Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Chicago Dawg House

Restaurant: Chicago Dawg House
Address: 3113 N. 108th St
Website: http://www.chicagodawghouse.com/
Genres: American, Hot Dog
Check Constraints: None
Chain: No | More Omaha Locations: No

  • Traditional Chicago Dog (2.99)
  • Cubby Kid (Corn Dog) (2.49)
  • Side of Cheese (.49)
  • Soda (.99)
Chicago Dawg House is tiny. It's mocked up to look kind of like a Wrigley Field concessions stand, I guess, and they went so far as to have actual fence put up on the bloody wall, so I suppose you can't fault the atmosphere. There is, however, a distinct lack of seating. All the seating consists of a single row of stools under a large counter along one wall. I was less than pleased with the seating, and while the food didn't quite make up for it, it was good enough that if they fixed the seating issue, I'd go back.

The deep fryers seemed to be running a bit on the hot side when we went, because everything was a bit on the crispy side. Not burnt, mind, which would definitely have ruined everything, but definitely crispy. For the corn dog, it was a bit crispier than I like, but because of the heat, it still managed to not ruin the inside, even if it was too hot to eat for a while. Pretty good corn dog, too. Not immense, but good enough, especially when dipped in the cheese sauce.

Everybody wants to know about the chicago dogs, though, I guarantee it. A chicago dog is a monstrosity, really. It's a collection of toppings that I still do not understand someone coming up with, and that I certainly wouldn't have tried had my friends not recommended it most heartily a few years back. Being who I am, unfortunately, I cannot eat a standard chicago dog, so I have them remove the onions and tomato slices, replacing them with cheese, delicious cheese. This has not steered me wrong. I have exactly one beef with these hot dogs, and that's that unlike Portillo's in Chicago, they use very large sport peppers, which changes how the flavor hits. Instead of tasting the other toppings, then getting a burst of heat as you bite into the pepper, you get the heat up front, dulling the taste of the other toppings. If they were to change that one little thing, I would call them pretty close to Portillo's equal, which is, to be sure, a high compliment.

Also, I sampled some of Mecha's chili and Cham's catfish, and let me say, that's some damn good catfish, and the chili is properly beanless, so thumbs up on those.


  • Traditional Chicago Dog ($2.99)
  • Catfish Po' Boy ($4.25)
  • Fries and Drink Combo ($1.99)
  • Cubby Kid ($2.49)
Personal disclaimer: I am from the Chicagoland area. That means, if I wanted to, I could replace this block of text with a one sentence review that should tell you everything you need to know: "The hot dogs at Chicago Dawg House are adequate." Though that sounds like damning with faint praise, it's not - people from my neck of the woods take their hot dogs very, very seriously. Luckily for you, Chicago Dawg House does as well. Their traditional sports the... well, traditional... array of toppings, laid out by the great gods Ditka and Caray in the beforetimes, with the all-hallowed commandment; "THOU SHALT NOT SUFFER KETCHUP UPON THY CHICAGO DOG."

Perhaps it's not that worthy of melodrama, but finding someone willing to give me a taste of home is reasonably hard. Most "chicago dogs" are lacking in key elements like the sport peppers or the all-important kosher pickle spear, but they're all here, including the celery salt and optional poppyseed bun. In fact, my only complaint was that the actual dog (which was the required all-beef version) was only the standard dog size. That said, their online menu claims you can pick a larger version for 50c more, but it's "skinless", which I assume means it's missing a thick casing. So there's a trade-off there; the size vs. the snap of the casing. Either way, this is definitively the best Chicago dog I have had outside the actual city.

Their po' boy was very good as well, especially with the hot sauce (make sure you ask for it). It wasn't anything extremely special, but the catfish breading was delicious and it was served piping hot - as ND mentioned they must have had their deep fryers ratcheted to 11 that day. Some coleslaw on the side (or on top) would not have gone amiss, but they don't have any on their menu. The corn dog was good - and large, and also amazingly hot - but expensive. Hard to tell if they're hand-dipped on site, but it seems reasonable to assume they're not.

