And just what is a Chicago Hot Dog?
Mustard, relish, onions, tomato, pickles and sometimes cucumbers and hot peppers. It's kind of like a salad on a bun, but no ketchup.
No Ketchup is the title of an exhibition at Chicagos City Gallery, featuring photographs by Patty Carroll.
One day, says Carroll, I was driving back and forth from work, and everything was dull gray. And the only place that had any color at all was this hot dog stand that I drove past every single day. And I realized that going to a hot dog stand in Chicago is like going on a mini-vacation.
Carroll relishes the idea of documenting this Chicago tradition, not because of the dogs (she's a vegetarian), but because of the décor.
Graphically, they're phenomenal, she says. I've always loved the fact that people paint hot dogs in these really crazy ways.
At the Superdog Drive-In on Chicago's north side, it's sometimes hard to find the hot dog underneath all the relish and trimmings and French fries. Superdog has been a family run business since 1948, owned by Maurey and Florie Berman. Flo takes the orders, son in-law Don Drucker packs them, and even grandson Max pitches in.
And are they worried at all about competition?
Nobody is competition. We are unique and supreme, says Maurey.
Adds Don, We're the only drive-in left, anyway, in Chicago, with car hop service.
Carroll observes, And each hot dog stand has its own little breed of fun.
At Downtown Dogs on North Rush Street, loyal customers doggedly add their own personal touch, bringing in for display photos of their own canine friends.
In the never-ending battle to stand out against all those look-alike fast-food franchises, there can be no doubt that Chicago hot dog stands continue to cut the mustard.
For more information:
City Gallery (through June 22)
(in Chicagos Historic Water Tower)
806 N. Michigan Avenue
Monday-Saturday: 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Sunday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Admission is free.
Phone: (312) 742-0808
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