella sticks. Desserts include the Chocolate Hazelnut Deep Fried Dough Bites, so come here ready to eat.

After all that eating, a drink may sound perfect. Clark Street Dog has a full bar, and on the website the proprietors claim to be "the original home of the Pickle-Back Shot," having come up with this idea when figuring out what to do with leftover pickle juice. The bar also features Chicago's own Goose Island beers on tap, so you will have all the Windy City feels when you step inside.

Stop by for a casual dinner, but also keep in mind that they host private parties as well; you can do a bar buyout or rent the outdoor patio.

clarkstdog.com

(773) 281-6690

3040 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60657

George's Hot Dogs

George's Hot Dogs menu options
George's Hot Dogs menu options - George's Hot Dogs / Facebook

George's Hot Dogs knows street food. Inspired by Greek and American cuisine, this place has been around since 1948, and is family-operated through four generations by now, so you know there's a lot of love behind the food. From sandwiches to burgers to Grecian salads, George's offers many options, but we're here for the hot dogs. Order a classic hot dog, or if you're hungry, it's time for the Double Dog. The chili-cheese dog on the menu is also a necessary order.

When walking into George's, you'll see a long counter and old fashioned Coca-Cola sign, giving glimpses to the restaurant's long history. There is seating available, or you can order for pick-up or delivery. Interested in working with George's for your next event? If you love hot dogs and Greek food, you're in the perfect spot for that. George's offers catering with a Chicago-Style Hot Dog Platter, along with a Gyro Platter, spanakopita spinach and feta pies, and a Homemade Baklava Tray.

georgeshotdogs.com

(773) 227-4034

1876 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

Byron's Hot Dogs

Byron's Hot Dogs
Byron's Hot Dogs - byronshotdogs / Instagram

Since 1975, Byron's Hot Dogs has been gifting us with delicious hot dogs. There are two locations in the city, both offering pick-up and delivery options. When looking at the menu, take a peek under sandwiches to find the hot dog offers. The debate over whether a hot dog is a sandwich or not continues, but Byron's has made its choice.

It sells classic cheese, chili, and corn dogs, and be sure to check out its specialty, the Dogzilla. The name may give it away, but this is a filling meal, so come prepared. You'll also find combo meal options so that you can pair your dog with some fries and a drink. The fare might sound simple, but Byron's has partnered with MasterClass to offer a limited-edition hot dog, so this place can tout some gourmet bona fides.

While the Irving Park location is small, they offer outdoor seating. If you go to the Lawrence Avenue restaurant, you'll have more seating inside — and the vibe gives off a retro, "Saved by the Bell" feel.

byronschicago.com

Multiple locations

Jim's Original

Jim's Original frontage
Jim's Original frontage - Jim's Original / Facebook

Jim's Original has been in business since 1939, and it's a historic piece of Chicago. Jim's is known for its hot dog and double hot dog, but we have to mention the hot dog's cousin, the Polish sausage. Jimmy Stefanovic, the namesake of Jim's, created the Maxwell Street Polish Sausage Sandwich in 1943, and this sandwich continues to be served at Jim's today. Food and Chicago history? Let's go. This sandwich has similar toppings to the hot dogs, including yellow salad mustard, grilled Spanish onions, and plenty of spicy sport peppers.

There are two locations in the city to visit. If you want to go to the original location, stop by South Union Avenue. There's no seating, but it's a cool experience to see the venerable stand. If dining in is the goal for the day, check out Jim's other restaurant on North Elston Avenue.

jimsoriginal.com

Multiple locations

Methodology

Chicago's Doghouse hot dog
Chicago's Doghouse hot dog - chicagosdoghouse / Instagram

This list is based on my visits to some locations, along with reviews for Chicago restaurants with popular hot dogs. We selected these eateries based on their overall quality as shared through customer reviews and local publications.

For those spots I haven't visited, I have reviewed some of the most popular restaurants in Chicago.

Not visiting Chicago anytime soon, but want to try this iconic Windy City hot dog? Here's our authentic Chicago-style hot dog recipe. Keep that ketchup away though.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.