Byron’s Hot Dogs | Chicago Red Hots | Through the Garden

Review by: Michael Stern

Dress That Dog!

At Byron’s when you order a hot dog (known to Chicagoans as a red hot), you want it dragged through the garden. This venerable North Side dog house (since 1975) can seriously dress a dog. Its available condiments include strips of green pepper, cucumber discs, piccalilli, yellow mustard, onions, sport peppers (hot!), and whole tomatoes. Yes, one whole tomato, cut into slices rests atop the hot dog. A sprinkle of celery salt rests across the top. They don’t quite cut the tomato all the way through, so it remains semi-round. But at first bite, it starts separating. Two or three bites cause the dog and all its condiments to become a splendid mess.

The hot dog itself does Chicago proud. Byron’s steeps its all-beef Vienna brand franks to plump succulence. When you sink your teeth into one, you feel the faint crackle of its skin. The one weak link in the package is its bun. It’s a bore: small, plain (no poppy seeds), forked straight from its plastic-wrapped container (not well-warmed).

Don’t Forget French Fries

Alongside this good frankfurter dragged through the garden, you want French fries. Skinny and crisp, they make an ideal spuddy companion to a good red hot. Byron’s serves them in abundance. Unless you really love French fries, a single order will likely serve two eaters.

The Mighty Polish Sausage

If hot dogs are too gentle-tempered for you, consider Byron’s Polish sausage. Although it resembles a hot dog, it almost belongs to another food group. They sizzle on a griddle rather than cook in water. As they sizzle, the cook dips a ladle into the Fryolator to retrieve hot fat. He pours it over the grilling tube steaks. The grease helps give them a blackened, crisp skin. It also produces a look of glistening, sinfully swollen avoirdupois. These are some of the most cumbrous Polish sausages in a city where Polish sausages are matters of serious culinary consideration. If you are a Polish sausage fanatic, it isn’t likely you will be blasé about the big, charred tubes they serve up at Byron’s. You will love them or hate them.

Beyond tubular sausages, Byron’s menu offers burgers, gyros, cheese steaks, and Italian beef.

There is a second Byron’s at 1701 Lawrence Ave., Chicago, IL. 773-271-0900.


Directions & Hours

10:30am - 9pm
  • Monday: 10:30 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 10:30 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 10:30 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Thursday: 10:30 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Friday: 10:30 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Saturday: 10:30 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Sunday: 10:30 AM – 9:00 PM

What To Eat

Hot Dog

French Fries


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