This weekend Johanna‘s boyfriend Kevin visited us {well, mostly Johanna but I was there too!}. Johanna had to work on Saturday and since she has recently gone vegetarian on us, Kevin and I created a beautiful plan for the day: Chicago dogs. After lots of research, it became beyond clear that we needed to try Hot Doug‘s for all of our hot dog needs. And I am simply tickled that we did. I’m going to warn you right now, a flood of pictures are about to follow. And another warning, you’re going to want to jump on a plane/train/bus/bike/boat and stand in line for Hot Doug’s depending on where you’re reading from.

We waited in that line. We waited over an hour for a dog we had only dreamt about it. But the wait turned out to be fun. We chatted with a few locals and a few fellow first timers. We gossiped a bit about the myths we had heard. And we learned some insider tips. {Don’t stand in line for over an hour and only order 1 hot dog. Order a small drink — you get free refills, with a large you do not. Order a speciality dog – you can get the standard Chicago dog anywhere. Don’t be afraid of exotic meats – yes they serve kangaroo meat in their “encased meat” and you will like it.}

Thanks to the good ol’ smart phone, we also spent time looking at their online menu. We became fully prepared to enter Hot Doug’s and order. Kevin ordered 3 dogs: The Dog {your standard Chicago style hot dog}, Philly Cheesesteak Beef Sausage with Cream Cheese Mustard, Caramelized Onions and Smoked Provolone Cheese {a specialty dog}, and Cayenne and Cheddar Pork Sausage with Chipotle Dijonnaise and Habanero-Jack Cheese {a specialty dog}. I ordered 2 dogs: the Cayenne and Cheddar Pork Sausage with Chipotle Dijonnaise and Habanero-Jack Cheese {a specialty dog} and a Cherry and Apple Pork Sausage with Apricot Mayonnaise and L’Edel de Cleron Cheese {a specialty dog}.

My favorites were The Dog and The Philly Cheesesteak dog — yes, both Kevin’s choices. Isn’t that always how it works? The Cayenne and Cheddar was good, but I’m not a huge fan of pork… so I’m not entirely sure what I was thinking there. All in all though, I cannot complain about a thing.

The best part about the entire experience, and I mean best even better than eating the food, was meeting Doug. The Doug. Doug was the first person to greet us to his restaurant, Doug was the person to take our orders. After I told him what I wanted I asked “wait, do you think those are a good choice?” and he said “they wouldn’t be on the menu if I didn’t think they were good.”

I looked at him and squealed “Wait! You’re Doug? Kevin, this is Doug!” Doug then proceeded to smile and talk to us about where we were from and how it was our first time visiting. Now it needs to be mentioned that Kevin and I finally got inside at about 3:50pm and the restaurant closes at 4:00pm. So Doug had been doing this all day. And yet he was just as pleasant as you would expect him to be with the very first person he talked to that day. He cracked jokes with us. He made fun of San Diego. And then he gave me a free drink to make up for all his rousting. He is without a doubt the reason the place is as successful as it is. I would stand in line another hour just to support such an awesome guy.

So my final verdict? Go to Hot Doug’s. Bring a bottle of water and maybe even a crossword puzzle {as the experience Hot Dougers did} because you will be waiting in line. Order The Dog and a speciality. And say hi to Doug!

if you’re lucky enough to meet Doug from Hot Doug’s, you’re lucky enough



  1. Yes…like many here I came for the duck sausage and foie gras hotdog. I thought it was fitting since just only recently California banned foie gras. So as an “in your face” moment I had a few hours to kill in Chicago and being on a tight schedule to make sure I make it to my flight I dropped by here to get the infamous hotdog and savored every single bite. It’s decadent for sure…but amazingly good. Every bite was worth the trip for me. 2 hours driving from Wisconsin and then off on a plane again..it was amazing. If I’d come back again to try out the other goodies they had here. The elk hot dog sound promising. One major thing is there is a line. A long line. I came here before it opened..maybe 10 minutes before there was about 10 people before me. Line does move fast since there’s a system and they do get out orders pretty quick BUT you don’t feel rush at all. Great friendly place and great eats. What else can you ask for?


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