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July 27, 2010

America's Dog: Chicago Hog Dog Chain takes a Different Angle

Here's another adventure. This journey took me to a place called America's Dog. What's the concept? It's pretty simple. The celebration of the hot dog- America's tasty treat. It features a hot dog as made in the various American cities. The founders went on a road trip and tried how people eat hot dogs-what way, how prepared, and most important, what's on them.

Now in Chicagoland, there's only one rule- no ketchup (at least until you turn ages 10-12)!!! Pretty much everything else is fair game. If you want a tomato based product, slice or dice some tomato or add some salsa. I think ketchup kills the texture of the dog. I tried it as a kid ONCE and never did it again. The Chicago hot dog is simple- tomato, pickle, relish, onion, mustard, onions, sport peppers and celery salt (just a dash). That's just how it is. Most people here may not put all of the above items on each time but most of them do generally appear (most common- mustard, onion, pickle, tomato seem to be the common edit to this dog). Some places will just a hot pepper in place of sports peppers to add more heat.

As it relates to suggestions, pay the extra $.50 and get a jumbo hot dog. It will be worth it. They have 17 different dogs alone including the Chicago Dog (not including the Maxwell St Polish- another treat in itself. Now, I'll get my criticism out of the way first and they are very few. First of all, Coke fans like me won't like the choice of drink (hint-hint). I'd have to say the oddest of dogs to me was the San Francisco Dog (Chili, mustard, ketchup, relish, onion, pickle, tomato, shredded, cheddar cheese and celery salt). This dog seems to be suffering from an identity crisis. The Atlanta Dog seems to have some debate. The common choices were cole slaw, chili, mustard and onion. Some, like America's Dog, have ketchup on their Atlanta style. That's a discussion for another day. If in doubt, order the Philly Dog, where you put whatever you want on it.  
I bought two dogs- the Dallas and the Baltimore. The Dallas Dog is basically a chili dog (Chili, onion and shredded cheddar cheese). Its sybling, the Houston Dog, is chili alone. The Baltimore Dog was a bit more of an adventure (Deep fried dog, with melted cheddar and grilled onions). I enjoyed both and the Baltimore was better than I expected. The texture was rock solid. I actually debated on the Baltimore and the Charleston (Cole slaw, chili, onion and mustard). Cole slaw is a southern thing but it works for me. It tastes very good. I regret not taking pictures of my food due to my camera battery deciding to die on me.

If you want to see the entire menu, here it is:

There are four locations in Chicago. I went to the one on Randolph Street (just east of State Street). The location is also on the north entrance of Macy's (Marshall Field building). So that location is easy to get to if you're walking downtown in Chicago. DO NOT TRY TO DRIVE THERE because there is no parking lot (free lot anyway). Out-of-towners, if you go to Navy Pier, they have a location there as well. There are plenty of other items to try as well (beefs, burgers, etc). The french fries were very appealing as well. Notice how my bag mentions being "voted #1 hot dog" but I am unsure who gave this honor. Nonetheless, this is a worthy stop and makes their own mark in a very well-saturated hot dog market. They found a niche and running with it. You may follow them on twitter- @AmericasDog.

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