Since we've moved to Chicago, I've been encouraged by many, many, MANY people to take a trip to Hot Doug's (3324 North California, Avondale). Some have even gone so far as to say, Hot Doug's has the best dogs in Chicago. I decided I should be the judge of that. As a self appointed, "Encased Meat Emporium," Hot Doug's had some big expectations to live up to.
I'm happy to report, our first visit did not disappoint.
I have one friend that might possibly love hot dogs more than I do. That friend is Lexi. So when she visited last week, I knew this was the perfect moment to give Hot Doug's a try. We hopped a bus and headed North to stuff our bellies with house made sausage and french fries.
We had been tipped off that we should expect a wait. As naive as I am, I thought by going on Monday we would avoid the crowd.
We waited about 30 minutes (and I hear that isn't all that bad) to get to the counter and order our dogs.
Since it was our first visit, we kept our orders simple. We got Chicago dogs, Bratwurst, and Polish Sausage. I knew from the perfect pop of the casing in my first bite that I was in for a treat. The toppings were fresh, the dogs were delicious and the extensive menu has us itching to get back there again. The freshly cut french fries were warm, salty and delightfully addictive. Bonus, Hot Doug's offers free fountain drink refills - and we were encouraged to buy a small and take advantage of that fact. I consider that a gold star for customer service.
I'm dying to get back there on a Friday or Saturday to try the duck fat fries and a "Foie Gras and Sauternes Duck Sausage with Truffle Aioli, Foie Gras Mousse and Fleur de Sel." Sounds fancy, rich and yummy, right? Can't wait. Can't wait. Can't wait.
Hot Doug's is a cash only business. It's bright, humorous decor is perfectly suited to the hot dog madness that happens inside those doors. The "regular" dogs on the menu are incredibly reasonably priced and the large french fries fed all three of us. While I don't believe I've done the research required to declare these dogs the best in the city yet, I certainly enjoyed every bite. Rest assured I will continue researching and look forward to crowing a hot dog king of Chicago...eventually.