When I met my guy in Chicago for the first time he told me there was one thing we had to do. I thought, ‘Hmm.. see the skyline along Lakeshore drive, visit the Sears tower?’ No. It was to eat a Chicago Style Hot Dog. I’ve never been a hot dog girl, even when they’re grilled on charcoal til it splits open its juices; I’ve always preferred to eat other things. I was wrong.
The “Chicago Style” hot dog got its start from street cart hot dog vendors during the hard times of the Great Depression. Money was scarce, but business was booming for these entrepreneurs who offered a delicious hot meal on a bun for only a nickel. The famous Chicago Style Hot Dog was born. They’d start with a Vienna Beef hot dog, nestle it in a steamed poppyseed bun and cover it with a wonderful combination of toppings: yellow mustard, bright green relish, fresh chopped onions, juicy red tomato wedges, a kosher-style pickle spear, a couple of spicy sport peppers and finally, a dash of celery salt. (Don’t even think about putting ketchup on this doggie!) This unique hot dog creation with a “salad on top” and its memorable interplay of hot and cold, crisp and soft, sharp and smooth, became America’s original fast food and a true Chicago institution.
I highly recommend this unique creation, we even found one in Santa Fe, New Mexico at a food truck called Chicago Dog Express, voted Best Food Truck in Santa Fe in ’09 & ’10!