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Hot Doug's--I'm A Believer!

Hot Doug's--I'm A Believer!
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  • Post #61 - February 22nd, 2005, 5:51 pm
    Post #61 - February 22nd, 2005, 5:51 pm Post #61 - February 22nd, 2005, 5:51 pm
    KevinT wrote:The new Chicago Mag. has Hot Dougs in their top 10....


    Really :?: That's cool. In fact, I would say that the thing I like best about Hot Doug's is that it may, singularly be breaking the barrier between haute cuisine and street food. I was at Hot Doug's yesterday, and on a mere Monday, abeit a federal holiday Monday, the place was packed, absolutely packed. It seems so New York. So UNLIKE Chicago that people would be lining up just for various sausages. That's what I like about Hot Doug's.

    What do I not like about Hot Doug's? Well, to be frank, it is not like I dislike the place. All the things that are cited in its favor, the variety, the well execution, the over-sized personality of Doug, are things worth lauding. Still, I guess since the place does have high expectations, does do a killer biz, is SO hot, I can be more picky.

    Yesterday, we had the thuringer and the merguez style lamb sausage. Both were good in a good sausage kinda way, but neither blew me away as an exercise in sausage-ocity. They were no where close to being as exquisit as the home-made sausge obtained at Miro's in Kenosha, nor where they, IMHO, as good as at the Berghoff (i.e., recent game sausage had there). Also, the regular week day fries, are nicely crisp, but the just lack the potato intensity of say, Gene and Judes.

    Like I say, I am a bit torn overall. In some ways, I think I think of Hot Doug's the way others think of Freddy's in Cicero. I DO appreciate that Chicagoans are flocking to a place that is above average, that is not the same old same old, that is doing more than phoning it in. On the other hand, I DO wish it was as good as its hype warrants.

    Rob
  • Post #62 - February 22nd, 2005, 6:09 pm
    Post #62 - February 22nd, 2005, 6:09 pm Post #62 - February 22nd, 2005, 6:09 pm
    Snark wrote:This has always been a huge debate: Soaking brats in beer before, during or after cooking. Ive never heard a true conclusion as to which is best! As far as puncturing the casing - I would never do that but I can see how this would soak more of the marinade but then I would assume you would lose that viscious oil splattering pop in your mouth!


    A whole thread could be devoted to the "proper" cooking of brats, but I'm Stevez...grill (over medium-low coals) then beer/butter/onions.
  • Post #63 - February 22nd, 2005, 8:12 pm
    Post #63 - February 22nd, 2005, 8:12 pm Post #63 - February 22nd, 2005, 8:12 pm
    One thing I've noticed on my recent visits to Hot Doug's is that the quality of the meal (particularly the fries) really depends on how busy they are.

    I recently visited on a Friday afternoon and was pleasantly surprised that is wasn't packed. The result was the best Hot Doug's I've has since the reopening.
  • Post #64 - March 7th, 2005, 5:33 pm
    Post #64 - March 7th, 2005, 5:33 pm Post #64 - March 7th, 2005, 5:33 pm
    After a much anticipated journey to Hot Dougs today, I am happy to say the the meal lived up to the hype. We tried three different dogs as well as the cheese fries, and I can't wait to go back. This place is the real deal.

    ChefGEB
    chef de cuisine
    Avenues, The Peninsula Hotel
  • Post #65 - March 7th, 2005, 7:08 pm
    Post #65 - March 7th, 2005, 7:08 pm Post #65 - March 7th, 2005, 7:08 pm
    Vital Information wrote:Well, to be frank...
    Rob


    ha
  • Post #66 - September 30th, 2005, 9:15 am
    Post #66 - September 30th, 2005, 9:15 am Post #66 - September 30th, 2005, 9:15 am
    I didn't know under which Hot Doug's thread to post this, but this seemed as good as any.

    I was in Hot Doug's yesterday, and found out that they will be appearing on the new season of Check, Please! at the beginning of October. Sigh. Doug and some patrons were lamenting the fact that this place will be more overrun now than it already is. So, get your HD fix soon, because I can only imagine the lines the Saturday after the show debuts!
  • Post #67 - September 30th, 2005, 9:19 am
    Post #67 - September 30th, 2005, 9:19 am Post #67 - September 30th, 2005, 9:19 am
    I don't know that the "Check Please!" effect is palpable for places that are in heavy rotation in the NYTimes.
  • Post #68 - September 30th, 2005, 9:22 am
    Post #68 - September 30th, 2005, 9:22 am Post #68 - September 30th, 2005, 9:22 am
    On the plus side, Doug's is not a place where the service or food will suffer when there are long lines. He might get a little more tired (and this might be the incentive he needs to close on Mondays), but I doubt we'll see a drop in quality..

