Midtown Wishlist: Hot Doug’s (aka the Best Hot Dog I’ve Ever Had)

Hot Doug's, Chicago

I spent this past weekend in Chicago, and came away with a) a much greater appreciation of New York pizza (sorry Chicago, your deep dish is just aiight) and b) a complete and 100% fatman-crush on Hot Doug’s. A sausage temple like none I’ve ever seen, Hot Doug’s was (surprisingly) worth the 45 minute wait. It also got me thinking that I’ve never really done any hot dog posts on Midtown Lunch. Carts litter the streets, and I’m sure there are a few exceptional ones, but I’ve never really bothered to try them out.

Sure, we had Mandler’s for a second or two, and the Hallo Berlin Cart (on 54th and 5th) is a great place to satisfy your German sausage craving. But what about a straight up hot dog? I know we’re not going to get anything as amazing as Hot Doug’s, but there has got to be at least a couple worthwhile dogs in Midtown. Got any suggestions, post them in the comments.

In the meantime, more Hot Doug’s porn- after the jump (if you don’t want to be jealous of Chicago lunchers, don’t click through.)

The Chicago Style Dog (seen above) is a steal at $1.75 and comes with Mustard, Caramelized Onions, Relish, Tomatoes, Pickle, and Celery Salt. Amazing… but if you’re willing to splurge, the specials are like nothing I have ever had before. Here are the ones we got…

Hot Doug's, Chicago
Jamaican Jerk Pork Sausage with Passion Fruit Mustard and Sautéed Plantains ($7.50)

Hot Doug's, Chicago
Saucisson Alsacienne: Bacon Sausage with Crème Fraîche, Caramelized Onions and St. Nectaire Cheese ($7.50)

Hot Doug's, Chicago
Burgundy-Citrus Pork Sausage with Cherry-Garlic Chutney and Wild Garlic Havarti Cheese

Oh, and of course… the duck fat french fries (only available on Fridays and Saturdays), which probably accounted for the long line.

Hot Doug's, Chicago

Mr. Doug… Please open one of these places in Midtown. Pretty please, with flourescent green relish on top.


  • Sure, they look good. I’ve had a few Chicago dogs in the Windy City. But give me Gray’s Papaya and I’m set. (Actual Gray’s Papaya stands, not any of the many imitators.) I’m a polite New Yorker!

  • This place is in Chicago?!!! That’s cruel Zach, real cruel… damn you boy!!!

  • I am pretty sure this place was on Diners, Drive Ins, & Dives.

  • I knew you’d like it!

  • That looks like something you’d get in the Philippines following a drunken liberty night..

  • Isn’t that the place that had the fois gras when the ban was in effect? And I see they prepare a hot dog the right way, as in charring it, not boiling. Mmmm, now I love them even more….

  • This is what shakeshack can only dream of aspiring to…

  • At first glance I thought that was a pickled jalapeno on top of that dog. That would have been awesome, damn I’m hungry!

  • Please tell me you ate all 4 of those dogs in one visit!

  • That looks like one good dog.. I appreciate a Chicago dog and agree that NYC’s pizza can’t be touched, but I’ve eaten several times at Lou Malnati’s.. and the pizza is actually really great…never complain when I eat there.

  • i’m so hungry now… not fair…

  • I wonder whether NY’ers would go for the char-grilled hot dog? Hailing from Buffalo..where all the hot dogs joints serve chargrilled … places like Ted’s Hot Dogs. Even in the dead of winter, they have chargrilled dogs on some street corners near bars.

  • Oh, yes! I’ve been to Hot Doug’s. Really, seriously excellent junk food and duck fat. Bring on the sport peppers! No, seriously. We need a NYC outpost that does Chicago Dogs right (sorry Shack, yours are so wimpy.)

  • Shake Shack does sell a Chicago-style dog that actually isn’t half-bad. Of course, unlike the real thing, I suspect it’s probably not worth the 45-minute wait.

  • Zach,

    I completely agree about Hot Doug’s. I went there religiously each time I visited Chicago and my favorites were the Keira Knightley and Greek dog made with gyro spices and lamb and topped with feta. Doug also makes a great corn dog. His chili is packed full of spicy sausage chunks too. After moving to NYC this summer, it’s probably the only place I miss from the midwest. Nobody does it like Doug.

    I work in Times Square and your site has been a consistent resource. Thanks for all your hard work and keep up the good work.

  • There’s a cart that grills dogs on the NE corner of 55 and Madison. They always smell great, though I’ve only had them once or twice. May have to check it out again today as this made me hungry and I don’t have much time.

  • the Kwik Meal guys will grill you a hot dog for $1.50, they’re not bad. If you want the standard water dog, there’s a guy on the Northeast corner of 45th and Madison that has $1 hot dogs.

  • @ Jason – In this past year (last I checked) Shake Shack turned the Chicago-style dog into a “Shackogo style dog” which is NOT a Vienna Beef hot dog on an S. Rosen’s bun. I had to stand through the line to find this out. Then when I emailed to complain, I got no response.

    The only reason I ever went to Shake Shack was for the real Chicago Style dog, and now I have no reason to any more. Sigh.

  • I’ve been to Hot Doug’s and I really don’t know what the fuss is about. They have lots of variety so that is good, but I really think it was worth the wait. But then again, I didn’t think Artichoke was worth the wait either.

    Can someone tell me why duck fat fries are good? I had them and compared to Hot Doug’s regular fries, I thought the regular fries were crispier.

  • For years I’ve been making my own Reuben hot dogs. I can’t believe Hot Doug’s actually has the same thing! They use corned beef, I prefer pastrami, but basically the same.

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