Apparently we weren't the only ones clued into this hot dog haven. Standing in a 45 minute wait wrapped around the building (zero waiting room inside), we had enough time to paint our nails in line. Luckily we had beautiful weather outside (yes, in March).
We completely missed the memo that Hot Doug's closed at 4... on a Friday... and narrowly escaped the cut-off when we arrived a little after 3. An employee staked right behind us to cut off the line, literally.
Did I mention that through all of this it was totally worthwhile? Because it was, even if it was just to scope the decor.
The wait was actually beneficial for my decision making skills. Hot dog love + indecisiveness? What a crisis. I read every mouthwatering description word for word.
The toppings were so unique that I was tempted to order one of each. Thankfully there were three of us, so at least we had a feast to taste test.
My personal picks were a classic Chicago dog with all the trimmings (yellow mustard, chopped white onions, bright green sweet pickle relish, a dill pickle spear, tomato slices, pickled sport peppers and a dash of celery salt)...
… and a portabella mushroom and swiss cheese pork sausage with roasted pepper aioli, wild mushrooms sautéed in duck fat and duck cracklings.
They're not typically the kind of toppings I would go for, but it was just too out-of-the-box for me not to select. And thank goodness I ordered it because it was hands down the best dog on our entire table. Well, Caitlin and Jeff may argue against that.
Caitlin ordered the tequila, black bean and lime chicken sausage with tomatillo mole, pico de gallo and habanero-jack cheese (this was my second choice).
Jeff ordered a roasted garlic and wild boar sausage with roasted tomato goat butter and smoked gouda cheese.
Jeff also ordered a Chicago dog with all the trimmings, Brigitte Bardot style (aka with andouille sausage rather than all beef). We topped this all with duck fat fries – yes, fries cooked in duck fat grease, a menu item only offered on Fridays and Saturdays. (I assume that’s because they spend all week saving their duck fat grease.)
Side note – the menu specials change, so I would not be surprised if you went to Hot Doug’s today and could not find a single hot dog the same as the ones above (minus the Chicago dog), especially considering our visit was an entire year ago. That’s really a shame because seriously, my duck crackling dog was to die for.
Hot Doug's took the cake for me out of all the places we ate at in Chicago. Even Jeff will agree. I will no doubt be returning to try more of these gourmet creations. There are just way too many delectable options.
Now can we get one of these in Texas?