    My objections about Check Please are primarily that they turn a drop-in-unannounced restaurant into a make-reservations-two-weeks-ahead restaurant. Doug's isn't the former and will never be the latter, so, no big deal.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #69 - September 30th, 2005, 11:22 am
    Post #69 - September 30th, 2005, 11:22 am Post #69 - September 30th, 2005, 11:22 am
    KatyK wrote:I didn't know under which Hot Doug's thread to post this, but this seemed as good as any.

    I was in Hot Doug's yesterday, and found out that they will be appearing on the new season of Check, Please! at the beginning of October. Sigh. Doug and some patrons were lamenting the fact that this place will be more overrun now than it already is. So, get your HD fix soon, because I can only imagine the lines the Saturday after the show debuts!


    This place is fantastic. I'm a total sausage freak. I had my first Hot Doug's experience about a month ago. I've been meaning to get there for months, but I've been working Monday through Saturday since April, and due to Doug's hours, have never been able to get there when it's open.

    Luckily, I had a friend visiting me from Hungary, so I was able to snag a day off. First thing I do after picking her up from O'Hare is get over to HD's. Oh my, was it ever worth it. I got the much-lauded Thuringer, and she got the chicken/sun-dried tomato/fontina sausage.

    I was surprised by the chicken sausage. Normally, the chicken sausage I've had has been very dry and flavorless. This was neither. And the sun-dried tomatoes and fontina cheese perfectly accompanied it.

    The thuringer was not what I was expecting, but it was great nonetheless. (I lived in Europe for five and a half years, so a Thuringer to me is a thin type of bratwurst seasoned with mace, white pepper, and sometimes caraway.) Apparently, Wisconsin has a different idea of a Thuringer, as it is smoked and garlicky. Regardless, it was the best damned sausage I've ever gotten at a hot dog shop.

    It was so good, I took a day off work and went back the next day to sample the duck fat fries (good, but overrated. I don't really find them that much better than Doug's regular fries. My dining companions didn't even notice the difference.)
  • Post #70 - October 9th, 2005, 5:46 pm
    Post #70 - October 9th, 2005, 5:46 pm Post #70 - October 9th, 2005, 5:46 pm
    I've been to Doug's many times over the last few years, but this time, my mind was blown.

    What was it that blew my mind? The Tueben: A corned beef sausage topped with Russian, Sauerkraut and Swiss. My favorite sandwich in dog form! Last week, my husband went crazy for the venison sausage and a few days later, a friend told me about the BLT dog (sausage made of bacon topped with lettuce and tomato with avocado mayo), and then I check the website for the week's celebrity sausage, and he gets crazy with the Tueben (named El Duque, but I like saying Tueben). I was in the car within 20 minutes, and at Doug's by 10:50 a.m. Saturday. It was even better than I expected. Perfect amount of caraway in the kraut, not too much cheese or dressing, nice balance with the sausage.

    Have I just been too sheltered in my life that I've never encountered such a thing? I hope he brings it back again and again.
  • Post #71 - October 11th, 2005, 7:55 pm
    Post #71 - October 11th, 2005, 7:55 pm Post #71 - October 11th, 2005, 7:55 pm
    Oh my - now you've got my attention! The Teuben!!! Let's see, my boss cancelled my standing 1 PM Wednesday mtg - can I run up to Doug's tomorrow if he still has the Teuben? Even though I think $6.50 is a crazy price it just sounds so good that I have to try it at least once.
    Objects in mirror appear to be losing.
  • Post #72 - October 11th, 2005, 8:54 pm
    Post #72 - October 11th, 2005, 8:54 pm Post #72 - October 11th, 2005, 8:54 pm
    So, now that three of the four Check, Please! showings of Hot Doug's episode have aired, how much longer are the lines?

    (I envy anyone who gets to stand in line, as I have to take a day off to go there on a weekday, let alone rearrange my Saturday schedule to get there then...)
  • Post #73 - October 11th, 2005, 10:06 pm
    Post #73 - October 11th, 2005, 10:06 pm Post #73 - October 11th, 2005, 10:06 pm
    A coworker reported that there were 20 people lined up outside the door at about 12:45 on Monday.

