Alternative Dining in CHicago
    
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#1
Posted December 26th 2008, 5:59pm
To me, the only dogs worth eating are natural casing (though I'll give Superdawg a pass)...unfortunately, they're getting harder and harder to find. Let's start a list of places that serve the "real thing".

Here's a few to start...

Poochies
Gene and Judes
Portillos
The Weiner Circle
Jimmy's
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#2
Posted December 26th 2008, 8:50pm
Chickie's
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#3
Posted December 26th 2008, 9:40pm
I had a nice one today at the Weiner and Still Champion.
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#4
Posted December 26th 2008, 11:41pm
Hot Doug's and Gold Coast
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#5
Posted December 27th 2008, 12:12am
Don't forget GNR fRedhot's and Fries in Glenview.

=R=

fRedhots and Fries
1707 Chestnut Ave
Glenview, IL 60025
847 657-9200
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#6
Posted December 27th 2008, 7:01am
Great natural casing one in Buffalo Grove at Wiener Take All.
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#7
Posted December 27th 2008, 7:32am
The Vienna Beef Factory Store and Cafe. Natural casing hot dogs and Polish can also be purchased by the case or by the pound.
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#8
Posted December 27th 2008, 7:34pm
Phil wrote:Hot Doug's and Gold Coast

Be careful which Gold Coast Dogs you go to. As I mentioned earlier this year, the one at 159 N Wabash serves a natural casing dog but the GCD at 17 S Wabash uses skinless.

Gold Coast Dogs, 159 N Wabash
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Gold Coast Dogs, 17 S Wabash
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Gold Coast Dogs
159 N Wabash Av
Chicago
312-917-1677

Gold Coast Dogs
17 S Wabash Av
Chicago
312-578-1133
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#9
Posted December 27th 2008, 8:37pm
It's a shame that one of the foods Chicago is known for is hot dogs, and 80% of the food establishments serve terrible hot dogs. I'm sure the skinless hot dogs are cheaper to purchase. If I want a skinless hot dog, I'll just buy a pack at Jewel.
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#10
Posted December 27th 2008, 11:05pm
Herm's Palace
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"You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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#11
Posted December 28th 2008, 2:56am
Fast Track, at Desplaines & Lake St., and Gold Coast Dogs (Ogilvie Transportation Center).
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#12
Posted December 28th 2008, 10:07am
Gina's Hot Dog & Beef

1222 W Irving Park Rd
Bensenville, IL 60106

(630) 766-1841‎
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#13
Posted December 28th 2008, 7:43pm
PreFlopRaise13 wrote:Gina's Hot Dog & Beef

1222 W Irving Park Rd
Bensenville, IL 60106

(630) 766-1841‎


And great fries to go along with it.
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#14
Posted December 29th 2008, 9:03am
Very nice idea. A few I can think of:

Little Joe's in Countryside. Very good sausage and beef, too.

Joe's Place in Westchester. Gene and Jude's knockoff. Not as good as the original but passable when I don't feel like making the trek.

Jim's Original on Union. Standard order- Polish with everything and a hot dog with mustard and peppers only.

Little Joe's
20 E Plainfield Rd
(between La Grange Rd & Madison Ave)
Countryside, IL 60525

Joe's Place
1551 Westchester Blvd
Westchester, IL 60154

Jim's Original
1250 S Union Ave
Chicago, IL 60607
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#15
Posted December 29th 2008, 4:37pm
At Poochie's, fRedhots, WASC, and the N. Wabash Gold Coast Dogs (the places that are more on my "route"), is it necessary to ask for a certain kind of dog to get natural casing, or is any hot dog you get there going to be that kind?
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#16
Posted December 29th 2008, 4:42pm
our standard dog is natural casing...so you don't have to ask for anything out of the ordinary. Same thing for Freds and Poochies.
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#17
Posted December 30th 2008, 10:57am
midas wrote:
PreFlopRaise13 wrote:Gina's Hot Dog & Beef

1222 W Irving Park Rd
Bensenville, IL 60106

(630) 766-1841‎


And great fries to go along with it.
After reading about it here, I tried Gina's yesterday. The hot dog is the smallest natural casing dog Vienna offers, which I think Demon Dogs used to have. A double dog is probably the better option. It still had some snap and that beats the alternative anyday. The fries were great, hand cut, freshly made to order every time. They come with your hot dog, but I had to get an extra order after quickly eating mine. A nice, affordable little joint. Thanks guys! :)
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#18
Posted December 30th 2008, 1:55pm
Ram4 wrote:
midas wrote:
PreFlopRaise13 wrote:Gina's Hot Dog & Beef

