Hot Dog Day! Hot Doug’s Shocker! Chicago’s Hot Dog Legend Calls It Quits!

national hot dog day 2014

It’s National Hot Dog Day 2014!

Yes, today is the day to celebrate encased meat in a bun! So, for the next 24 hours you get to dig into anything that looks like THIS:

dan-abbate-largest-hot-dog-commercially-available-0514

Sure, on a national holiday like this, you will always find those who take it to the extreme…but isn’t that what food is all about?

carolina-eats-worlds-largest-hot-dog

Hot Dog Shocker!

But while most of America celebrates, there is one city that is still reeling from a hot dog shocker! Here is the “tale o’ the pup”:

hot dougs logo

Welcome to Hot Doug’s! The Sausage Superstore and Encased Meat Emporium!

First, you gotta love any place that calls itself an “encased meat emporium!” It’s just one reason that Chicago’s “Hot Doug’s” is an institution…

hot-dougs Doug Sohn

Shocking Hot Doug’s News!

Because Hot Doug’s is so well known in the Chicago restaurant world, and so popular among foodies, it was a shocking bit of news that was announced on May 4 – when Hot Doug’s owner Doug Sohn posted a simple announcement on his website:

Permanent Vacation begins Saturday, October 4.

hotdougs-hot dog

Yes, Hot Doug’s is closing! Food websites jumped all over the story, and in the weeks since the announcement, there has been little shared by Doug to explain his decision. So, as of October 4, Chicago will no longer enjoy hot dogs like THIS ONE:

Hot Doug's BLT hot dog

Owner Doug Sohn later told a Chicago food website that it was “time to do something else.” The news shocked the Chicago food community…Hot Doug’s is one of Chicago’s most popular restaurants!

Hot Doug's Closing

Hot Doug's Chicago

Since the announcement, the restaurant has been packed every single day…they are open from 10:30a-4p daily, and when I showed up on a recent Thursday at 10a, there were already thirty people waiting ahead of me…

Hot Dougs closing

By the time I entered the building forty minutes later, the line was almost a hundred long…and the sign on the door explains why:

classic Chicago restaurants

Countdown To October 3!

With the closing date looming, I headed out to Hot Doug’s to sample a few of their hot dogs…the team, led by Doug, keep things moving briskly…

Hot Dougs menu

There is room inside for about fifty people to sit, so it didn’t feel crowded at all. The walls are full of great hot dogs imagery and slogans…

Hot Dougs Chicago

While you are in line, you can read the menu, which is posted on the wall. Here is a look at the specials on offer…

Hot Doug's Special Dogs

Foie Gras and Sauternes Duck Sausage with Truffle Aioli, Foie Gras Mousse and Fleur de Sel – $10.00

Well, THAT one had my name on it:

Foie Gras hot dog Hot Dougs

As you can see, this hot dog is loaded up with LOTS of foie – but you can see the char-grilled duck sausage underneath, along with the creamy truffle aioli…

Hot Doug's foie gras hot dog

Most noticeable is how crunchy the hot dog casing it: it really does snap between your teeth…oh, and this is a VERY RICH HOT DOG!

Chicago's best hot dogs

Two things to point out: first, this is the most expensive hot dog they have, strictly due to the exotic ingredients – so it’s not overwhelming in size. It is, however, fairly overwhelming in richness, so you could order this among a couple of people and each have a tasty bite!

Now, onto my second choice:

Hot Doug’s B.L.T.: Bacon Sausage with Avocado Mayonnaise, Iceberg Lettuce and Cherry Tomatoes – $9.00

Hot Doug's special hot dog

This hot dog is made with bacon sausage – so it was a bit chewier than a normal hot dog, and the avocado mayo was very smooth and velvety…

Hot Doug's BLT hot dog

That allows the lettuce and cherry tomato to offer a cold snap of flavor…this hot dog wasn’t nearly as rich as the foie dog, so no need to share this one!

hot dog recipes

Here are a few of the other specials:

Über Garlic Pork Sausage with Roasted Garlic Mayonnaise, Carrigaline Cheese and Bacon Lardons – $9.00

Escargot and Guanciale Sausage with Parsley-Garlic Goat Butter and Double Crème Brie Cheese -$9.00

Of course, you can just look up on the wall and read about all of Doug’s regular offerings as well:

Hot Doug's Menu

Their regular menu consists of:

The Dog
Chicago-Style Hot Dog with all the trimmings: ’nuff said! $2.50

traditional Chicago hot dog

The Elvis
Polish Sausage: Smoked and savory – just like the King – $3.50

The Paul Kelly
Bratwurst: Soaked in Beer – sort of like Paul. $4.00

The Bruno Tattaglia
(formerly the Sal Tessio, the Frankie Pentangeli, the Virgil Sollozzo and the Luca Brasi) Italian Sausage: Don’t ever take sides with anyone against the sausage. $4.00

That’s right, they have a Hot Dog that honors The Godfather!

Marlon Brando The Godfather

And as you can see, the price for most dogs are very reasonable…leaving you enough money for some:

Duck Fries!

That’s right, on Friday and Saturday, you can order your fries cooked in duck fat – YES, DUCK FAT!

Duck fat fries

Since I was there on Thursday, I had to settle for “cheese fries” – and yes, they are as gooey and delicious as they look:

Hot Doug's cheese fries

They offer regular fries as well, but if you are going to Hot Doug’s, then you might as well go all the way…oh, and this is a SMALL order!

cheese fries recipe

Doug was behind the counter to take my order, and there were plenty of seating options…and the order took less than ten minutes to deliver…a great experience in a fun, relaxed environment…

Hot Doug's restaurant Chicago

There’s Still Time To Bite Down On Hot Doug’s!

Lots of pics have been posted online of the long lines outside the restaurant every single day…but it will be Chicago’s last chance to bite into a legend!

Doug Sohn cookbook

You can also buy a T-short or cookbook to keep. So, if you are a local, or planning to be in Chicago before October 3rd, time is running out to enjoy Hot Doug’s!

Hot Dougs closure

So, make sure to take time to celebrate National Hog Dog Day 2014 by biting into a nice taste of encased meat!



Categories: BACON, Books / Media, chicago, cookbooks, Food, Food Review, Recipes, Restaurants, Travel, Travel Adventures, Travel Memoir, Uncategorized, Wacky Food

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5 replies

  1. that’s the line you were in the other day!?! How sad! You should totally buy the place and keep it open. It’s obviously an excellent, most loved place! Very nice post, you made me hungry instead of nauseous today! thank you : )
    Now, since it’s national hotdog day I’ll be going to get some Sabrett HotDogs and call it dinner, an easy out hahahahaha

  2. When are we heading over?!!!!

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  1. National Hot Dog Day 2015! Bite Down On These Exotic Wieners! | johnrieber

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