CHICAGO, ILLINOIS — In Chicago, Hot Doug’s is the ultimate in gourmet hot dogs. Their dogs are delicious, their fries are dipped in duck fat, their lines are eternally long, and their hours are short. So what’s a dog lover to do when she needs a fix? Stop by one of these two places for an equally interesting experience and a much quicker queue.
There’s only one dog at The Belly Shack and it’s the Belly Dog. It comes with kimchi salsa with crispy egg noodles on top plus chili pepper spiced fries and a magical curry mayonaise dipping sauce that you won’t be able to stop eating. Look at the image above. I ate it all. Like everything. No questions asked. They also have delicious soft-serve ice cream. Even the “normal” flavor cinnamon caramel was better than expected.
Franks ‘n Dawgs
The experience at Franks ‘n Dawgs is much more similar to Hot Doug’s than The Belly Shack. You’ll find an extensive menu of out-of-the-ordinary sausages, many made on site. Pictured below is the Tur-Doggin, a turkey and date sausage topped with crispy duck confit, herb aioli, and a pile of pickled carrots — all equally delicious on their own as they are together. Franks is also known for their Brunch Dog. I recommend checking the menu before stepping foot inside.
I excitedly ordered a side of the truffle mac and cheese in addition to my dog. It was a bit too mushy for my taste and I think I’m over the truffle trend. But pictured next to my mac is a wonderful pic of Nick Nolte — that’s how they keep track of your order. Pick a celebrity off the wall of shame and then velcro it to the edge of your table. They’ll deliver your dog based on your celebrity of choice. Hilarious.
If you’re in the suburbs looking for a good dog there’s always Superdawg, but there’s also Wiener Take All. It’s a good old strip-mall joint with an unimpressive inside and old bathrooms. But it serves incredible dogs and great fries. You really can’t go wrong with a Chicago dog with everything on it. Remember — no ketchup!