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hot dogs on a table
Photograph: Nick Murway

The 19 best Chicago hot dog restaurants

From Chicago-style dogs to perfectly crisp fries, these hot dog stands are the best in town—just don't ask for ketchup.

Written by
Elizabeth Atkinson
,
Morgan Olsen
&
Jeffy Mai
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The hot dog is in the pantheon of Chicago foods, right up there with pizza and Italian beef. And you probably don’t have to go very far to get a good one as there are esteemed hot dog vendors in all corners of the city. Whether you’re a purist who believes ketchup should be a banned condiment or a Michigander who prefers a Coney Island hot dog, the following places are sure to satisfy. Some have been around for a long time and are among the most iconic restaurants in Chicago, while others offer the best cheap eats. There’s even a local mini-chain of stands located inside Home Depot stores, as well as Korean-style corn dogs coated in unique toppings. So there’s no need to wait until your next barbecue or ballgame to enjoy a wiener, our guide to the best hot dog restaurants in Chicago will show you where to get one any time you desire.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in Chicago

Best Chicago hot dog restaurants

  • Restaurants
  • Hot dogs
  • Suburbs
  • price 1 of 4

Don’t ask for ketchup when you order one of the legendary dogs that come topped with a fistful of fries at this standing-room-only institution, which has been serving ’em up since 1946. The surly types behind the counter don’t go for weak stuff like that. Claim your place at the end of the perpetually long line and entertain yourself by watching potatoes being cut and fried into perfect greasy strips while you wait. Once it’s your turn, order your dog with everything, then count your blessings for the wax paper–wrapped bliss that lies before you.

  • Restaurants
  • Hot dogs
  • Norwood Park
  • price 1 of 4

Despite a renovation in 1999, this hot dog drive-in is still as old-fashioned as ever, with uniformed servers bringing your order directly to your car window. Apparently scared of copycats, the owners have trademarked almost every dish, the main draw being the namesake “Superdawg,” an all-beef frank so plump it’s hard to remove it from its cartoon-covered box. After a meal of hot dogs, fries, burgers (try the delicious, double-decker “Whoopercheesie”) and “Supershakes” (actually not very super), expect to literally roll yourself home.

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  • Restaurants
  • Hot dogs
  • Little Italy, UIC

A little walk-up shack on the UIC Campus with no seating, Jim's Original doesn't look like much. But a solid rendition of a Vienna beef Chicago-style dog with fries sets you back just $4, and the grilled onions are a nice touch. Open until 1am, Jim's Original is just as good for lunch as late night munchies.

  • Restaurants
  • Hot dogs
  • Avondale
  • price 1 of 4

Any contractor or DIYer who’s been to a Home Depot in the city has probably seen a hot dog stand located near the exits. What you may not know is that the stands aren’t run by the hardware giant. They’re a part of a mini-chain, dubbed Fixin’ Franks, found only in select stores around Chicago and the suburbs. The quality will surprise some, but it shouldn’t—the dogs are made with products sourced from Makowski’s Real Sausage in Bridgeport. There are also additional goodies like Polish sausages topped with J.P. Graziano giardiniera and wagyu steak dogs from Michigan-based Vander Farmers.

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Jeffy Mai
Editor, Time Out Chicago
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  • Restaurants
  • Hot dogs
  • Humboldt Park
  • price 1 of 4

Like Gene & Jude’s, Jimmy’s is a purist’s hot dog stand. No seating, no char-anything, and for crissakes, no ketchup. You’ll find nothing but tasty Vienna Beef hot dogs and Polishes served on steamed buns with loads of greasy, hand-cut fries. As a consolation for the much-maligned ketchup lover, Jimmy’s offers a decent house-made habanero hot sauce. This spot is open late, which is the best time to catch sketchy parking lot antics.

  • Restaurants
  • Hot dogs
  • Lincoln Park
  • price 1 of 4

The folks behind the counter at this classic roadside shack have had enough of drunk yuppies' crap. So much so that they’ve developed their own brand of smack-talking that’s now synonymous with a late-night dog run here. Get your Chicago red hot with the traditional fixings—mustard, onion, neon-green relish, pickle spear, tomato, celery salt and sport peppers—an order of thick-cut fries, a big, fat lemonade and some verbal abuse. Just don't ask for a chocolate shake.

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  • Restaurants
  • Hot dogs
  • West Ridge
  • price 1 of 4

In the pantheon of Chicago hot dog stands, Wolfy’s deserves a seat on the dais. The room is sparkling clean and the staff is sweet—think of it as the anti-Wieners Circle. Though it offers a lot more, take a cue from the iconic signage (an impaled hot dog on a sparkling fork) and stick to the sausages. The Vienna beef char-grilled Polish is near perfect, but it’s Wolfy’s hot dog, one of the best in the city, that will make even the most jaded hot dog fan smile.

  • Restaurants
  • Hot dogs
  • River North
  • price 1 of 4

There’s no denying that this über-efficient local chain serves a damn good wiener. With locations in River North, the South Loop and Avondale, Portillo’s pays homage to the Midwest with classic Chicago-style hot dogs as well as chili-cheese dogs and a char-grilled Maxwell Street Polish sausage.

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  • Restaurants
  • Hot dogs
  • Logan Square
  • price 1 of 4

The M.O. at Redhot Ranch is minimal selection and flawless execution. Juicy depression dogs (a stripped down version of the Chicago-style dog gussied up with mustard, onions, relish and sport peppers) are topped with a handful of fresh-cut fries that are crisp on the outside and pillowy inside. Dining with a group? Toss in a pound of fried shrimp for the table. It’s all served until midnight every day.