1222 W Irving Park Rd
Bensenville, IL 60106

(630) 766-1841‎


And great fries to go along with it.
After reading about it here, I tried Gina's yesterday. The hot dog is the smallest natural casing dog Vienna offers, which I think Demon Dogs used to have. A double dog is probably the better option. It still had some snap and that beats the alternative anyday. The fries were great, hand cut, freshly made to order every time. They come with your hot dog, but I had to get an extra order after quickly eating mine. A nice, affordable little joint. Thanks guys! :)


I went to Gina's yesterday also. I had my usual. 2 dogs with everything. My only complaint was the Pepsi fountain drinks. To my surprise, Gina's recently changed to Coke products. :D
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#19
Posted December 30th 2008, 5:37pm
Ram4 wrote:After reading about it here, I tried Gina's yesterday. The hot dog is the smallest natural casing dog Vienna offers, which I think Demon Dogs used to have. A double dog is probably the better option. It still had some snap and that beats the alternative anyday. The fries were great, hand cut, freshly made to order every time. They come with your hot dog, but I had to get an extra order after quickly eating mine. A nice, affordable little joint. Thanks guys! :)


Glad to hear you enjoyed it. Frankly, I can't comment on the dogs themselves since I always get the Polish. Lots of people don't care for the style, but I love them deep fried.

Just be warned, it can get VERY crowded. I either go early or plan that I might need to eat in my car.
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#20
Posted December 31st 2008, 2:16pm
midas wrote:
Ram4 wrote:After reading about it here, I tried Gina's yesterday. The hot dog is the smallest natural casing dog Vienna offers, which I think Demon Dogs used to have. A double dog is probably the better option. It still had some snap and that beats the alternative anyday. The fries were great, hand cut, freshly made to order every time. They come with your hot dog, but I had to get an extra order after quickly eating mine. A nice, affordable little joint. Thanks guys! :)


Glad to hear you enjoyed it. Frankly, I can't comment on the dogs themselves since I always get the Polish. Lots of people don't care for the style, but I love them deep fried.

Just be warned, it can get VERY crowded. I either go early or plan that I might need to eat in my car.
Thanks for the warning. When I was there it was practically empty (around 2:00) so I'll try to stick with the non-peak hours and avoid the rush.
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#21
Posted January 6th 2009, 2:18pm
Dear Frank's
843 Waukegan Rd
Deerfield, IL 60015
(847) 945-6666
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#22
Posted October 21st 2009, 9:19pm
I’ve been stopping at the River North branch of Portillo’s two or three times a month, the past several months – eating, mostly, hot dogs – but sometimes a beef sandwich. I’m still grieving over the loss (from my new neighborhood) of Fast Track hot dogs on Lake St. (near my “old” office location) – damn good hot dogs there.

The weather was so good this afternoon I walked over to the Gold Coast Dogs branch on N. Wabash Ave. (between Randolph and Lake Streets), to satisfy my urge for a good hot dog.

Gold Coast Dogs – N. Wabash Ave.

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Portillo’s – River North

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They’re both good dogs, but I thought the flavoring/taste of the Gold Cost Dogs dog was better than the several dogs I’ve had recently at Portillo’s. I sensed, though, that the Portillo’s meat and bun were slightly fresher – probably because of quick turnover at Portillo’s due to the higher (than Gold Coast’s) volume of business.
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#23
Posted April 30th 2010, 9:00am
I wanted to highlight a couple places doing it right in the Western burbs. It drives me absolutely nuts that so many dog stands treat their staple item as an afterthought. They serve skinless waterlogged dogs with BS fries dumped out of a bag. These places usually have menus featuring everything from philly cheesesteaks and chicken gyros to sub sandwiches and mostacolli. Most of the time it's not bad, it's just that, well, it's not very good either. They go by names like Andy's Hot Dogs or Barry's Beef. The problem is they don’t specialize. Barry’s beef is usually no different than Andy’s since they use the same foodservice company to supply them.

I'm a dogman. It started at C & C Carry Outs in La Grange Park where I remember my dad chatting up the guy at the counter while I was elbow deep in a snapper and fries. After they went out of business it was and has been Little Joe's in Countryside. They have a good snappy dog served with decent crinkle cut fries but I'm always on the lookout for new meat, so to speak. I came across 2 places in the last couple months that are serving an old fashioned natural casing dog with fresh cut fries, you know, the right way. Both have smallish menus enabling specialization.

The first place is Mawell's Beef at 63rd and Woodward (not to be confused with Maxwell's on 63rd and Cass which has good fresh cut fries and good shakes but just an ok dog). It's not new but for some reason I had never made it over by there until recently. They have a good snappy dog and excellent fries. A lot of times when you carryout fresh cut fries they steam on the way home and by the time you open them up, it can be a mushy mess. These fries are pretty crispy and maintain their texture on the ride. $3 gets you a dog and a pile of really good fries. Their burgers looked legit too but I have yet to try one. They use what appeared to be hand packed ground beef cooked on the griddle. It's a nice place to have close to work if I get the hankering.

