This Weekend’s Chicago Essentials: Hunt for the Next Top Dog


There’s been a lot of talk lately concerning who’s going to be the successor to Hot Doug’s after the much-hyped hot dog stand serves its last round of wild boar sausage and duck fat fries on Friday. Wouldn’t it be nice if the same fanatical attention was given to H-Dogs–a similar concept in Bronzeville on the South Side? Owned by classically-trained chef Cliff Rome, the restaurant has been going strong for three years, specializing in gourmet hot dogs with standouts such as the Turducken Cobb Dog, a grilled “turducken” sausage with lettuce, tomato, chopped turkey bacon and bleu cheese dressing, as well as the Greek Town Dog of grilled lamb sausage topped with onions, tomatoes, and house-made tzatziki sauce. While the Greek Town Dog is obviously the hot dog version of the gyro, the Turducken Cobb Dog slickly gives those abstaining from red meat a delicious new alternative. Plus, it’s like Thanksgiving every day–though you still have to cook a turkey on November 27, so don’t get any ideas.

Yankee Doodle Dog

If you’d rather stump for a place showcasing hot dog styles from all over the country, America’s Dog should be at the top of your list. The menu always includes a classic Chicago-style hot dog, plus rotating selections such as the Dallas Dog (chili, onion and shredded cheddar cheese), Memphis Dog (BBQ sauce, pulled pork topped with fresh cole slaw) and San Francisco Dog (chili, mustard, ketchup, relish, onion, pickle, tomato, shredded cheddar cheese and celery salt). You can hit the road to seek out these dogs or check out one of four locations, including on Navy Pier.

In the House

There’s also Chicago’s Dog House, a fun little venue filled with cool reclaimed accents such as table tops made out of vintage bowling lanes and counters constructed from 100-year-old salvaged barn wood. You can go for signature dogs like the Midway Monster Hot Dog (Colby cheese, bacon and BBQ and hot giardiniera peppers) or one of the offbeat gourmet sausages made of buffalo, elk or BBQ smoked duck.

Got Game?

Speaking of unique sausages, Frontier smokes a number of gourmet game encased meats every night. If you’re adventurous, try sausage made of alpaca, lamb chorizo or pheasant andouille. What makes it even better is that chef Brian Jupiter tops off each sandwich with house-made bourbon onion jam, molasses mustard, caraway kraut and house giardinera.

Some Like it Haute

And Haute Sausage no doubt doles out some delicious dogs, but we love them because you can track them down on the road in a food truck as well as in a brick-and-mortar building in the Loop. That means that you’ll never have an issue finding them, so you can relish in chowing down on best sellers like the bacon guacamole (jumbo bacon sausage with roast poblano and grilled corn guacamole served with Merkts cheddar) and Corn Bread Gator that’s topped with housemade cornbread and jalapeño pineapple barbecue sauce.

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