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The definitive Chicago hot dog

The definitive Chicago hot dog
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  • Post #91 - November 9th, 2007, 6:50 pm
    Post #91 - November 9th, 2007, 6:50 pm Post #91 - November 9th, 2007, 6:50 pm
    Dmnkly wrote:And correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the tomato was a relatively recent introduction even for Fluky's, correct?

    That's the way I understand it too. See the Abe Drexler quote below. I'm curious if you have more information bearing on this.

    Cogito wrote:Things like tomatoes, lettuce, and pickle spears, are a more recent addition to the "list" of what consititutes a "genuine" Chicago style hotdog.

    I'm not sure that's completely true. Fluky's, who most would agree served a genuine Chicago hot dog (indeed many would claim they defined the style), in the old days included at least two of those supposedly modern additions (again, see below).

    Matt wrote:See this write-up from VI's blog, with this quote from an article by LAZ (man, this is getting kind of incestuous):
    LAZ wrote:The “banquet on a bun” had its origins in the Great Depression, when greengrocer Abe Drexler decided his 18-year-old son, local sports hero Jake “Fluky” Drexler, needed an occupation. That was in 1929, when jobs were hard to find, so Drexler converted the family's Maxwell Street vegetable cart into a hot-dog stand, and began offering the “Depression Sandwich,” which sold for a nickel. “He built it like a vegetable cart would do it,” says Fluky’s son, Jack. (Also called Fluky, he likes to say he was “born in a bun” and is today proprietor of three North Side and suburban stands.) “It was an instant success.” The only change since 1929 has been the relish, which turned its distinctive “nuclear green” color in the 1970s.

    Some 30 years ago Jack Drexler's father Abe (the original Fluky) told a somewhat different story to a reporter.

    In the Tribune of July 29, 1976, Charles Leroux, quoting Abe Drexler, wrote:"We sold hot dogs for a nickel apiece, seven items for a nickel: the hot dog, onions, pickle, piccalilli, French fries, lettuce, hot peppers."

    Make of that what you will. To me it suggests that Fluky's might not have been using tomatoes back in the 1930s as their website states:

    Fluky's became known for its "Depression Sandwich" - a Hot Dog with mustard, relish, onion, pickles, pepper, lettuce, tomatoes and french fries FOR ONLY $.05!
  • Post #92 - November 9th, 2007, 8:34 pm
    Post #92 - November 9th, 2007, 8:34 pm Post #92 - November 9th, 2007, 8:34 pm
    I'm sure there were probably people using tomatoes, etc., early on. In my recollection, it just seems like they became a more common or mainstream item sometimes in the 70's. I've never liked tomatoes on hotdogs, I always eat them separately.
    What if the Hokey Pokey really IS what it's all about?
  • Post #93 - November 9th, 2007, 8:49 pm
    Post #93 - November 9th, 2007, 8:49 pm Post #93 - November 9th, 2007, 8:49 pm
    Tomatoes were a regular part of a hot dog "with everything" at the Skokie/ north side/Jewish stands as far back as I can remember (circa 1960). The tomato is where the celery salt goes.
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    The Gefilte fish
    swims with great difficulty.

    Jewish haiku.
  • Post #94 - November 9th, 2007, 10:20 pm
    Post #94 - November 9th, 2007, 10:20 pm Post #94 - November 9th, 2007, 10:20 pm
    kuhdo wrote:Tomatoes were a regular part of a hot dog "with everything" at the Skokie/ north side/Jewish stands as far back as I can remember (circa 1960). The tomato is where the celery salt goes.


    absolutely, one would be hard pressed to find one w/o tomatos in the area even today (italian and greek stands included)
  • Post #95 - April 28th, 2008, 12:49 am
    Post #95 - April 28th, 2008, 12:49 am Post #95 - April 28th, 2008, 12:49 am
    I just happened on this thread, looking for something else. I hadn't seen it the first time around. Some moderator might want to amend the subject line to include "Chicago hot dog toppings."

