Every few months it happens: some publication comes to town and puts together a list of the best hot dogs. Sometimes we agree with the picks, and other times we get so annoyed that we want to send angry letters (okay, so only for Alan Richman’s ludicrous GQ piece). But no matter who writes the feature, the names of the places are usually the same. Nearly everyone mentions Hot Doug’s, Portillo’s, Superdawg, and The Wieners Circle. So, what are we to make of this list by CNN’s Eatocracy, which mentions absolutely none of those stands, and instead heads to the Lincoln Park Zoo for the first bite of the day?
Though author Michael Martinez wants to taste the “finest wieners” in the city, he visits some truly strange places. His first two stops are at Gorilla Grill at the Lincoln Park Zoo and The Plaza at Park Grill in Millennium Park, which is like visiting New York and getting a dirty water dog from a cart in Central Park. Though he is enthusiastic, he notices that the bun from the Gorilla Grill “didn’t hold up well,” and that the Park Grill’s $12 “Colossal Chicago Char Dog” is a “bit bland.”
When he does visit an old-style stand, he comes away loving the scene, but not the food. He claims that you “can’t beat the family atmosphere” at Wolfy’s, but that the hot dogs are “nothing special.”
The only place he seems to love is Mustard’s Last Stand, where he gets a char dog: “Subtly tangy and sweet - and the bun held up to tradition.” We can’t argue with the pick; the Evanston stand is one of the best in the area. But we do wonder why he decided to tack on all these other places. Sure, when a tourist comes to town, they are more likely to check out Millennium Park than Avondale. But if you really want to check out the best hot dogs in the city, perhaps you should start with the clichéd lists.
Chicago dogs that cut the mustard [Eatocracy]