In conclusion, then, I have finally found a place I can get a good Chicago dog that is not approximately 500 miles away. If the seating's cramped, well, then there's always takeout.


  • Traditional Chicago Dawg ($2.99)
  • South Side Chili Dawg ($3.25)
  • Onion Woo Woos (rings) ($1.79)
  • Drink ($0.99)
The seating is pretty cramped and all along one wall, and extends way into the back. It's in the narrowest of strip mall spaces I've ever been in, and that makes it rough.

Having gone to Portillo's in mid May, I have to say that this place definitely satisfies on the dog front. Cham gave you the technical description, thankfully, so all I have to add is that they put it together right in my opinion, given my experience. I'm not from Chicago, unlike Cham, so I don't have a long history with the flavor, but it's one I enjoy. Big plus.

The chili 'dawg' I chose, without thinking, was onions and chili, not chili and cheese. A thought to remember for next time. Their chili was high on the cumin flavor, not so high on the heat, which was enjoyable, and all around a great thing to slap on the traditional tube of meat.

Their rings are extremely light on salt and breading, leaving it mainly with light onion flavor, which you may or may not go for. Their cheese was okay. The lack of shakes, in my opinion, is a serious detriment, because I really do enjoy a pair of dogs, fries, cheese, and a shake as Portillos lets me have it, but unless you are really into that combo yourself, you don't have to worry. The service (place is short order) was fast and I have no real complaints. If you want a taste of the real experience, this will serve you well. Kudos.


snekse said...

Curious to hear everyone's thoughts on the value at Chicago Dawg House. I've always felt they were a bit pricey for what you get. I really like the food, but I have a hard time justifying spending $3 to $4 for a hot dog, unless they are providing a really unique product like Hot Doug's

NinjaDebugger said...

For three bucks, I'm pretty happy with the stomach full of stuff you get on a chicago dog. If this were Chicago, it would be a different story, but Chicago Dawg House doesn't have to compete with Portillo's and Hot Doug's for price.

Chamelaeon said...

To some extent I considered it paying for novelty. The 2.99 mark for a Chicago dog is not far off from the Portillo's price of 2.29 (menu here), but I think you're right with respect to the corn dog (especially when compared with someplace like Sonic's 0.99 price point, even accounting for increased size). The po' boy was on the high side, but not what I'd consider unreasonable. Not having tried their polish or other more pricey dogs, I can't really comment.

... maybe the ballpark atmosphere made the prices seem better when compared with a $5.00 hot dog from a concession stand. Tricksy psychology, there... ;)

Anonymous said...

the snap of the casing

this is still making me hork

oh the hork


Lirazel said...

I will happily eat M. Anonymous' lifetime share of Chicago hot dogs as well as my own. After all, if you're going to eat ground boiled beef bits, why not encase them in pig intestine. Let's not be wimpy about being carnivores!

Troy Drews said...

I, the owner, take all your comments very seriously...thank you for your honesty! I now have the largest natural casing from Vienna beef at my place. Order the Jumbo Dawg and you'll see it. As far as the prices, well unfortunately I have to pay a premium for getting it to me from Vienna Beef if Chicago. Everything comes to me from there...pickles too. Buns, Dawgs, Relish, sport peppers, etc. has to go through distribution (a.k.a middle crook). Believe me, my margins are really small. Not to mention my OPPD bill each month would make most want to go with chips and candles! Anyway, thanks to all for the comments and reviews. Keep 'em coming...you can reach me via email too: troy@chicagodawghouse.com - cheers.

Unknown said...

cheap oakley sunglasses
new england patriots jerseys
canada goose jackets
jordan shoes
christian louboutin outlet
tennessee titans jersey
michael kors outlet clearance
michael kors handbags wholesale
toms shoes
titans jersey