    Dmnkly wrote:It's also worth noting, RiverWester, that if Vienna is one of the official arbiters of what defines a Chicago-style dog, their "Periodic Table of Chicago Style Hot Dog Condiments" on their website includes...

    ...wait for it...

    ...ketchup.

    Image

    I had no idea a Chicago-style dog included ketchup!

    It doesn't. Presenting this joke photo with no explanation is a little disingenuous. On the Vienna Beef site this is an interactive flash picture. If you click on the ketchup, a radioactive warning symbol comes up. No ketchup appears on the dog, whereas the other elements all have pointers to the sandwich when you click them.

    Image

    Rene G wrote:I'm not sure that's completely true. Fluky's, who most would agree served a genuine Chicago hot dog (indeed many would claim they defined the style), in the old days included at least two of those supposedly modern additions (again, see below).

    Matt wrote:See this write-up from VI's blog, with this quote from an article by LAZ (man, this is getting kind of incestuous):
    LAZ wrote:The “banquet on a bun” had its origins in the Great Depression, when greengrocer Abe Drexler decided his 18-year-old son, local sports hero Jake “Fluky” Drexler, needed an occupation. That was in 1929, when jobs were hard to find, so Drexler converted the family's Maxwell Street vegetable cart into a hot-dog stand, and began offering the “Depression Sandwich,” which sold for a nickel. “He built it like a vegetable cart would do it,” says Fluky’s son, Jack. (Also called Fluky, he likes to say he was “born in a bun” and is today proprietor of three North Side and suburban stands.) “It was an instant success.” The only change since 1929 has been the relish, which turned its distinctive “nuclear green” color in the 1970s.

    Some 30 years ago Jack Drexler's father Abe (the original Fluky) told a somewhat different story to a reporter.

    In the Tribune of July 29, 1976, Charles Leroux, quoting Abe Drexler, wrote:"We sold hot dogs for a nickel apiece, seven items for a nickel: the hot dog, onions, pickle, piccalilli, French fries, lettuce, hot peppers."

    Make of that what you will. To me it suggests that Fluky's might not have been using tomatoes back in the 1930s as their website states:

    Fluky's became known for its "Depression Sandwich" - a Hot Dog with mustard, relish, onion, pickles, pepper, lettuce, tomatoes and french fries FOR ONLY $.05!

    Fluky's seems to have changed its story a number of times, assuming the reporters got the list down right and I wouldn't be at all surprised if we didn't. On a later occasion, Jack Drexler told me that the original included cucumbers instead of pickles, but he never mentioned lettuce. So much for "unchanged since 1929."

    Anyway, you can't rely on oral history. People's memories are notoriously fallible. Late last year, a group of well-versed, local hot-dog lovers stood around for half an hour debating whether or not a Superdawg comes with ripe tomatoes. (I won't embarrass the eminent LTHer who insisted it did by naming him, but it does not.)

    Given Fluky's origins as a vegetable stand, my guess is that the early sandwich did include lettuce, cucumbers and tomatoes, but I doubt we'll ever know, unless someone turns up a photo (and even if a photo sans tomatoes showed up, it wouldn't necessarily be definitive, since that particular dog might have been ordered without them). But by the time Superdawg opened in 1948, tomatoes were fairly standard, according to Superdawg founder Maurie Berman. He said they switched to pickled green tomatoes partly out of a desire to be unique and also because it was too difficult to get consistently good ripe tomatoes.
  • Post #96 - April 28th, 2008, 12:53 am
    Post #96 - April 28th, 2008, 12:53 am Post #96 - April 28th, 2008, 12:53 am
    LAZ wrote:I just happened on this thread, looking for something else. I hadn't seen it the first time around. Some moderator might want to amend the subject line to include "Chicago hot dog toppings."

    Dmnkly wrote:It's also worth noting, RiverWester, that if Vienna is one of the official arbiters of what defines a Chicago-style dog, their "Periodic Table of Chicago Style Hot Dog Condiments" on their website includes...