    I learned a while ago to try to make my trips Monday through Thursday, after 2pm. Often there is no line at all, so it's a reasonable lunch hour trip from Bucktown.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #74 - October 12th, 2005, 9:53 am
    Post #74 - October 12th, 2005, 9:53 am Post #74 - October 12th, 2005, 9:53 am
    At least according to the website, the Tueben is still being served. Get over there Kman, and claim your sausage!
  • Post #75 - October 12th, 2005, 4:11 pm
    Post #75 - October 12th, 2005, 4:11 pm Post #75 - October 12th, 2005, 4:11 pm
    Stopped in at Hot Doug's yesterday about 1:15 after spending 3 hours at Jessie Whites place getting an Illinois Drivers License.

    The line at Doug's was just out to the second (front) door, and stayed that way throughout. No one had to wait for a seat as they always seemed to come available as someone needed one.
  • Post #76 - October 13th, 2005, 8:15 am
    Post #76 - October 13th, 2005, 8:15 am Post #76 - October 13th, 2005, 8:15 am
    girlmoxie wrote:At least according to the website, the Tueben is still being served. Get over there Kman, and claim your sausage!

    Kman,

    You get a Tueben? That sounds really good. I'm thinking Tueben and a rib-eye steak dog w/chimichuri, that the guy was talking about on Check Please.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #77 - October 13th, 2005, 8:23 am
    Post #77 - October 13th, 2005, 8:23 am Post #77 - October 13th, 2005, 8:23 am
    The Teuben is a piece of inspired genius....on a bun. I'm glad that Doug is not resting on his laurels and continuing to be inventive.

    Extending the theme of great sandwiches in tubesteak form, I'd love to see a roast turkey dog garnished with bacon and avocado.

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #78 - October 14th, 2005, 3:03 am
    Post #78 - October 14th, 2005, 3:03 am Post #78 - October 14th, 2005, 3:03 am
    A simple guide to Hot Doug's lines:

    4-5 people long: like no line at all. Consider yourself lucky.
    Stretching back to the front door: 5-10 minutes. Peruse the Onion or the Sun-Times from the front racks; it shouldn't be long.
    Stretching to the sidewalk: 15 minutes. Distract yourself briefly by playing a game of Spot the Hipster.
    Stretching down California: 20-30 minutes. Hope you brought friends to keep you entertained.

    And remember, once you place your order expect a 5-15 minute wait for your food. The "fancy" stuff doesn't necessarily take longer like it did in the old place at 2314 W. Roscoe.

    I haven't tried the Teuben, but I highly recommend the alligator (when available) and the hamburger sausage. Doug should do a Berliner Currywurst-style hot dog, i.e. a Delicatessen Meyer curry bratwurst, curry powder, and curry ketchup (also available at Delicatessen Meyer.)
  • Post #79 - October 14th, 2005, 9:08 am
    Post #79 - October 14th, 2005, 9:08 am Post #79 - October 14th, 2005, 9:08 am
    People don't stand in line just for a hot dog, right?

    On the Columbus holiday at 3pm the line was to the street.
    Reading is a right. Censorship is not.
  • Post #80 - October 14th, 2005, 10:21 am
    Post #80 - October 14th, 2005, 10:21 am Post #80 - October 14th, 2005, 10:21 am
    My favorite overheard comment from an out-the-door Hot Doug's line came from a 55-or-so salt-of-the-earth woman:

    "It takes THIS long to make a tube steak?"
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #81 - October 15th, 2005, 4:23 pm
    Post #81 - October 15th, 2005, 4:23 pm Post #81 - October 15th, 2005, 4:23 pm
    The Check Please! effect: got there at 1:25 today and ordered at 2:25. Yes, the line was that long, and it seemed to get slightly longer after I arrived -- well over 50 people waiting outside, stretching well beyond Hot Doug's side outdoor eating area. Thankfully, I wasn't too hungry when I showed up, but was hungry by the time I ate.

    The ribeye sausage with the chimichurri sauce was delish, as was my corn dog. I opted not for the fries, but for tater tots seeking a nostalgic change of pace (not listed on the menu as a separate item, but nonetheless available).

    I tasted my friend's order: first, the brown ale buffalo sausage with guiness mustard and sharp cheddar. . . very tasty. Even better was the wild rice chicken sausage with horseradish-blue cheese dijonnaise and sweet grape tomatoes -- this was excellent . . . maybe the best sausage I've tasted at Hot Doug's.
  • Post #82 - October 15th, 2005, 5:24 pm
    Post #82 - October 15th, 2005, 5:24 pm Post #82 - October 15th, 2005, 5:24 pm
    You know, on a nice Saturday I'd say a line of 50 people at Hot Doug's has at most 10 people who wouldn't have been there without Check, Please. That's why I go at about 11:40.
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.
  • Post #83 - October 17th, 2005, 9:08 am
    Post #83 - October 17th, 2005, 9:08 am Post #83 - October 17th, 2005, 9:08 am
    Mike G wrote:You know, on a nice Saturday I'd say a line of 50 people at Hot Doug's has at most 10 people who wouldn't have been there without Check, Please. That's why I go at about 11:40.


