Chicago is very well known for its hot dogs. The traditional Chicago-Style hot dog has relish, onions, tomato, pickle, sport-pepper, celery salt all on a sesame seed bun and it should be a Vienna beef dog. Well, you have a unique dining experience awaiting you that goes well beyond that at Hot Doug's.
Hot Dougs likes to say they are not producing and selling "hot dogs." What they are selling is "encased meats." You can understand what this means by taking a look at their menu. Their specials change daily and if it is possible to grind it up and put it into a sausage casing, then that's what they do.
As an example, I am writing this on May 16, 2006 and their website (www.hotdougs.com) says one of their specials today is Bacon-Jalenpeno Duck Sausage with Blood Orange Mustard and Foie Gras. Better get that one while you can since our Chicago City Council (apparently after having solved all the other problems in teh city) banned foie gras in the city of Chicago. How about Apple and Cranberry Chicken Sausage with Blueberry Dijonnaise and Creamy Kirsch Cheese?
My friend Robyn's favorite of all time was Antelop Sausage with Port-Berry Sauce and Fourme D'Ambert Cheese. She says it was a perfect blend of flavors.
So, this is not your typical hot dog stand. The hours can be a little crazy because the owner will simply decide, on a whim, to close the place down for a holiday or a weekend. Get there early because it can get very crowded. They serve Duck-fat Fries on Fridays and Saturdays and they are worth the trip.
You won't find a hot dog or "encased meat" experience quite like this one and have it still be legal.