City’s top 5 hot dogs — according to Chicagoans
CHICAGO — You suggested, you voted, you decided. Chicago is home to a generous number of hot dog stands, but of the 80+ submitted by our readers, five rose above the rest. Here are the city’s top five hot dogs in no particular order.
First opened in May of 1948, Superdawg® still stands at its original location (with most of its original building) at the corner of Milwaukee, Devon, and Nagle. Be careful not to call them “hot dogs” because though they look similar, Superdawgs are made specially for this World War II era restaurant which still uses a car-hop style ordering system.
Stop by their original location at 6363 N. Milwaukee Ave. or their second location at 333 S. Milwaukee Ave. in Wheeling.
Here’s some of what Superdawg’s fans said about the meaty treat:
I am Chicago born and raised, have tried so many hot dogs and hands down this is our family favorite for generations. The quality of the dog and the fries are different than anywhere else. Something about the flavor combo and the texture of the crinkle fries is perfection.
Just the taste of it and the aroma when you open the box and see that delicious hot dogs and the hot fries snuggled around the hot dog bun. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.
Been going there over 50 years and have tried all the classic hot dog places in Chicago and Superdawg still can’t be beat.
The Portillo’s story begins in 1963 when founder Dick Portillo opened The Dog House in Villa Park. That little hot dog stand has grown into a restaurant empire with more than 60 locations across several states.
While The Dog House no longer exists, there is a Portillo’s at 635 1/2 North Ave. in Villa Park, along with three locations inside the Chicago city limits and many more across the area.
Here are a few of the love notes written to us about Portillo’s:
So many options!!! All are SCRUMPTIOUS!!! I need a LARGER STOMACH!!!!
I love a good old fashioned Chicago style hot dog! I grew up in Chicago, and would go to Portillo’s quite often! What makes their hot dog special is the ingredients.
Portillo’s serves up a great all beef jumbo hot dog loaded with chili, cheese and onions. Who needs a garden on a hot dog when you can go with a true classic. Not sure why the chili dog does not get more media attention.
Jimmy’s Red Hots
Yes it was a man named Jimmy who first opened Jimmy’s Red Hots in 1954, and not much has changed since. The traditional hot dog stand still operates at its original location at Grand Ave. and Pulaski and continues to be family owned and operated.
Take a bite out of history at 4000 W. Grand Ave. seven days a week.
Here’s what some of this stand’s lifelong fans wrote to us:
Five generations of my family passed through Jimmy’s. First my polish great grandfather and now my Puerto Rican 4 year old who can’t understand why her hotdog doesn’t come with ketchup. She’ll learn how to eat this hot dog the true Chicagoan way.
My entire family knows about Jimmy’s and can’t / won’t go anywhere else.
A true Red Hot, this Chicago style dog is worth the trip and wait. Jimmy’s is always a hit no matter the day, no matter the time!
Fat Johnnie’s Hot Dogs
High-class is not a term you’ll ever hear to describe Fat Johnnie’s Hot Dogs, but delicious? You better believe it. This tiny hot dog stand is not much more than a shack constructed next to the house the Fat Johnnie himself grew up in. First opened in 1972, this single window of service has kept its customers hot dog happy.
Stop by the stand at 7242 S Western Ave. Monday through Saturday.
Here’s a taste of what devoted Fat Johnnie fans wrote as to why it’s the best:
It’s old school Chicago style establishment, genuine Chicago style hot dog, affordable price, and great experience. Anyone and everyone can share a meal at Fat Johnnie’s. A great Southwest Side tradition.
I go at least twice a year best EVER HOT DOG. THE BEST
The chili dog and mother in law are great. Grew up around there in the 70’s it’s still the same quality.
Gene & Jude’s
The first iteration of Gene & Jude’s came to life in 1946 at Western Ave. and Polk. Four years later the Chicago original relocated just outside the city limits to River Grove where it has remained since – though that didn’t stop many Chicagoans from making this their go-to for hot dogs.
There are exactly four items on their menu: a hot dog with fries, a double dog with fries, an order of fries, and a corn roll tamale. Oh, and there isn’t a drop of ketchup in the building.
Check them out at 2720 N. River Rd. in River Grove.
Here is just a sampling of the incredible fandom who wrote to us about the hot dog stand:
Anyone who religiously go there affectionately call them ‘rubber dogs.’ The onions are so strong on them that the aroma will linger in your car for a day or two.
My grandparents and aunts & uncles ate there. My parents ate there. Now I bring my children to Gene & Jude’s to keep the tradition alive!!
Gene & Jude’s are the best hotdogs in the NATION!!! For A business to be open for 77years and only sale hotdogs & tamales makes this the KING OF DOGS!! The hotdogs is nice and juicy with a snap, the condiments are fresh, and last but not least the fries are outstanding
The whole experience from the parking lot to the ordering experience. The restaurant is nostalgic and old, like my 93 year old mother went there when she was dating my dad. I’m 58yrs old and have gone since I was a child. Great place you must try it!!! Yummy 😋
(Please note, WGN News Now reached out to Gene and Jude’s but did not hear back)
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