    ...wait for it...

    ...ketchup.

    Image

    I had no idea a Chicago-style dog included ketchup!

    It doesn't. Presenting this joke photo with no explanation is a little disingenuous. On the Vienna Beef site this is an interactive flash picture. If you click on the ketchup, a radioactive warning symbol comes up. No ketchup appears on the dog, whereas the other elements all have pointers to the sandwich when you click them.


    Totally unintentional. For whatever reason, when I pulled the image, I didn't get any of the flash interactivity -- no nuclear symbol, no arrows, no nothing. What you see there is what I saw. It absolutely wasn't my intention to mislead anybody. I found it strange myself at the time (and am vehemently anti-ketchup, though I don't know whether that's relevant :-) ). I hate the propagation of bad info, especially if I'm the one doing the propagating. Thanks for catching it.

    In any case, I hope the point -- that what constitutes a Chicago-style dog is somehow settled science and there's a universal, definitive standard that was "finalized" in the seventies and that some of the quite ancient variations mentioned elsewhere in this thread are somehow "inauthentic" is a ridiculous assertion -- stands. That a list of locations serving a strictly "traditional" dog is so difficult to compile and, anecdotally, represents a minority percentage of hot dog stands in Chicago (especially, as pointed out upthread, the oldest ones) should really be all the evidence required to support this claim.
    Dominic Armato
    Dining Critic
    The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com
  • Post #97 - April 28th, 2008, 2:47 pm
    Post #97 - April 28th, 2008, 2:47 pm Post #97 - April 28th, 2008, 2:47 pm
    LAZ wrote:Some moderator might want to amend the subject line...


    Or split off the thread...thanks for bringing this back up.
  • Post #98 - December 15th, 2008, 8:48 pm
    Post #98 - December 15th, 2008, 8:48 pm Post #98 - December 15th, 2008, 8:48 pm
    seebee wrote:
    Bill wrote:You're not alone on this one, and I can actually admit that I prefer a salad dog. Grew up down the street from a joint called Tasty Dog.
    Traditionalists, just avert your eyes:

    Hot dog
    bun
    mustard
    relish
    onion
    lettuce
    tomato
    cucumber
    pickle slices
    sport peppers
    celery salt
    By the time it's all done, you barely even know there's a hot dog in there.
    Which, in my mind, may not be such a bad thing.


    If it's the same place on Milwaukee Ave north of Foster, around Bryn Mawr that I remember from years ago, it was called "Hastee Tastee Dog"
    Charter member of PETA - People Eating Tasty Animals
  • Post #99 - December 15th, 2008, 9:11 pm
    Post #99 - December 15th, 2008, 9:11 pm Post #99 - December 15th, 2008, 9:11 pm
    Even though I avoid hot dogs at joints that don't have the nukular relish, I don't consider them inauthentic.
    What makes a Chicago dog is the fact that it isn't a chili dog, a kraut dog, a bacon and mayo dog (which was what was listed as an American hot dog all over Barcelona). Yes, there are places you can get that here, but it's not labeled a Chicago dog.

    When I grew up, the right things on a hot dog were mustard, pickle, relish, peppers, onions, maybe tomatoes and celery salt. I just happened to overdose on yellow mustard as a small child (not to illness, just got sick of it) , and can't stand the stuff anymore (I even hesitate to use turmeric in cooking sometimes).
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #100 - December 16th, 2008, 1:46 am
    Post #100 - December 16th, 2008, 1:46 am Post #100 - December 16th, 2008, 1:46 am
    SuperDawg

    Hands down THE best hot dog ever!

    http://www.superdawg.com

    6363 N Milwaukee Ave
    Chicago, IL 60646
    (773) 763-0660
  • Post #101 - December 16th, 2008, 6:28 am
    Post #101 - December 16th, 2008, 6:28 am Post #101 - December 16th, 2008, 6:28 am
    jakea wrote:SuperDawg

    Hands down THE best hot dog ever!

    Why?

