You don't need an excuse to eat at Chicago hot dog stands in the summer, or any other time of the year. But local hot dog manufacturer Vienna Beef is giving Chicagoans a good reason to visit as many area hot dog stands as possible in the coming weeks.
Today, Vienna Beef launched its Hot Dog Stand Challenge, asking hungry encased meat-loved to eat at as many participating hot dog stands as possible between today (August 19) and October 17. That gives you around 59 days to explore 369 spots that serve hot dogs, including stands throughout the city, the suburbs, Indiana and Wisconsin.
What's in it for you? The person who eats at the most participating hot dog stands will be crowned Top Dog, earning ;our tickets to a "VIP entertainment experience" every month for an entire year (that could include everything from Chicago Bears box seats to a sought-after tour of the Vienna Beef factory in Chicago). The grand prize winner will also receive a Top Dog T-shirt, $1000 to spend at ViennaBeef.com and a hot dog trophy.
Second-, third- and fourth-place winners will be considered Hot Dog Royalty, earning a catered hot dog party for up to 40 friends, a miniature hot dog cart and a ribbon to commemorate their accomplishments. Vienna Beef will also recognize the mayor of each of the 15 "neighborhoods" that hot dog stands fall into—the person with the most check-ins in each area will get a T-shirt and six pounds of hot dogs to enjoy.
In order to participate and begin logging visits to participating hot dog stands, you'll need to register on the Hot Dog Challenge website. Visits to each of the participating stands (Vienna Beef has provided a list) can be logged by scanning the QR code that has been placed near the register at each location. You'll be able to log the QR code for an individual stand multiple times—Vienna Beef is giving hot dog kits to the people who log the most visits at a specific hot dog stand.
And even if you don't love celery salt enough to eat dogs sprinkled with it more than once a week, anyone who logs a single visit to a hot dog stand each week is entered into a weekly drawing for a Vienna Beef trucker hat.
Ready to see if you can become Top Dog? Prepare to eat a lot of Chicago-style dogs, Polishes and Italian beefs (and maybe a few Pizza Puffs) between now and October 17—and don't forget to scan those QR codes. Good luck!