The other is Best Windy City Hot Dogs in La Grange Park. They also feature a snapper and fresh cut fries. Their fries are much thinner than the Jimmy's or Gene and Jude's fresh cuts that I'm used to but damned tasty. I've had their dogs a couple of times and they are above average. I also found myself there once on a Lenten Friday so I gave their fish sandwich a whirl. They took pieces of cod, put a light batter on it, deep fried it and served it with a homemade tartar sauce. I was impressed with the attention to keeping things as fresh as possible.

In a sea of fast food joints churning out decent but uninspired food I just wanted to point out 2 joints that seem to get it. I'd recommend either if you're in the area.

Maxwell's Beef
2003 63rd St
Downers Grove, IL 60516

Best Windy City Hot Dogs
403 N La Grange Rd
La Grange Park, IL 60526
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#24
Posted April 30th 2010, 12:33pm
Nana's Hot Dogs in Addison was a pleasant surprise when I was on a tight budget last year. They are similar to Gina's, with a small, but tasty 10-1 dog, and similar to Gene and Jude's where they put the fries on top of the hot dog and wrap them together. Great fresh cut fries too.

Nana's Hot Dogs
1465 Lake St
Addison IL 60101
(630) 889-8600
I believe they now have a Streamwood location on Irving Park as well.

Wolfy's Northbrook location has one of the best hot dog joint burgers you'll find and it's only available at this location due to butcher logistics. The hot dogs are the classic natural casing variety. Fries are frozen, no frills.

Wolfy's
873 Sanders Rd
Northbrook, IL 60062
(847) 272-1177
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#25
Posted April 30th 2010, 4:42pm
Ram4 wrote:Wolfy's Northbrook location has one of the best hot dog joint burgers you'll find and it's only available at this location due to butcher logistics.


The same is true of their excellent grilled salami.
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#26
Posted May 3rd 2010, 1:32am
Let me add Redhot Ranch on Western. The top of my current late night go-to spot. One of the best dogs I've had in a long time and outstanding fries. The scrimps are no joke either. Let's keep this place open!
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#27
Posted May 3rd 2010, 4:38pm
mrefjl wrote:Let me add Redhot Ranch on Western. The top of my current late night go-to spot....Let's keep this place open!


Uh...Yes. In terms of that north side area, I'm not aware of another hot dog stand that currently offers the minimalist style hot dog and fresh cut fries. The guys in there are extremely nice - at least when i've been - and the dogs have been great. Open til 4 am during weekdays, 5 am Fri-Sat. Yes sir.

I (we) need this place to stay open...driving out to Jimmy's or Gene and Jude's can be fun, but this place is doing a phenomenal job of filling this awful hot dog dead zone that we have up here.

Everyone go there this week.
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#28
Posted June 30th 2010, 2:12pm
Ram4 wrote:
midas wrote:
Ram4 wrote:After reading about it here, I tried Gina's yesterday. The hot dog is the smallest natural casing dog Vienna offers, which I think Demon Dogs used to have. A double dog is probably the better option. It still had some snap and that beats the alternative anyday. The fries were great, hand cut, freshly made to order every time. They come with your hot dog, but I had to get an extra order after quickly eating mine. A nice, affordable little joint. Thanks guys! :)


Glad to hear you enjoyed it. Frankly, I can't comment on the dogs themselves since I always get the Polish. Lots of people don't care for the style, but I love them deep fried.

Just be warned, it can get VERY crowded. I either go early or plan that I might need to eat in my car.
Thanks for the warning. When I was there it was practically empty (around 2:00) so I'll try to stick with the non-peak hours and avoid the rush.



$2.25 for a hot dog and really excellent hand-cut fries at Gina's:

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If this humble a place can serve such good hand cut fries at this price, there is really no excuse for the crappy frozen garbage that abounds.
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#29
Posted June 30th 2010, 3:22pm
But think of how much money they saving on poppy seeds.
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#30
Posted June 30th 2010, 3:40pm
scottsol wrote:But think of how much money they saving on poppy seeds.

:)
You'll notice I commented on the fries and said not a word about the hot dog. Not because there was anything wrong with it, but because I'm far from knowledgeable about hot dog lore or protocol. Poppy seeds vs. non poppy seeds, natural casing vs. unnatural casing. 10:1 vs 8:1 or some other ratio. Whatever. It's basically just ballpark food in my life. I even put ketchup on the things sometimes.
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