    What makes Superdawg the best ever?
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #102 - December 16th, 2008, 6:48 am
    Post #102 - December 16th, 2008, 6:48 am Post #102 - December 16th, 2008, 6:48 am
    jakea wrote:SuperDawg

    Hands down THE best hot dog ever!

    http://www.superdawg.com

    6363 N Milwaukee Ave
    Chicago, IL 60646
    (773) 763-0660


    I couldn't disagree more. I love the ambiance of the place, but the dogs are some kind of non-Vienna mutant and the fries are nothing more than the frozen crinkle cut food service variety.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #103 - December 16th, 2008, 6:58 am
    Post #103 - December 16th, 2008, 6:58 am Post #103 - December 16th, 2008, 6:58 am
    stevez wrote:I couldn't disagree more. I love the ambiance of the place, but the dogs are some kind of non-Vienna mutant and the fries are nothing more than the frozen crinkle cut food service variety.


    I'm with you steve. But I do like the pickled tomatoes.
  • Post #104 - December 16th, 2008, 7:07 am
    Post #104 - December 16th, 2008, 7:07 am Post #104 - December 16th, 2008, 7:07 am
    eatchicago wrote:I'm with you steve. But I do like the pickled tomatoes.


    Yes. Me too, along with the occasional burger and a malt (never a dog).
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #105 - December 16th, 2008, 7:13 am
    Post #105 - December 16th, 2008, 7:13 am Post #105 - December 16th, 2008, 7:13 am
    You're missing the forest for the skinless trees.

    Superdawg is sublime. Though I am more likely to order the burger. But I do like the plump, garlicky dogs, too. And the crinkle-cut fries.

    And the logo.
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  • Post #106 - December 16th, 2008, 7:22 am
    Post #106 - December 16th, 2008, 7:22 am Post #106 - December 16th, 2008, 7:22 am
    Superdawg..?

    an above average hotdog, I like to go there more for the nostalgic value than the food.

    my favorite:

    on the S. Side of course, and near Sox park as well. I like a couple char-grilled dogs prepared "Chicago style" with extra sport peppers before a game @ The Cell.

    Morrie O'Malley's
    3501 S. Union
    Chicago, IL.
  • Post #107 - December 16th, 2008, 8:11 am
    Post #107 - December 16th, 2008, 8:11 am Post #107 - December 16th, 2008, 8:11 am
    stevez wrote:I couldn't disagree more. I love the ambiance of the place, but the dogs are some kind of non-Vienna mutant and the fries are nothing more than the frozen crinkle cut food service variety.

    Unless Flaurie is flat-out lying, the second part is vile and vicious (though unintentional, I'm sure) slander*.

    Superdawg Website wrote:Q: What makes Superfries so delicious?
    A (transcribed from video): From the very first day, we peeled and cut a fresh potato. We have never used a frozen potato. Potatoes are peeled every, cut every day, fried every day, fresh.

    And I must confess to being puzzled by your assumption, Steve, because I think it shows. I've always thought the fries were were one of Superdawg's greatest attributes -- arguably stealing the show from the dog.

    But I'm with Mike. I love Superdawg. To simply dismiss it as non-Vienna skinless is, I think, to ignore its significant charms in the name of Chicago dog-ma. Yeah, it's the kooky bastard stepchild (albeit a popular one) among Chicago's oldest hot dog stands, but I don't think that negates the fact that it's a tasty, if non-conforming, dog.

    * - If unintentional, I suppose that means, by definition, that it isn't slander... but you take my meaning.
    Dominic Armato
    Dining Critic
    The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com
  • Post #108 - December 16th, 2008, 8:26 am
    Post #108 - December 16th, 2008, 8:26 am Post #108 - December 16th, 2008, 8:26 am
    Dmnkly wrote:But I'm with Mike. I love Superdawg. To simply dismiss it as non-Vienna skinless is, I think, to ignore its significant charms in the name of Chicago dog-ma.


