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Hot Doug's

3324 N California Ave, Chicago, IL - (773) 279-9550
Posted By Stephen Rushmore on 11/15/2011 9:18:00 PM
Anyone who can innovate a food item that is thousands of years old will grab my attention. Doug Sohn of Hot Doug’s made the headlines several years ago with his foie gras hot dog, which was concocted to protest the State of Illinois ban of the fatty liver. He was fined and had his supply confiscated, but the move eventually backfired; the media jumped on the story, Hot Doug’s restaurant was in the spotlight, the ban was repealed, and business has been brisker than ever.

Doug decorates his brightly colored restaurant as a shrine to encased meats. The walls are lined with sausage and hot dog memorabilia. Be sure to take the time and read his humorous take on "Critical Links: A History of the Encased Meats" – an alternate reality of the major events in human history and how encased meats influenced the world. Even the two gendered restrooms are distinguished with hot dogs – one with the wiener, the other…empty.

I had the pleasure of connecting with Doug several minutes before the restaurant opened on a rainy Friday morning. The line outside his restaurant was already 45 minutes deep, and he was wrapping up a tasting session with a boutique cheese supplier. Like a master vintner or brewer, Doug would sample a small selection and then think out-loud about how it would mix with his various meats like chicken sausage, or rattlesnake or lamb sausage. When the clock eclipsed 10:30 AM, he grabbed a couple samples to experiment with later, and unlocked his restaurant door to invite a hungry mass of customers into his eatery.

Hot Doug’s most popular and infamous dish is the foie gras sausage, followed closely by french fries cooked in duck fat. The four round slices of foie gras pate is served atop Sauternes duck sausage with truffle aioli, foie gras mousse and sea salt. It is a creamy, rich and slightly gamey combination. The duck fat fries, which are freshly cut thinner to absorb more fat, are only served on Friday and Saturday.

The restaurant has an extensive rotating menu of creative weekly specials such as Philly Cheesesteak beef sausage with cream cheese mustard, caramelized onions and smoked provolone cheese. Traditional hot dogs such as a Chicago-style or Polish sausage are also served, and can be prepared char-grilled, deep-fried, steamed, fried and grilled. Anyone craving a sampling of our country’s famous hot dog styles will not be disappointed.

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Foie Gras and Sauternes Duck Sausage
Duck fat french fries
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

Served only on Friday and Saturdays, these freshly cut fries are cooked in rendered duck fat.
"Served only on Friday and Saturdays, these freshly cut fries are cooked in rendered duck fat."
Stephen Rushmore





A selection of hot dogs and sausages ready to be consumed by a couple.
"A selection of hot dogs and sausages ready to be consumed by a couple."
Stephen Rushmore


The foie gras and duck sausage is Hot Doug's signature and once infamous dish. The four round slices of fois gras pate is served atop sauternes duck sausage with truffle aioli, foie gras mousse and sea salt.  It is a creamy, rich, and slightly gamey combination.
"The foie gras and duck sausage is Hot Doug's signature and once infamous dish. The four round slices of fois gras pate is served atop sauternes duck sausage with truffle aioli, foie gras mousse and sea salt. It is a creamy, rich, and slightly gamey combination."
Stephen Rushmore


Spicy Thai Chicken Sausage with Thai Peanut Sauce and Toasted Coconut.
"Spicy Thai Chicken Sausage with Thai Peanut Sauce and Toasted Coconut."
Stephen Rushmore


Bring back childhood memories with a corn dog.
"Bring back childhood memories with a corn dog."
Stephen Rushmore


A relaxed and humorous Doug.
"A relaxed and humorous Doug."
Stephen Rushmore


A bright and vibrant interior setting.
"A bright and vibrant interior setting. "
Stephen Rushmore


The menu board has a variety of weekly specials.
"The menu board has a variety of weekly specials."
Stephen Rushmore


Many different cooking and topping options available.
"Many different cooking and topping options available."
Stephen Rushmore


The womens room signage.
"The womens room signage."
Stephen Rushmore


The mens room signage.
"The mens room signage."
Stephen Rushmore


A small sample of the hot dog paraphernalia and awards found throughout the eatery.
"A small sample of the hot dog paraphernalia and awards found throughout the eatery."
Stephen Rushmore


Just about everyone orders  duck fat fries when it is served.
"Just about everyone orders duck fat fries when it is served."
Stephen Rushmore


Jamaican Jerk Pork Sausage with Prickly pear mayonnaise, Chipotle cheddar cheese and fried plantains
"Jamaican Jerk Pork Sausage with Prickly pear mayonnaise, Chipotle cheddar cheese and fried plantains"
Stephen Rushmore



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Stephen Rushmore


Located on the corner of a brick building.
"Located on the corner of a brick building."
Stephen Rushmore


Doug Sohn, the owner and order taker, takes everyone's order and then announces it to his cooking crew.
"Doug Sohn, the owner and order taker, takes everyone's order and then announces it to his cooking crew."
Stephen Rushmore


Various grilled sausages.
"Various grilled sausages."
Stephen Rushmore



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