The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Sure 'Nuf I'm a Chili Dog, Baby

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Nov 24, 2008 9:10PM

Photo via

While we love our Chicago-style dogs, we don't shy away from a real good chili dog. Depending on which "wacky food holiday" calendar you're referencing, either last month was or this month is National Chili Month. But far too many hot dog stands , using the "stack 'em high" approach of building a Chicago Dog, try to do the same when making a chili dog, leading to a mess of a meal. In the case of a chili dog — with a couple exceptions — less is more. Simple is the order: chili, some shredded cheddar and raw onions is all you need.

We went out and tasted out a few chili dogs of note while trying to keep off the beginning stages of winter weight. Following are a few recommendations for a real good chili dog.

  • Branko's (1118 W. Fullerton, 773-472-4873) by DePaul makes a very nice chili dog. There was a good amount of chili, well-seasoned, without the bun turning into a wet mass of dough. At under $3, it's also a steal
  • Franksville (3550 N Harlem Ave, 773-237-5848) as if we don't get nostalgic enough thinking about Northwest side hot dog joints, Franksville also serves as a reminder that you all need to help save the Choo Choo in Des Plaines. While Franksville doesn't serve their chili dogs to you on a model train, these have some pretty spicy chili topping Vienna Beef franks.
  • Besides making one of the best char-grilled hamburgers in the city, Nick's Drive-in (7216 N. Harlem, 773-631-5045) also does a chili dog up right. Try the double chili dog, which they manage to fit in a nice neat package.
  • Portillo's (various locations) is one of two chains on this list, but between the Vienna Beef franks and homemade chili, it also merits inclusion.
  • America's Dog (various locations) makes six different varieties of chili dog. The Charleston dog is an example of one where more is better. Topped with cole slaw, onion and mustard, it isn't as messy as one would believe. america's Dog is also offering flights of chili dogs through the end of the month for $5.99 ($7.99 with fries and a medium drink).