    Yeah, we normally try to make it there on the earlier side, and will certainly make that our rule after this Saturday. We had some guests in town who were somewhat on the tardy side and didn't get there until about 1:30. As BR mentions, the line was insane. It was at least twice as long as I have ever seen it before. We asked the guy at the front of the line (or rather, the front of the outside part of the line) how long he had been there and he said 40 minutes. We had to be somewhere at 3:00 (and I was starving, having eaten no breakfast) so we decided an hours wait wasn't a great idea.

    I'm sure there are some on this board who will be pleased to hear that we went to Superdog instead (had the burger for the first time - very good.)
  • Post #84 - October 17th, 2005, 9:32 am
    Post #84 - October 17th, 2005, 9:32 am Post #84 - October 17th, 2005, 9:32 am
    I'm sure there are some on this board who will be pleased to hear that we went to Superdog instead (had the burger for the first time - very good.)


    Ah, to have Superdawg as a backup plan, this is a great city.
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.
  • Post #85 - October 17th, 2005, 9:30 pm
    Post #85 - October 17th, 2005, 9:30 pm Post #85 - October 17th, 2005, 9:30 pm
    Interestingly, we too had guests in from out of town and we too went to Hot Doug's! The line was easily the longest I've ever seen, and it was about 40-45 minutes from end of line to face time with Doug.

    Was it worth it? I think so, but it's at the upper end of my comfort zone. 20, 30 minutes - that I can do. Our friends did think the duck fat fries were top notch, and I enjoyed the buffalo sausage a whole lot. It was in a word, memorable.
  • Post #86 - October 29th, 2005, 1:41 pm
    Post #86 - October 29th, 2005, 1:41 pm Post #86 - October 29th, 2005, 1:41 pm
    I noticed that the BLT dog is back, for any who are interested. I don't know if it can match the glory of the Tueben, but I'm gonna try and find out.
  • Post #87 - October 29th, 2005, 1:57 pm
    Post #87 - October 29th, 2005, 1:57 pm Post #87 - October 29th, 2005, 1:57 pm
    Mike G wrote:Ah, to have Superdawg as a backup plan, this is a great city.

    I attempted to go to Hot Doug's at about 12:15 today (Saturday), after leaving Green City Market, the line was out the door and down the block. My backup was a Steve Z approved polish at Wolfy's. And a damn good backup it was.

    Green City Market was particularly fun today the ever talented Carolyn and Josie Hammond were doing Halloween face painting at the Purple Asparagus booth. David H was there kibitzing and Aaron and Kate D, along with their kids in costume, were there as well. In fact, most of the little kids at Green City today were in costume.

    Purple Asparagus face painting pictures will be on the Purple Asparagus web site later this week.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #88 - February 21st, 2006, 1:49 pm
    Post #88 - February 21st, 2006, 1:49 pm Post #88 - February 21st, 2006, 1:49 pm
    Hooray! The foie truffle duck sausage (Foie Gras and Sauternes Duck Sausage with Truffle Sauce Moutarde, Goat Cheese and Foie Gras "Butter") is back at Hot Doug's this week. The best sandwich I've eaten this year and no wait today at 11:30. Now if only I can catch him on Tueben week.

    Ps: Hot Doug's is closed for vacation 2/27/6 (Monday) through 3/11/6 (Saturday).

    -ramon
  • Post #89 - February 21st, 2006, 2:21 pm
    Post #89 - February 21st, 2006, 2:21 pm Post #89 - February 21st, 2006, 2:21 pm
    Last time I had the foie+duck sausage the foie was cold and hard in the center. Not all that pleasant. I'm actually a little burnt out on Hot Doug's. The past few visits don't seem to have been up to par...
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #90 - February 21st, 2006, 7:02 pm
    Post #90 - February 21st, 2006, 7:02 pm Post #90 - February 21st, 2006, 7:02 pm
    Went to Hot Doug's today for a quick fix. Sign in the window said they are closing for vacation Feb 27-Mar 11. re-opening on the 13th.

    (no line today at 1:30)

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