Chicago Hot Dogs and Kitschy Fun

Chicago has plenty of sophisticated dining options, but the heart of Chicago’s food experience is its deep dish pizza and hot dogs. Our friend Tanya visited this weekend and wanted a Chicago dog, so I took her to  Murphy’s Red Hots (1211 W. Belmont Avenue).  I am not an authority on Chicago’s best hot dog – I don’t eat beef or pork! – but she gave them two enthusiastic thumbs up.

While she had a red hot with everything, I enjoyed delicious fries and a vanilla shake with a hearty dose of kitsch.

9-21 sign

9-21 red hot

9-21 food

9-21 stools

9-21 no ketchup

9-21 wall

9-21 tanya

9-21 murphy's

For further endorsement of Murphy’s Red Hots, as well as more Chicago dog recommendations, see this article in Travel & Leisure Magazine. Anyone have a passionate opinion about Chicago hot dogs? Please share!

Since riding my bike and experiencing the city is all rolled into one, I like talking about different places I go.  I’m going to throw all these posts in a new section called “Dottie’s Chicago Guide,” which can be accessed from the “Resources” page or the sidebar.  Hopefully, it will be helpful for anyone who wants to explore Chicago, especially by bike.

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20 thoughts on “Chicago Hot Dogs and Kitschy Fun

  1. Trisha says:

    Love it! Sorry I missed the hot dog. :)

  2. dukiebiddle says:

    ” I’m going to throw all these posts in a new section called “Dottie’s Chicago Guide…” Hopefully, it will be helpful for anyone who wants to explore Chicago, especially by bike.”

    You know, that’s a really nice I idea. I’m not a traveler, but if I was a traveler to any urban location, I know that ‘by-bike’ would be my preferred mode of tourist transport. You should also feature those fancy-schmancy city/dutch bike shops and their rental policies… or any bike shops and their rental policies.

    Of course Avis and Enterprise might send some heavies around your way to break some fingers, but you’re a tough cookie. You can handle that kind of heat. ;-)

  3. Kay says:

    Don’t write a post, write a book! I wish my local metro area had a bike guide–esp one by someone as inspiring as you.

  4. sara says:

    ohhh, my sons would be in trouble there. it is ALL about the ketchup on hotdogs.

  5. Erich says:

    you know, I could go vegetarian if it weren’t for Hot Dogs. I love ’em any way you serve ’em – kraut dogs, slaw dawgs, chicago dogs, BBQ dogs, boiled, grilled, deep fried (!) Mmmm.

  6. Sid says:

    My wife is the same – no beef or pork. So whenever she’s tempted by the greatness of the hot dog we brave the crowd at Hot Doug’s. There is a veggie dog and chicken sausage on the regular menu, and the daily specials usually include some beef/pork alternatives.

    • Trisha says:

      Good to know — I’ve heard great things about Hot Doug’s! Will have to check that out next time I’m in Chicago since the Ds will have something more substantial to eat. But Sara, like your sons I might get in trouble for adding ketchup. Not sure it’s a hot dog without it!

  7. dukiebiddle says:

    Whether he meant to do it or not, Bob Schwartz just really put me off. Sort of like how if I were on a first date with Bob Schwartz and he started saying really creepy antisemitic stuff *AND* told me what I could or couldn’t put on my hot dog and I’d be all like “Hey, don’t tell me what I can’t put on my hot dog you Weinernazi.” Except I’d pronounce the W in Weinernazi like a V because that’s what Weinernazis do and it actually really makes sense from an etymological standpoint. And I’d also be all like “Hey, what are we doing on a first date anyway? We’re both men. You’re so not getting a second date, bub.”

    Wait a second. What was this post about?

  8. Karen says:

    My husband says that Chicago dogs are the best in the world and there is no use trying to get them elsewhere. He pointed out the finer ingredients pictured in your post. Even as I write these words he is now in a rant about those who claim in other cities to serve Chicago dogs but do not even come close. Hmmm . . . I can’t seem to get him to calm down. Never should have shown him your post. I suppose now we will have to go to Chicago.

  9. Ghost Rider says:

    Mmm…Chicago dogs with the requisite celery salt and sport peppers. We’re lucky that we’ve got a genuine Chicago hot dog place here in Tampa (run by a true Chicago native):

    And, a genuine Chicago expert (my father, who was raised in Chicago) says they stack up to anything the Windy City has to offer. Well, maybe not Superdog, but damn close.

  10. Ira says:

    I’ve only been to Murphy’s once, on last year’s ‘Bike the Dog’ ride, but I remember the hot dogs were fantastic.

    The ride website is gone for some reason, but here’s a post I wrote about it:

    I really like your Chicago guide tags. Great idea.

  11. E A says:

    Yeah.. I love playing tour guide when friends come to town. and I love constantly exploring this city from the viewpoint of a tourist. There’s always something new.

    Ever hear of Hot Doug’s for hot dogs – they have all kinds and have lines out the door! Or the Weiner Circle on Clark – they yell at you (especially the post 2am crowd). ;-)

  12. John says:

    Take out the hot dog and it’s still a pretty good eat.

  13. Dean Peddle says:

    Hot dogs and bike rides….they go together so nice!!! Isn’t that why we all ride…so we can eat crap :) Or is that just me ?

    BTW…I can’t compare to Chicago Hot dogs as I’ve never had one but Montreal/Quebec hot dogs are to die for….they are the only place I know that is allowed to steam them and they just melt in your mouth….and no one makes better fries than the french!!! I think it’s because they never change there greese.

  14. Joey says:

    So much for my diet.

  15. Lauren says:

    Late to the party here (just found your blog through your interview on Being Totally Sweet in Chicago) but it made me so excited to see Murphy’s that I had to give it another endorsement. My boyfriend lives in Chicago, and we go to Murphy’s at least once every time I visit. A Murphy dog is my idea of heaven. :)

  16. Jeremy says:

    I’m a college student in Iowa originally from Chicago. My mouth almost started to water at the words of “Chicago Hot Dog.” Another great place for their Chicago food is Portillo’s. In my opinion, there is not a more perfect food than a Vienna beef hot dog in a sesame seed bun with the whole garden on top of it.
    Can’t wait to get back home and feast.

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