While Chicago itself seems as littered with as many hot dog stands as Starbucks (possibly), suburbia could use a few more options for those starving for a cholesterol-filled meal of sausage and fries. Enter fRedhots & Fries, named after the uber-friendly owner Fred Markoff, who works the cash register and frequently ventures into the dining area for a friendly chat with his clientele.
"Isn't that awesome?" Fred asked on one visit to a customer who could only make muffled noises, his mouth full of some obscure sausage.
All the basics are here: the red hot and fries with all the trimmings for $3.95, Italian sausage with sweet or hot peppers for $4.50, and an enormous Italian Beef sandwich for $5.75. But fRedhots dazzles with the peculiar and the exotic, stuff like a smoked salmon red hot with wasabi aioli, the alligator, antelope and rabbit sausage, and the Belgian potato fries with an assortment of sauces (garlic, wasabi, artichoke and more). The most exotic option of all of them: ketchup on a hot dog, a crime punishable by public humiliation within the city; here the condiment is liberated.
Wash it all down with a Goose Island soda pop, Monster energy drink, or childhood classic Yoo-hoo. Naturally, you'll find this place hopping with working-class heroes at lunchtime, with the plethora of meaty options a surefire way to have a filling yet unique meal during midday, and a surprisingly large amount of tables and stools for a fairly small dining area. A sign in front of the kitchen reads, "Our food is made to order. Takes longer, tastes better!" Apparently, waiting about 45 seconds for these hot dogs is an eternity for sausage lovers.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Andy Seifert