    A. My original post was merely refuting the claim made by jakea that Superdawg is "Hands down THE best hot dog ever!" Certainly, you don't accept that position, do you?

    B. I never said the dog was skinless. I merely said it was a non-Vienna mutant, which it is.

    C. I completely understand the love for Superdawg, however being a Chicago native and growing up close enough to the place to visit regularly, I never did because even as a kid I never found Superdawg's dogs to be satisfying or "authentic". The burgers are certainly passable, though; and the place itself is a classic. I'll certainly not get into an argument regarding Superdawg's fries. To me they appear to be crinkle cut food service fries, but if you say they're not, I'll take your word for it. I haven't visited often enough or care enough to take a stand on that issue.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #109 - December 16th, 2008, 8:33 am
    Post #109 - December 16th, 2008, 8:33 am Post #109 - December 16th, 2008, 8:33 am
    stevez wrote:
    Dmnkly wrote:But I'm with Mike. I love Superdawg. To simply dismiss it as non-Vienna skinless is, I think, to ignore its significant charms in the name of Chicago dog-ma.


    A. My original post was merely refuting the claim made by jakea that Superdawg is "Hands down THE best hot dog ever!" Certainly, you don't accept that position, do you?

    No, no, you're right, we're in agreement there and I think jakea would do well to be a little less narrow and definitive (not to mention descriptive) in his assessment of the local offerings. Though I do feel Superdawg is frequently (and unfairly) dismissed out of hand for the reason you mentioned.

    stevez wrote:B. I never said the dog was skinless. I merely said it was a non-Vienna mutant, which it is.

    Oops... sorry... didn't mean to put that word in your mouth. Mea culpa.

    stevez wrote:C. I completely understand the love for Superdawg, however being a Chicago native and growing up close enough to the place to visit regularly, I never did because even as a kid I never found Superdawg's dogs to be satisfying or "authentic".

    I don't mean to deny you this entirely reasonable opinion of their deliciousness, and while I generally agree that encased Vienna is kind of a critical aspect when it comes to "authenticity", Superdawg's been doing it long enough that I kind of feel like they've been (or should be) grandfathered in as a notable but no less authentic exception.

    stevez wrote:I'll certainly not get into an argument regarding Superdawg's fries. To me they appear to be crinkle cut food service fries, but if you say they're not, I'll take your word for it. I haven't visited often enough to take a stand on that issue.

    This was what really triggered my response, as I know it to be false and, while I respect your opinion regarding their character, I think it's dead wrong :-)
    Last edited by Dmnkly on December 16th, 2008, 8:52 am, edited 2 times in total.
    Dominic Armato
    Dining Critic
    The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com
  • Post #110 - December 16th, 2008, 8:36 am
    Post #110 - December 16th, 2008, 8:36 am Post #110 - December 16th, 2008, 8:36 am
    Dmnkly wrote:
    stevez wrote:Unless Flaurie is flat-out lying, the second part is vile and vicious (though unintentional, I'm sure) slander*.

    * - If unintentional, I suppose that means, by definition, that it isn't slander... but you take my meaning.


    Actually, it would be defamation, not slander. Slander is spoken word. One can be guilty of slander or defamation even if one believed what he/ she said was true. The key to the "unintentional slander" defense is to publish an immediate retraction as soon as you learn that what you wrote or said is untrue.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #111 - December 16th, 2008, 8:44 am
    Post #111 - December 16th, 2008, 8:44 am Post #111 - December 16th, 2008, 8:44 am
    Kennyz wrote:The key to the "unintentional slander" defense is to publish an immediate retraction as soon as you learn that what you wrote or said is untrue.


    Assuming that what Dom says is true, I hereby retract the claim that Superdawg's fries are frozen food service fries. Evidently they are fresh cut and cooked in such a way that Superdawg is able to capture the essence of frozen food service fries using fresh potatoes. :wink:

    How's that consular?
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #112 - December 16th, 2008, 8:59 am
    Post #112 - December 16th, 2008, 8:59 am Post #112 - December 16th, 2008, 8:59 am
    I have only tried their dog/fries once (that was enough), but I thought they were frozen food service fries. Well I apologize if they are fresh cut. But I have to agree with Stevez they have mastered the technique to make them taste/look like frozen food service fries.

