We're half-way through National Hot Dog month. By now you probably saw our reviews of classic Chicago hot dog spots, where we're reviewing one a day every day. But that’s probably not enough to satisfy your craving for encased meat? There are a few more ways to celebrate the cherished American dish. Whether you chow down on a 22-inch hot dog or eat your fill at a design-your-own hot dog bar, these specials are sure to make all your hot dog dreams come true (as long as they don't include ketchup).
Bull & Bear From July 22–28, the menu at this River North spot features new hot dog creations ($9) inspired by Chicago neighborhoods, with one special available every day Monday through Friday and all of the specials available on Saturday and Sunday. Some hot dog choices include the Greek Town Dog: a spiced lamb sausage, tzatziki, feta, tomatoes and pickled red onion served on a pita, which will be available on Wednesday 24, and the Pilsen Dog: al pastor sausage, grilled pineapple and cactus relish, cilantro crème, fresh jalapeno and salsa habanero served on a bolillo roll, available on Monday. Can’t make a decision? Try the mini frank plate ($20), featuring mini versions of all the special dogs. If that’s not enough to satiate your hot dog appetite, take on the Chicago-style Home Wrecker ($12), a 22-inch Kosher hot dog, covered in mustard, relish, onion, tomato, sport peppers and celery salt on a sesame potato bun, served with seasoned fries on a big red tray.
Poag Mahone’s In celebration of National Hot Dog Month and National Mac and Cheese Day, Chef Michael Shrear is serving up hot dog and mac & cheese specials through August 15. The menu will feature four new hot dogs inspired by Shrear’s four favorite American cities. Celebrate hog dogs around the nation with the San Francisco dog, topped with crispy bacon, shredded lettuce, mayo and tomato relish; the Kansas City dog, with melted Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, 1000 island dressing and caraway seeds; the Atlanta dog, slathered in steak chili and coleslaw; and, of course, a traditional Chicago dog, with mustard, sweet relish, chopped onion, tomatoes, dill pickle, sport peppers and celery salt. Each dog is $6 and comes with a side of homemade mac & cheese, baked with cheddar, Parmesan and blue cheeses, mixed with chives and bacon, and topped with breadcrumbs.
Wickets Bar and Grill This Schaumburg spot lets you create your own dream frank on its hot dog and brat bar, served for lunch and dinner every Thursday in July. For $3 ($4 for a brat), get a hot dog and top it with all the fixin’s you want from the topping bar. Choose from options such as grilled onion, chili cheese sauce, green olives, jalapenos, and sauerkraut, to name a few. With that many choices, you’ll want more than one.
25 Degrees The 3rd Annual Pig Out for Charity Event benefits the 100 Club of Chicago and will feature a hot dog eating contest starring police officers from the 18th and 19th districts. There will also be live entertainment from the Chicago Players. The event takes place at 6:30pm on Wednesday 24 in the parking lot adjacent to 25 Degrees (736 N Clark St). Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door and include bites from 25 Degrees, Blue Moon beer and specialty cocktails.
Chicago History Museum If you're not ready to stop celebrating the hot dog at the end of the month, you're in luck. The Chicago History Museum will host a hot dog fest from 11am–3pm on August 11 at Uihlein Plaza, located behind the museum. The event will feature more than eight varieties of the classic American hot dog, live music, games, a cash bar and talks about hot dog culture in America. Tickets for food and non-alcoholic beverages are $2 each or 8 for $10. The kids' special is 6 tickets for $5. Alcohol will be sold at a cash bar. The first 100 people to arrive receive 8 free tickets, enough for one free picnic meal.