One of the first hot dogs that I ate in Chicago was at DownTown Dogs and I remember it well. It was freezing and just a couple of days after the snowpocalypse of 2011. I had found myself sheltering here after having bought myself a rent deposit cheque from the ‘cheques cashed’ shop on the corner (another first) where they ‘cut’ me a cheques in exchange for a big pile of greenbacks. On that first visit I had sampled the traditional Chicago Dog and on that first occasion it had seemed to be a strange affair, in many ways I still find that it is. I know that traditionally it is an all beef frankfurter typically a Vienna Dog topped with yellow mustard, chopped white onions, bright green sweet pickle relish, a dill pickle spear, a slice of tomato, pickled sport peppers, and a dash of celery salt. I don’t like mine like that and usually just have mustard and raw onion. I do love the sesame bun, and I think that the snap from the Vienna dog is hard to beat.
On this occasion I was treating a fellow expat friend from ‘out of town’ to his first Chicago Dog, well that was the plan anyhow.
In the end the suggestion of sport pickles and celery salt did not meet with his expectation so he ordered a Cheese Dog for around $3-4. This was declared a success even though the liquid cheese was not what he expected (I did warn him) it was more gooey nacho-like cheese or something that could live in a squeezy bottle. I went for my standard favourite here which is the Char Dog with Raw Onions and Mustard. It is not big or clever but it certainly hits the spot.
If you were in any doubt that DownTown Dogs was not just about the dogs in a bun, well just take a look around the room at the various dogscapes
The collage of downtown ‘dogs’ past and present and the courtesy fire hydrant ‘just in case’.
Note that there is no rest room for us human types, no our nearest port of call is in the bar next door.
DownTown Dogs is located handily close to the Chicago Red Line stop at 804 N Rush St, Chicago in Streeterville, and even more handily next door to Pippins Tavern (if you need a beer). It is not very big, but people don’t seem to hang around for too long so I have always found a bar stool to perch upon when chowing down on my chosed dog. Check them out on their website, Follow them on their Twitter feed and check them out on Facebook as well