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Restaurants & Bars 24

Hot Dog Chicago

Vital Information | Dec 6, 2001 09:14 AM

Totally independent of my recent diversion of going thru my old menu's, I happened to find my well worn copy of Hot Dog Chicago. Does anyone else know this book? It's a pre-Internet chowhound tour of Chicago written by two Loyola professors, "awed by Chicago and its cusine."

The book is interesting both for what's there and what's not there. Practically all the hot dog stands glorified on this board--Gene and Judes, Superdawg, Jimmy's, Byron's--were raved about then (1983). Showing how mighty its descent has been, Flukeys was rated the best hot dog stand back then.

There are several write-ups of the "tastee" school of chicago hot dog. For those only familiar with the vienna style dog, there once was another popular dog around town made by Leon's sausage company. A dog at once squishier than Vienna but more flavorful. The places selling the Leon dog all seemed to overdress their dogs with lettuce and green pepper and cucumber and tons of tomato, in addition to the usual toppings. Wally's on Austin was a good example, but this place recently closed. The orignial taste-hastee on Milwaukee is long gone. I am sure there on Leon style places left, does anyone have any advice?

The beef stands have been a little less stable as well. One of their favorites, Connie's, on North Avenue in Chicago is no more. (Zim, you'd be happy to know that Johnies was just as popular then as it is now).

There are all sorts of other intersting observations and nostalga and write-ups of classics that no one on chowhound has ever got around to covering. For instance, Billy Goat and Lindy's Chili and Riccobenes, all still great, are profiled. Then, there is Boobies, from Niles, the fast food vallahla of my youth. Hot Dog Chicago even mentions the great Boobie's "salad bar" And Dewey's, the place of my drive-by dreams, is wonderfully reviewed, making me rue even more, it's demise.

It's an interesting read at this time of chowhound teetering. I believe the authors thought at the time, that perhaps, they had a franchise as well. Sadly, this was a one shot book, and I doubt the authors gave up their teaching careers.


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