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Chicago Style: 40 Photos Of Hot Dogs — And The Stands We Love — To Make You Drool Today

PHOTOS: In Chicago, hot dogs aren't just a meal — they're a work of art.

Roc Salerno, 42, pours celery salt on a Chicago-style dog at Fat Johnnie's Famous Red Hots. The iconic hot dog stand has been operating at 7242 S. Western Ave. since 1972.
Kathleen Hinkel/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — There are more than 1,000 hot dog stands in the Chicago area.

It’s not a huge surprise: Hot dogs are a key part of Chicago’s DNA. The Chicago-style dog — covered in mustard, onions, relish, a pickle, tomato, sports peppers and celery salt — has been a part of the city since the Depression. But even before then, Chicagoans were grabbing sausages and mixing up their toppings for a regular meal.

And the stands that serve up our hot dogs become icons in their own rights. People still dream of Fluky’s miniature hot dog gum. Superdawg’s mascots are nationally recognized. Ask anyone what their favorite local spot is and they’ll have an answer.

The stands employ people, they connect our neighborhoods — and they provide us with a perfect meal.

Photographer Kathleen Hinkel visited 17 of these stands for National Hot Dog Month, documenting the neighborhood spots we love to visit — and the wieners we love to eat.

Here’s our love song for Chicago’s hot dog stands:

Credit: Kathleen Hinkel/Block Club Chicago
An “L” train passes over Redhot Ranch, 2449 W. Armitage Ave. in Bucktown.
Credit: Kathleen Hinkel/Block Club Chicago
Roc Salerno, 42, pours celery salt on a Chicago-style dog at Fat Johnnie’s Famous Red Hots. The iconic hot dog stand has been operating at 7242 S. Western Ave. since 1972.
Credit: Kathleen Hinkel/Block Club Chicago
A worker takes an order for a Chicago-style dog at The Freeze in Logan Square, 2815 W. Armitage Ave.
Credit: Kathleen Hinkel/Block Club Chicago
Booths are roped off at Dave’s Red Hots as a COVID precaution, but the city’s oldest stand remains open to serve up single dogs, double dogs and Polish sausage. Dave’s has been a mainstay in Lawndale since 1938. As one customer noted, “This is a pillar in the neighborhood, and it stands the test of time.”
Credit: Kathleen Hinkel/Block Club Chicago
Cliff Thomas, 61, has worked at Fred and Jack’s for more than 20 years at 7600 S. Yale Ave. The chili cheese dog, cheese steak fries and shakes are not to be missed at this spot, which has been operating since 1946.
Credit: Kathleen Hinkel/Block Club Chicago
The Might Dog at Fat Johnnie’s Famous Red Hots, 7242 S. Western Ave., has a tamale, chili and cheese added to the regular fixings.
Credit: Kathleen Hinkel/Block Club Chicago
Jim’s Original at dawn. The 24/7 hot dog stand has operated since 1939 and boasts the original Maxwell Street Polish Sausage.
Credit: Kathleen Hinkel/Block Club Chicago
It’s a dog eat Superdawg world. Mo, a golden retriever, at the iconic old school drive-in. Since 1948, customers have been able to order from their car.
Credit: Kathleen Hinkel/Block Club Chicago
Dogs are prepped at the Superdawg drive-in hot dog stand in Norwood Park.
Credit: Kathleen Hinkel/Block Club Chicago
A worker prepares orders at Dave’s Red Hots, which has been a mainstay in Lawndale since 1938. As one customer mentioned while we were waiting for our dogs, “This is a pillar in the neighborhood, and it stands the test of time.”
Credit: Kathleen Hinkel/Block Club Chicago
A hot dog is pulled from the water at Jim’s Original, a 24/7 hotdog oasis that has operated in various forms since 1939.
Credit: Kathleen Hinkel/Block Club Chicago
Proprietor Aaron Wolfson dresses a dog with mustard at Chicago’s Dog House on Fullerton in Lincoln Park. It offers Chicago-style hot dogs and speciality dogs.
Credit: Kathleen Hinkel/Block Club Chicago
A drive on Peterson Avenue doesn’t offer too many noteworthy views, but the Wolfy’s sign is always impressive. Wolfy’s has been around since 1967 with a great char dog and a friendly staff.
Credit: Kathleen Hinkel/Block Club Chicago
Duk’s Red Hots has been operating since 1957 on Ashland.
Credit: Kathleen Hinkel/Block Club Chicago
The Chicago dog at Byron’s, located on Lawrence, is consistently named as one the best Chicago-style dogs in town.
Credit: Kathleen Hinkel/Block Club Chicago
Jimmy’s Red Hots has been operating on the west side at Grand Avenue and Pulaski since 1954, serving up red hots, Polish sausages, tamales and fresh-cut fries.
Credit: Kathleen Hinkel/Block Club Chicago
The menu at Duk’s on Ashland.
Credit: Kathleen Hinkel/Block Club Chicago
Cheeseburger, cheese fries and Chicago dog from Duke’s at 5659 N. Central Ave. in Chicago.
Credit: Kathleen Hinkel/Block Club Chicago
Signs at Duke’s, 5659 N. Central Ave.
Credit: Kathleen Hinkel/Block Club Chicago
Signs at Fat Johnnie’s on Western, the iconic hot dog stand once featured by Anthony Bourdain.
Credit: Kathleen Hinkel/Block Club Chicago
Dora Bogart, 52, holds an order out the window at the Freeze, a summer stand in Logan Square.
Credit: Kathleen Hinkel/Block Club Chicago
Soft-serve is offered up at the Freeze in Logan Square.
Credit: Kathleen Hinkel/Block Club Chicago
Since 1948, Superdawg has operated — and is one of the few places that still operates — as a drive-in.
Credit: Kathleen Hinkel/Block Club Chicago
A simple menu with “pop,” not “soda,” at Dave’s Red Hots in Lawndale.
Credit: Kathleen Hinkel/Block Club Chicago
Menu at Duk’s on Ashland.
Credit: Kathleen Hinkel/Block Club Chicago
Mustard on a dog at Dave’s Red Hots in Lawndale.
Credit: Kathleen Hinkel/Block Club Chicago
The double dog at Dave’s Red Hots in Lawndale, which has operated since 1938.
Credit: Kathleen Hinkel/Block Club Chicago
The Chicago dog and the Maxwell Street Polish as delivered by Flub a Dub Chub’s on North Broadway in Lakeview. Cheryl Reimann, who was passing by, said, “The fries are worth waiting for.”
Credit: Kathleen Hinkel/Block Club Chicago
Bobby Morelli and his daughter, Brooklyn, make up a father-daughter team dishing out hot dogs in Bronzeville’s Boxville market.
Credit: Kathleen Hinkel/Block Club Chicago
The Stand Style Hot Dog and the Bronzeville Bourbon Filet Mignon Steak Dog from the Hot Dog Box in Bronzeville. Vegan and turkey substitutes are available for the creative recipes at this stand.
Credit: Kathleen Hinkel/Block Club Chicago
A Sox fan has a dog at 35th Street Red Hots before a double header against the Twins.
Credit: Kathleen Hinkel/Block Club Chicago
Dogs and fries at 35th Street Red Hots.
Credit: Kathleen Hinkel/Block Club Chicago
Chicago-style dogs made at Chicago’s Doghouse, known for its creative specialty dogs.
Credit: Kathleen Hinkel/Block Club Chicago
The Midway Monster Dog with giardiniera, bacon and barbecue sauce and the Chicago-style dog at Chicago’s Doghouse in Lincoln Park.
Credit: Kathleen Hinkel/Block Club Chicago
Lunch from Fatso’s Last Stand in Ukrainian Village. It uses pub cheese for its burger and fries.
Credit: Kathleen Hinkel/Block Club Chicago
Cheesesteak fries and a chili-cheese dog from Fred and Jack’s at 7600 S. Yale St.
Credit: Kathleen Hinkel/Block Club Chicago
Jimmy’s Red Hots. No Ketchup since 1954.
Credit: Kathleen Hinkel/Block Club Chicago
The two dog and fries special from Budacki’s Drive-in near Lawrence and Damen.
Credit: Kathleen Hinkel/Block Club Chicago
Lucilo Pablo wraps a Polish sausage at dawn at the 24/7 Maxwell Street Depot on 31st Street.
Credit: Kathleen Hinkel/Block Club Chicago
Duke’s in the rearview.

Want to visit the spots we featured?

  • Fat Johnnie’s Famous Red Hots, 7242 S. Western Ave.
  • The Freeze, 2815 W. Armitage Ave.
  • Redhot Ranch, 2449 W. Armitage Ave.
  • Duke’s, 5659 N. Central Ave.
  • Superdawg, 6363 N. Milwaukee Ave.
  • Budacki’s Drive In, 4739 N. Damen Ave.
  • Wolfy’s, 2734 W. Peterson Ave.
  • Byron’s, 1701 W. Lawrence Ave.
  • Flub A Dub Chub’s, 3021 N. Broadway
  • Chicago’s Dog House, 816 W. Fullerton Ave.
  • Maxwell Street Depot, 411 W. 31st St.
  • Jim’s Original, 1250 S. Union Ave.
  • Fred and Jack’s, 7600 S. Yale Ave.
  • The Hot Dog Box, 332 E. 51st St.
  • 35th Street Red Hots, 500 W. 35th St.
  • Jimmy’s Red Hots, 4000 W. Grand Ave.
  • Dave’s Red Hots, 3422 W. Roosevelt Road

Block Club is celebrating National Hot Dog Month. Tell us about your favorite hot dog memories by emailing Newsroom@BlockClubChi.org, and read more stories here.

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