  • Restaurants
  • Hot dogs
  • Chicago Lawn

This hole-in-the-wall shack has been around since the ‘70s and proudly proclaims its dogs are “fit for a king.” You don’t have to be royalty, though, to tell that these dogs are some of the finest around. And they’re available every which way, from the traditional red hot to double dogs smothered in chili. For something truly unique, order the Mighty Dog—a glorious combo of hot dog plus tamale on a bun finished with cheese, chili and other fixins’.

https://media.timeout.com/images/105925010/image.jpg
Jeffy Mai
Editor, Time Out Chicago
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  • Restaurants
  • Hot dogs
  • Loop
  • price 1 of 4

It's way past your bedtime on a Friday night, or is it Saturday morning? Doesn't matter. Devil Dawgs is here to tempt you with a laundry list of loaded hot dogs. They've got Chicago dogs, Coney dogs, New York dogs and even Icelandic dogs, which are topped with dijon mustard, ketchup, house-made remoulade, shallots and onions. Pick your poison and toss in a fresh strawberry shake while you're at it.

  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Bridgeport
  • price 2 of 4

Kevin Hickey’s neighborhood gastro-tavern offers a host of Midwestern comfort fare, from fried cheese curds to an irresistible Duck Inn Dog. The sausage is a blend of all-natural beef and duck fat, and it’s garnished with Chicago-style toppings such as house-made relish, beer mustard, tomatoes, onions, pickled serrano peppers, a dill pickle and a dash of celery salt. There are also chicken and vegan variants of the dogs. If you feel like really indulging, add shaved black truffles for an extra $25. Duck Inn Dogs are available to purchase at local grocery stores and online, too.

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Jeffy Mai
Editor, Time Out Chicago
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  • Restaurants
  • Hot dogs
  • Portage Park
  • price 2 of 4

Bobby Morelli and his daughter Brooklyn captured the hearts of (and stomachs) of Chicagoans when they opened a hot dog stand inside a 400-square-foot shipping container in the middle of the pandemic. The dynamic duo followed that up with a second location in Portage Park, where you can get filet mignon steak sausages covered with unique toppings. The popular Bronzeville Bourbon features a four-ounce dog dressed with bourbon barbecue sauce, bacon, cabbage, and shredded carrots. Don’t eat meat? There are smoked salmon sausages to try as well.

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Jeffy Mai
Editor, Time Out Chicago
  • Restaurants
  • Hot dogs
  • Humboldt Park
  • price 1 of 4

Although it’s not nearly as contentious as the rivalry between the Blackhawks and Red Wings or deep dish and Detroit-style pan pizza, hot dogs are also a point of debate with our neighbors across the lake. But despite where you stand on the matter, this Humboldt Park stand is here to please. We recommend going with the Coney Island dog, a Detroit specialty that boasts a natural casing beef and pork frank sourced from Michigan chain National Coney Island. It’s topped with diced raw onions, yellow mustard and beanless chili sauce. For Chicago-style loyalists, the charred Vienna Beef jumbo dog doesn’t disappoint, either.

https://media.timeout.com/images/105925010/image.jpg
Jeffy Mai
Editor, Time Out Chicago
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  • Restaurants
  • Hot dogs
  • Sheffield & DePaul
  • price 1 of 4

This Lincoln Park shop serves a by-the-books Chicago dog with all the standard toppings, but we're always eyeing the cheeky specialty sausages. The Tijuana Street Dog is topped with melted chihuahua cheese, bacon, onions, jalapenos and hot sauce, while the Midway Monster Dog comes loaded with colby cheese, giardiniera, bacon and barbecue sauce. And then there's the LOL-worthy Blagojevich—a typical Chicago red hot that includes ketchup.

  • Restaurants
  • Hot dogs
  • Loop
  • price 1 of 4

This grab-and-go spot in Lakeview dishes out Vienna Beef hot dogs, Polishes and bratwursts with killer French fries—crispy, salty and packed with grease to help wash down whatever it is you ordered. Be prepared to pick your toppings, or if you're just not sure, get everything. You won't regret it.

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  • Restaurants
  • Hot dogs
  • Ukrainian Village
  • price 1 of 4

True to its name, Fatso’s isn’t for the faint of heart. The menu is rife with stoner-friendly fare like smash burgers, milkshakes, mac ‘n’ cheese and a loaded Italian beef. The hot dogs here are charred instead of steamed, evoking memories of backyard barbecues and summertime pool parties. They’ve also got a deep-fried veggie dog on the menu—because even vegetarians should pig out every once in a while.

  • Restaurants
  • Hot dogs
  • Bridgeport
  • price 1 of 4

It may seem obvious, but heading straight to the source of a product can yield delicious returns. In this case, that would be the Vienna Beef Factory Store. The company, famous for supplying the franks used in hot dogs all over the city, operates a restaurant and shop in Bridgeport. And as you’d expect, the Chicago-style dogs are a standard-bearer.

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Jeffy Mai
Editor, Time Out Chicago
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  • Restaurants
  • Hot dogs
  • Little Italy, UIC
  • price 1 of 4

Korean-style corn dogs took Chicago by storm in 2021 and became a viral sensation on social media. Leading the way was this local chain, which now has several locations in the city and surrounding suburbs. The concept is simple: a wiener (or mozzarella stick) is battered, deep fried and then coated in an eclectic variety of ingredients and sauces. Channel your inner child by decorating your dog-on-a-stick with fried potato, cereal, ramen crumbles, Hot Cheetos and more.

https://media.timeout.com/images/105925010/image.jpg
Jeffy Mai
Editor, Time Out Chicago
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