So, your big July 4th barbecue was a hit; the grill was smokin', the beers were flowin' and the music was hot. But it's over now, and all you're left with is a hangover, higher cholesterol and a messy backyard. Looks like you won't have another excuse to party like this until Labor Day, right? Wrong! July is National Hot Dog Month, which means anytime is the right time to fire up the grill and pay your respects. Don't feel like playing chef anymore? Centerstage has found some of Chicago's finest dog stands for your tasting pleasure.
Hot Doug's: Avondale's "Encased Meat Emporium"
When was the last time you seriously thought about what was in your hot dog? Processed pig parts aside, there are plenty of reasons to mentally deconstruct the dogs of Hot Doug's. Here, the already delectable bacon gets a glorious boost by being used as sausage in the BLT dog. These dogs may leap into the "Best in Show" category with the cognac and hazelnut pheasant sausage, delectably topped with a black truffle moutarde, foie gras mousse and sel gris. Citrus-burgundy pork sausages or rib eye steak sausages could yield an expensive frank, but Hot Doug's keeps things accessible by placing its price ceiling at $8.
Huey's Hotdogs: Cozy Eating
Andersonville residents can't miss the blaring red-and-yellow decor of Huey's Hotdogs, aimed appropriately to summon the hungry. Summertime brings a comfortable patio for patrons to enjoy their $6 blue cheese burgers and fries, just one of many daily specials. Chicago-style hot dogs are grilled fresh, loaded with copious toppings and served with fries for around $4. For those looking for lighter fare, Huey's also offers salads and what a friend once called the juiciest chicken sandwich in town. It's a compliment proving this North Side fixture hasn't just gone to the dogs.
Murphy's Red Hots: Heating up Lakeview
Not every hot dog stand comes wrapped in a pretty exterior. This stands true for Murphy's Red Hots, which resides right across from a BP on Belmont Avenue. Visual aids are unnecessary when munching on a loaded Vienna Beef dog for $2.69 each. Further adding to the excellence of crispy-coated hotdogs at this stand are the owner's accolades. How many times can you say the owner of your favorite dog stand was inducted to the Hot Dog Hall of Fame? Bill Murphy, the proud papa of this location, can even boast that a Japanese businessman in search of Chicago's tastiest franks chose Murphy's poppy-bun encased hot dog as the best in town, taking the hot treats back with him as he left.
Wiener and Still Champion: Beefing Up for Competition
One dog or two? Beef up any hot dog at this Evanston stand with an extra frank or polish sausage for a buck. Top it off with some homemade chili, and you may leave the Dempster location agreeing with the spot's bold title. The restaurant humbles itself with its "somewhat famous fries," easily capable of reaching stratospheric proportions with Merkt's cheddar, giardinara and some chili. Perhaps the only menu item buff enough to stand up to Wiener's double chili cheese dog is the mother of all burgers, the $22 Triple Undisputed cheeseburger meal (a.k.a 911). Only the brave dare to purchase this burger, made with three pounds of beef and nine slices of cheese.
These are just a handful of the dog stands around the city, of course. Did we miss your favorite? Let us know what should be added to the list.