Four new hot-dog stands

Can they pass the Chicago-style hot-dog test?

1/15
Photograph: Tessa Marshall

Jimbo's Top Gun Red Hots

2/15
Photograph: Tessa Marshall

Deep-fried hot dog at Jimbo's Top Gun Red Hots

3/15
Photograph: Tessa Marshall

Jimbo's Top Gun Red Hots

4/15
Photograph: Tessa Marshall

Phil's Last Stand

5/15
Photograph: Tessa Marshall

Phil's Last Stand

6/15
Photograph: Tessa Marshall

Phil's Last Stand

7/15
Photograph: Tessa Marshall

Double Fatso Burger atPhil's Last Stand

8/15
Photograph: Tessa Marshall

Rotten Johnny's

9/15
Photograph: Tessa Marshall

Chicago-style hot dog at Rotten Johnny's

10/15
Photograph: Tessa Marshall

Rotten Johnny's

11/15
Photograph: Tessa Marshall

Rotten Johnny's

12/15
Photograph: Tessa Marshall

Zebra's Gourmet Hot Dogs

13/15
Photograph: Tessa Marshall

"The Philly" at Zebra's Gourmet Hot Dogs

14/15
Photograph: Tessa Marshall

Zebra's Gourmet Hot Dogs

15/15
Photograph: Tessa Marshall

Corn fritters at Zebra's Gourmet Hot Dogs

Jimbo’s Top Gun Red Hots
(3617 N Broadway, 773-868-9700). Hot dog, fries and a drink: $5.25.
The shtick
Open 24 hours. Delivers 24 hours. BYOB. Wrigleyville. May God have mercy on those who enter here.
The Chicago-style dog
Despite the depressing room and disaffected service, Jimbo’s Chicago-style dog is quite good. The deep-fried Red Hot Chicago frank is topped with neon-green relish and a big shake of celery salt. The only flaw is a poppy-seed-less bun.
The rest
The fries are not just McDonald’sish—they are exact replicas. That, or these are fries that really have been made at McDonald’s and brought over. They’re thin, light and salty, and you hate yourself after eating a pound.

Phil’s Last Stand
(2258 W Chicago Ave, 773-245-3287). Hot dog, fries and a drink: $5.
The shtick
The “last stand” of local blogger/food enthusiast “Chicago Fat Phil”—owner Phil Ashbach—features Fatsos (burgers) and Welch’s grape juice (huh?) until 4am on weekends. Decor includes hundreds of the stand’s business cards glued to a wall.
The Chicago-style dog
Surprisingly, Phil’s adheres to the unusual Gold Coast Dogs school of splitting the ends of the Vienna Beef dogs and charring (rather than steaming) them. Scant relish and too roughly chopped onion throw off the topping balance.
The rest
If it goes in a fryer, you want it. For one, the fries, which, though oversalted, are crispy on the outside and airy inside. And for two, the perfectly fried giant shrimp: sweet, fresh-tasting crustaceans coated with crunchy, panko-like breading.

Rotten Johnny’s
(801 N Ashland Ave, 312-555-1212). Hot dog, fries and a drink: $4.59.
The shtick
Your average six-seat, dingy corner hot-dog stand, except your meal comes in a brown paper bag stamped with the note, “Have a Rotten Day!!” Menu board includes breakfast sandwiches, cheeseburgers and dogs.
The Chicago-style dog
Rotten Johnny’s seems to understand the Chicago-style dog in theory—the classic seven toppings are on a Vienna Beef natural-casing frank—but not in practice: The dog was grayish and snapless.
The rest
As is common to the genre, a handful or two of fries were rolled up with the dog. Though skin-on, the thin-cut potatoes had the same soggy staleness as the hot dog.

Zebra’s Gourmet Hot Dogs
(3551 S Halsted St, 773-940-1526). Hot dog, fries and a drink: $6.
The shtick
It looks like a bar-slash–funeral home from the outside. The zebra theme consists primarily of one miniature zebra by the register. Toppings (chili, salsa, kraut, crumbled bacon) go beyond the average but are not quite gourmet.
The Chicago-style dog
A jumbo all-beef, griddled Nathan’s frank is topped with the requisite seven ingredients, including the biggest, hottest sport peppers on earth. The French roll seems like a flaw but the heft of this hot dog would overwhelm your average S. Rosen.
The rest
All dogs come with either fries or corn fritters. The former were underfried and hadn’t gotten crisp; the latter are golf-ball-sized puffs fried to order and dusted with powdered sugar. The choice is obvious.

Comments

0 comments