Chicago Style Hot Dog T-Shirt

What is a Chicago Style Hot Dog?

August 17, 2022

If you’re a hotdog enthusiast or lover of all things street food, you’ve likely heard of the Chicago-style hot dog. Crafted during the Great Depression, this all-beef masterpiece has remained a classic street food item throughout generations of hotdog connoisseurs.
If you’re traveling to the Windy City anytime soon or would simply like to experience its culture, bust out your Chicago T-shirts and pride to enjoy some authentically-made street food. Whether you’re getting your dog from a mom-and-pop restaurant or a traditional hotdog cart around Clark & Addison Street, we’ve got the perfect guide to getting the popular (and delicious) hotdog in its glorious Chicago style.


What Makes an Authentic Chicago Style Hot Dog?

Chicago Hot Dog

Chicago-style hotdogs have quite a solid reputation among fans; after all, what’s not to love about a red-hot slathered in fresh veggies and condiments? 

When you receive your Chicago dog, you’ll notice the odd assortment of ingredients: a steamed poppy seed bun serves as the home base for a sizzling all-beef frankfurter. Then, artisans aren’t shy about slathering on chopped onions, tomato slices, pickle spears, and two sport peppers. Drizzle on some yummy mustard and relish with a dash of celery salt, and you’ve got yourself a Chicago-style hot dog.

Fans of the classic American hotdog might wonder where the missing element is in all this chaos: the ketchup. In Chicago, any hotdog aficionado would be ardently opposed to the idea of squirting ketchup on a hotdog. According to them, it overpowers the flavor of the main attraction – the meat! So, if you’d rather not get funny looks at the hotdog stand, don’t go putting ketchup on your Chicago dog.


Who Serves the Best Chicago Style Hot Dogs?

With so many variations of the classic Chicago-style hot dog, it’s hard to pinpoint who makes the best version. Luckily, Chicago is home to many restaurants, food trucks, and carts serving the famous loaded Dog, but it’s up to the foodie to decide which one takes the stand.

Gene & Jude’s

Gene and Jude's

Rated as the number one hotspot for Chicago-style hotdogs by many locals and tourists alike, Gene & Jude’s is a place filled with nostalgia and hometown memories. You’ll have to visit the suburbs to grab this one, but their version of the traditional Chicago staple – dubbed the “Depression Dog” – is essentially a hotdog loaded with fresh, crispy fries. And of course – this institution wouldn’t be caught dead with ketchup on their premises, so make sure you’re ready for a taste of real Chicagoan hotdogs.


Dave’s Redhot’s

Dave's Redhots

As the oldest hotdog stand in Chicago, this place is on the list simply for its long-standing presence on the city’s streets. Open since the early 1930s at the dawn of the Great Depression, this family-owned business was likely one of the first eateries to serve the Chicago-style hotdog. Being suckers for tradition and authenticity, this place once refused to dress their hotdogs with any condiments except mustard, pickles, and peppers – but more options (minus ketchup) are available for grabs today.


Superdawg Drive-In

Superdawg Drive-In

This vintage drive-in not only prides itself on its 1950s-esque style but on its delicious all-beef sausage served with fresh-cut fries and creamy milkshakes. Pickled tomatoes make this traditional Chicago dog stand out from the others – and the best part is, you get to enjoy yours from the comfort of your vehicle.




At Wolfy’s, you’ll find their iconic sign with the fork and lights blaring down on you as you cruise down Peterson. Their Chicago-style hotdog is claimed to be essentially flawless in design (and taste)! Made with real beef, these frankfurters are sure to raise an appetite alongside their crispy fries.


Byron’s Hot Dogs

Byron’s Hot Dogs
Searching for one of the best versions of the Chicago-style hotdog? Look no further than Byron’s. This place serves their quality through boiled dogs and the classic pickle, onion, tomato, and pepper toppings. Served with some hot French fries, you’ve got yourself an authentic Chicagoan lunch.


Looking For a Great Chicago Souvenir?

Is there anything better than eating a Chicago-style hot dog on a hot summer day? Sure there is – it’s getting one on a T-shirt! Show off your love for all-things Chicago by sporting a shirt with the famous beefy crowd pleaser!
The perfect souvenir or gift for the foodie in your life is right here and we’ve got you covered. Check out our selection of Chicago t-shirts with popular foods, sayings, and more!


Chicago Collection

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