Best Hot Dogs in Chicago? You Might Be Surprised

by Dr. Jessie Voigts /
Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture
Sep 13, 2012 / 0 comments

ALAS!! Now Closed, as of October, 2014.


It’s on a busy street, part residential, part business. If you don’t catch the address numbers, you will certainly be able to find it from the long line stretching around the block. And, they have the best hot dogs in Chicago – and some rather unusual offerings, as well.

Best hot dogs in Chicago? That’s a pretty big claim, in a city known for its great hot dogs.


Hot Doug’s, located in the Avondale neighborhood, is one Chicago foodie find you must seek out. Not only does Doug himself run the register (look for the cool glasses & hip persona, unusual for a hot dog joint), but the menu is, to put it mildly, an epicurean feast. The long lines? Chicagoans and visitors in the know – and they’ll be waiting there, even in the bone-chilling winds of winter. You can park for free along the street, and walk up – but be sure to drop someone in your party off, to hold your places in line.


Hot Doug's


Doug’s menu is both eclectic and delicious. There are unique meats featured (bison, duck, alligator, rattlesnake) but don’t let those scare you off. There’s the traditional Chicago Dog – a great standard. But it is the diversity of offerings (and the hilarious names) that will keep you pondering exactly WHAT you’ll order, as you’re standing in line. You could order the Elvis, and get a smoked, savory polish sausage. Want a twist on that? Get the Paul Kelly – a brat soaked in beer (sort of like Paul, the menu states). Love Italian sausage? You’ll laugh at the name: The Sal Tessio (formerly the Frankie Pentangeli, the Virgil Soliozzo, and the Luca Brasi). Leaning toward a little heat? Try the Anna Kendrick (formerly the Kiera Knightly, the Jennifer Garner, and the Britney Spears). As you can see, Doug has a wicked sense of humor. There are Thuringer sausages, vegetarian dogs, chicken sausages, delicious fries, and even offerings for picky kids. So, that’s the regular menu.


How about specials? This is where Doug shines, and why his reputation keeps soaring. Look for the weekly game sausage – it might be a roasted garlic, marsala and provolone smoked wild boar sausage with sun dried tomato mustard, double crème brie, and crispy fried onions. See? Told you. Look a little bit further down the specials menu. How about a bruschetta, mushroom, and beer chicken sausage with pesto aioli, roma tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella cheese? A Swiss-cheese stuffed smoked pork and beef knockwurst with sweet and hot mustard and hickory-smoked Swiss cheese? A Ribeye steak sausage with horseradish cream sauce, carmelized onions, and Carrigalene smoked farmhouse cheese? A jerk pork sausage with prickly pear mayonnaise, fried plantains, and smoked gouda cheese? A cherry-infused venison sausage, with pumpkin cream sauce and Bonvallis Mahon cheese? The list goes on, and on. And you can see that the cool, bespectacled guy at the counter is really a master chef in disguise. He’s found his niche, and his creations show not only genius, but a sense of humor.


A few details: Cash only, no saving tables (for some reason, there will always be a table opening up as your order finishes), handicap accessible, and PLEASE – if it’s the weekend, get the duck fat frites. You’ll thank me.


Hot Doug’s – the sausage superstore and encased meat emporium

3324 N California, Chicago, IL 60618


Hot Doug's on Urbanspoon



Unusual hot dogs - and duck fat frites - at Hot Doug's

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