Chicago Dining: Hot Dogs

Superdawg Drive-In
6363 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago 60646
(NEW: 6/3 View Video of Lou Malnati’s, Superdawg and U Lucky Dog)

After a few slices at Malnati’s, we headed over to Superdawg, perhaps the most iconic Chicago Hot Dog stand in the entire city. Unlike many other dog joints, Superdawg does not use Vienna Beef wieners — they use their own proprietary formulated hot dog who’s manufacturer is a closely guarded secret.

From an architectual and aesthetic standpoint everything about this place, from the box artwork to the neon to the windows and the signage screams 1960s, although they’ve been in business since the 1930s.

Superdawg is a drive-in, where car hops come out to serve you.

If the weather is nice you can dine al fresco.

The box itself is classic Americana.

Packed inside is a meal fit for a king.

Extracting Superdawg from his paper sarcophagus requires major archaeological skills, or a large pile of napkins.

Superdawg, in all his glory.

Excellent chocolate shakes as well.

U Lucky Dog (Formerly Fluky’s)

6821 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL
(773) 274-3652

For a frame of reference and a point of comparison to Superdawg, Ronnie wanted me to have an experience at a classic Vienna Beef dog joint as well — he chose U Lucky Dawg, which was formerly known as Fluky’s, which was another legendary dog eating establishment.

As you can see, the buns are kept warm in a steam tray and the dogs are boiled.

A view behind the counter. Note the managment edicts — “BeNice”, “Suggestive Selling” “How Many Fries do you want” and “Will that be a large?”

Chicago Dog Mise-en-place.

eGullet Society Heartland manager Ronnie Kaplan.

17 Responses to Chicago Dining: Hot Dogs

  1. Jon says:

    That guy in the convertible looks like he’s almost ready to leap out the top, grab your camera and smash it into the pavement.

    I still think Salad on a dog is weird, but I do know that Superdawg, at the very least, does more than that.

  2. bad username says:

    superdawg is on milwaukee, not kimball.

  3. John Fox says:

    Superdawg does not use their own proprietary formulated hot dog. And the manufacturer is not a secret, although they try to keep it a secret. The dog served there is a Sinai 48 brand, which is produced by Best Kosher out of Chicago, not to be confused with Best Provisions out of Newark. It is more seasoned than the Vienna Beef frank. While Chicagoans, for the most part are used to Vienna, much in the same way that we are used to Heinz when it comes to ketchup, I believe that the Sinai 48 brand would be preferred here in N.J. or N.Y. because we are used to a more well seasoned beef frank. I think that Best Kosher is owned by Sara Lee or Kraft. By the way, many hot dog joints try to claim that they make their own dogs, or that the dogs are made special for them. The overwhelming majority of times these claims are false. And I can give you numerous examples. Just recently we (The Munchmobile team) went to a place in Wildwood called Maui’s Dog House. This has been a place that I’ve been wanting to go to for years. The owner claimed to make his own dogs on premise in response to an e-mail from me. Since there is no sausage making equipment there, they had to be made elsewhere. I was told that they were made by family members at a pork store according to the grandfather’s recipe. I tasted the dog for the first time and remarked how similar it is to Hofmann’s German franks from Syracuse. These are available in our area at Wegmans only. Then I saw articles posted at the place saying that the family has roots in Syracuse. Coincidence? Well I spoke with someone at the company (Hofmann’s) and discovered that they indeed have purchased (not made themselves) products from Hofmann’s. It’s very common for the owners of hot dog restaurants to want to convey that their product is special and unique. And only available from them. The truth is that you can purchase and make at home the same dog that is served to you at Maui’s, Superdawg, Syd’s, and almost any other hot dog joint. Sorry if I rambled on too long, but hot dogs are my hobby. By the way, how does J’s Beef in N.J. compare to the Chicago places?

  4. polly says:

    hi i hope you don’t mind, but i posted a link to and an image from your website to include in our gallery of images. we have a gallery of anthropomorphic characters related to food. i used to live in chicago and i remember superdawg. i lived across the street from uncle franks for a while. i enjoy being reminded of chicago. let me know if you object to the link.

  5. Jon (Fox):

    I think J’s Beef’s Vienna dog compares very favorably with U Lucky Dawg. He’s doing a very authentic job over there down in Linden. His Italian Beef also is very authentic as far as I can tell from the sample I tried at Buona Beef, the more “upscale” chain by the Al’s folks.

    Superdawg, however, in my opinion, is probably doing the best Chicago hot dog in the city. The condiments are excellent and I prefer the Kosher dog fromSinai you mention. That fact is very good to know. The fries in the tightly packed box are excellent too.

  6. John Fox says:

    I’m not a great big fan of the Chicago Hot Dog. I am more of a bare bones guy, preferring a natural casing, flavorful beef dog on a bun with spicy deli mustard. Syd’s is a perfect example. The focus is on the tasty dog itself rather than everything else. But, I am enjoying the Chicago Dog at J’s more and more. And probably will until the novelty wears off. I’ve never been to Chicago, but believe that I would prefer Superdawg to the others. Many people that I’ve spoken to swear by Gene & Judes. They use a natural casing Vienna and are reputed to have some of the best fries around.

  7. Louise says:

    6363 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago 60646

  8. Michael says:

    Chicago is a good place …to be FROM!

  9. […] United States, but it is also home to two very important contributions to Superbowl cuisine, the Chicago Dog and the Chicago Style Pizza. And there is also that whole element of Chicago Polish immigrants and […]

  10. bill bacher says:

    bring on the dawgs. i love them. but i’m on long island in new york. can you send me a menu and think about bringing your stands to the east. we used to have drive-in hamburger stands like yours and the ones you see on the show “happy days.” but no more. so, please me your menu. i’d love to put tgether some dawgs and fixin’s just you show them. thank you, grandpa bill.


  11. bill bacher says:

    i forgot to add my mailing address in the e-mail i just sent you. it is: bill bacher, 105 huron street, port jefferson station, new york, 11776. please send me one of your menus. thanks again, bill bacher

  12. Retro says:

    I just love a cool classic car like a convertible Cutlass. I see them all the time in movies and TV now.

  13. stumptown cobra says:

    You guys put tomatoes on hot dogs ? and the picles were bigger than the dog itself . Well , to each his own .
    Down South if you get a hot dog all the way , it has onions ,slaw,chili,and plain yellow mustard . NO KETCHUP is allowed on a hot dog unless you are queer .

  14. salobrena says:

    In Toronto we have Chicago 58 brand dawgs..they’re our version of your Sinai 48’s I guess and they rule the hot dog world.. Gimme a dog over a burger any day!

  15. what are the little green things in the box ? the look like small green beans or some type of pepper . Also ,is that a picled green tomato in there too ?

  16. Big Dave says:

    Jimmy’s Hot dog stand Grand & Pulaski the neighborhood is ruff but still one of the city’s best dog ,,,,dont even think of asking for ketchup Just like Jean & Judes on River road

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