Chicago hot dog joints with good veggie dogs?

Especially in the northern suburbs, or on the north side. Are there any places to get a good Chicago-style hot dog, but where the dog in question is vegetarian?


I’ve heard good things about Hot Doug’s, including from Anthony Bourdain when he visited Chicago for his show No Reservations.

That’s a crazy thing about the classic Chicago Dog: the meat is often superfluous. While a genuine Vienna Bee hot dog will stand up to sitting in hot water longer than most brands, the dog generally adds little more than texture to sandwich and, in many cases, is occupying space better filled with another pickle spear.

I disagree. A proper Chicago dog is about balancing the meat flavors vs the acid of the pickle, tomato, relish, vs the pungency of the mustard and onions, vs the encompassing steamed bun. Good God, man, if you mess with the balance, that way lies madness! Madness!!

Huey’s on Clark and Balmoral is the only one I am aware of, but it’s the only one you’ll ever need – yummalicious!! Fries (included) are great too.

Totally disagree here as well. A proper Vienna beef (or Chicago Red Hots) dog should have a nice garlicy note to it with good flavor. In my opinion, the skinless dogs are an abomination. It’s so hard to find a good natural casing dog these days. Part of the satisfaction of the dog is the nice “snap” you get to a natural casing dog (provided that it hasn’t been waterlogged sitting in the hot dog water. Dogs without snap are an abomination, too.)

Surprisingly, Portillo’s is pretty good on both counts. I’d expect a chain to settle for lowest common denominator, but they at least have natural casing dogs, something a lot of local establishments no longer have. And they’re one of the few places to get a completely to-spec “Vienna Beef Chicago-style hot dog.” Most places that advertise “Chicago style” dogs either are missing an ingredient or substitute another.

That said, there is a bit of controversy over whether a “Chicago-style hot dog” is really the definitive Chicago hot dog. I mean, it certainly was born here, but I personally would argue it is not the predominant style of hot dog in Chicago. Vienna Beef marketing had much to do with defining the style. For me, when I order a hot dog, everything, in my neighborhood in Chicago (southwest side) I expect hot dog, mustard, relish (non-neon green) and onions. Pickle spear is sometime included, too, sport peppers optional. Poppy seed bun, tomatoes, and celery salt are not.