    D.
  • Post #113 - December 16th, 2008, 9:02 am
    Post #113 - December 16th, 2008, 9:02 am Post #113 - December 16th, 2008, 9:02 am
    I don't care how they're made. Superdawg's fries suck. They remind me of the fries that my high school cafeteria served.
  • Post #114 - December 16th, 2008, 9:08 am
    Post #114 - December 16th, 2008, 9:08 am Post #114 - December 16th, 2008, 9:08 am
    stevez wrote:
    Kennyz wrote:The key to the "unintentional slander" defense is to publish an immediate retraction as soon as you learn that what you wrote or said is untrue.


    Assuming that what Dom says is true, I hereby retract the claim that Superdawg's fries are frozen food service fries. Evidently they are fresh cut and cooked in such a way that Superdawg is able to capture the essence of frozen food service fries using fresh potatoes. :wink:

    How's that consular?


    You could still be sued, but only for actual damages from your false claim. With the relatively immediate retraction, actual damages would be quite small. A jury might estimate that one or two potential patrons decided not to order Superdawg fries based on your false statement. You could be ordered to pay a couple of bucks.

    My liability for disseminating legal advice as a completely uncredentialed, unqualified food forum poster might be much higher.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #115 - December 16th, 2008, 9:46 am
    Post #115 - December 16th, 2008, 9:46 am Post #115 - December 16th, 2008, 9:46 am
    Kennyz wrote:A jury might estimate that one or two potential patrons decided not to order Superdawg fries based on your false statement.


    They can thank me later. :wink:
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #116 - December 16th, 2008, 9:56 am
    Post #116 - December 16th, 2008, 9:56 am Post #116 - December 16th, 2008, 9:56 am
    Kennyz wrote:A jury might estimate that one or two potential patrons decided not to order Superdawg fries based on your false statement.

    stevez wrote:They can thank me later. :wink:

    So much hate for a damn good dog.*

    Superdawg

    Image

    Superdawg w/bunch tamales

    Image


    Superdawg Char Polish w/fries
    Image

    *Yes, I know, I've said time and time again it can not be a respectable hot dog without natural casing. Superdawg is the one exception.
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #117 - December 16th, 2008, 10:05 am
    Post #117 - December 16th, 2008, 10:05 am Post #117 - December 16th, 2008, 10:05 am
    I'll take a "Ski Dog" with fries any day.....
    Hors D'oeuvre: A ham sandwich cut into forty pieces.
    - Jack Benny
  • Post #118 - December 16th, 2008, 10:06 am
    Post #118 - December 16th, 2008, 10:06 am Post #118 - December 16th, 2008, 10:06 am
    i love superdawg. i used to think a chicago dog had to be a certain way—pretty much with tomatos, mutard, onions, green relish, poppy seed bun and celery salt. after some thinking and much eating, i realized it didn't matter that much and that it was really about the taste. superdawg, gene and judes, portillos, hot dougs... they all do it differently but the taste is there and that's what i really care about
  • Post #119 - December 16th, 2008, 11:37 am
    Post #119 - December 16th, 2008, 11:37 am Post #119 - December 16th, 2008, 11:37 am
    A jury might estimate that one or two potential patrons decided not to order Superdawg fries based on your false statement.


    Since they come with everything... unlikely to be a problem.
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
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  • Post #120 - December 16th, 2008, 1:42 pm
    Post #120 - December 16th, 2008, 1:42 pm Post #120 - December 16th, 2008, 1:42 pm
    Yum! Love all the photos and hot dog talk :)

    We did a video on the making of the Chicago hot dog for Chew on That:

    http://chewonthatblog.com/2008/03/27/ho ... o-hot-dog/
    Hillary
    http://chewonthatblog.com <--A Chicago Food Blog!

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