Where are the best hot dogs in the country? If you ask writers at the international food site, The Daily Meal, they’ll tell you they’re at a place called Rut’s Hut in Clifton, NJ.
Before completely writing them off, consider that Chicago gets a fair share of shoutouts in The Daily Meal’s compilation of the best 75 hot dogs in the United States.
First, they totally acknowledge the correct way to dress a dog: all-beef dogs frankfurters with mustard, never ketchup. Then, they give the city props, basically admitting that some of the best hot dogs in the USA – from Seattle to Honolulu, Nevada and beyond – ripped their style straight from the one-and-only Chi-Town. And with nine of the city’s hot dog spots ranked in the nation’s top 50, the Chicago area practically dominates this list (below) – one we didn’t really need in the first place.
But for National Hot Dog Day, we’ll entertain them.
The Daily Meal lists Superdawg as the third best hot dog in the country. We don’t appreciate ranking after a New York hot dog, much less a dog from New Jersey but appreciate the website noting that our local dog joint has “some of America’s best signage.”
#13 Fat Johnnie’s Famous Red Hots
Known for selling hot dogs paired with tamales, this Chicago spot comes in at No. 13. The site cracks at Fat Johnnie’s, 7242 S. Western Ave., quaint hut but reverses when it comes to flavor, calling it “one of the best hot dogs you’ll ever have.”
“It wouldn’t be fair to exclude” Portillo’s, The Daily Meal writes. You’re dang skippy! We don’t care if it’s a chain restaurant as long as the dogs stay authentic.
#20 Jimmy’s Red Hots
Do we think Jimmy’s is “something you’d toss into the trash,” as The Daily Meal suggests? Heck no. We’ll stand by this institution because it understands that ketchup is what really belongs in the trash. Even with the insult, the site had enough sense to include Jimmy’s Red Hots in its top 20, noting that though the hot dog “shouldn’t work, it does.”
#24 Gene and Jude’s in River Grove
Gene’s and Jude’s has its roots in Chicago, so we’ll claim it as such.
#36 Gold Coast Dogs
This one feels like charity because the site writes “there’s little left of the charm and personal touch that used to characterize” the original restaurant. We guess Gold Coast Dogs got points for a properly-charred hot dog.
#38 Vienna Beef Factory
A list of the country’s best hot dogs wouldn’t be credible without this Chicago institution. Credited with the creation of Vienna Beef hot dog in 1839, the Vienna Beef Factory at 2501 N. Damen Ave. ,serves up a bonafide Chicago dog and even offers guided tours.
#39 Wieners Circle
Sometimes we like our dog with a side of trash talk. Wieners Circle gets its due at No. 39.
#41 Murphy’s Red Hot Joint
Praise be! Murphy’s made the list! The Daily Mail held its tongue of any slights against this iconic spot, located at 1211 W. Belmont Ave., and only had nice things to say. With a little help from Bob Schwartz of Vienna Beef, The Daily Mail calls Murphy’s Red Hot Joint “special.” Special indeed.
#65 Mustard’s Last Stand in Evanston
Mustard’s Last Stand is the tenth Chicago-area hot dog spot on The Daily Mail’s exhaustive list. Technically in Evanston, at 1613 Central Street, it’s still a noteworthy mention.