Chicago Red Hots

9 STOPS | 74 MILES | 3 hr 21 min

Frankfurter historians believe the Chicago red hot (aka hot dog) was first configured in 1929 by Abe “Fluky” Drexler at the erstwhile street bazaar on Maxwell Street. Drexler’s genius was to bun the sausage and top it with so many condiments that it seemed more like a meal than a snack. Today, nearly 2000 vendors sell red hots in Chicagoland, and the question of who serves the best is source of never-ending debate. Some points of contention are how it is cooked, the variety and quality of the condiments, and the freshness of the bun. The hot dog itself is no slouch: long and fairly slim, dense-textured and with a garlic kick, packed tight in a natural casing. Most places steam it until taut enough that a first bite erupts with savory juices.



Poochie's serves all-beef Chicago red hots (hot dogs) at their best, dressed to the nines. Char dogs are a good crusty alternative. Great French fries, too!



Of all the great hot dog joints in Chicago, Superdawg might be the greatest. It's certainly the most fun, and the dogs (& burgers & shakes) are unsurpassed.


Vienna Beef Factory Store and Café

A Vienna Beef workers' cafeteria open to the public. Chicago dogs are perfect and fresh. Corned beef sandwiches are piled high on good rye.


Wiener’s Circle

The brash & sassy Wiener's Circle serves Chicago-style all-beef hot dogs topped with flawless condiments. French fries are some of the city's best.


Byron’s Dog Haus

Plump Polish sausages with crisp skin; succulent hot dogs dragged through the garden; fine skinny French fries: Byron's Dog Haus is a great taste of Chicago.


Gene & Jude’s

Natural-casing, all-beef Vienna brand hot dogs are slim and snappy at Gene & Jude's. They come dressed to order and topped with excellent French fries.


Mustard’s Last Stand

Mustard's Last Stand in Evanston serves all-beef, Vienna-brand red hots steamed to plumpness, dressed to the nines & cushioned inside soft poppy-seed rolls.


Paradise Pup

Char-grilled burgers and fries topped with Merkts cheddar cheese as well as classic Chicago red hots make Paradise Pup a best bet.



At the big sign of the frankfurter at Wolfy's, count on classic Chicago street food, including great all-beef hot dogs served fast and with plenty of sass.

Must Eats
Polish sausage