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Best Gourmet Hot Dogs In Chicago

In the same way you just have to get a new hairstyle every once in a while, a Chicagoan sometimes feels the need to veer from the luscious thing of beauty that is a Chicago-style hot dog. Since Hot Doug's (which enchanted the likes of Anthony Bourdain) closed and took its rattlesnake dogs and duck fat fries with them, there's room on the block for other sausage slingers to get creative with alluring wieners and come-hither toppings.
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Boba Burger
8530 Waukegan Road
Morton Grove, IL 60053
(847) 410-7779

Boba Burger is named for bubble tea (the real name is "boba") and the versions here are outstanding, made with fresh fruit, bouncy tapioca balls and various jellies lurking on the bottom. The young Tran brothers, and their brother-in-law, have an out-of-this-world menu of gourmet burgers, Banh Mi and hot dogs awaiting in a place that's nearly impossible to find, upping the cool factor. The small, stark joint adjacent to a bowling alley serves BBQ Lechon Dogs, Seoul Dogs and a wildly flavorful Tokyo Dog. Loc Tran, who studied culinary arts at Kendall College, tempura fries this all-beef Vienna dog and crowns it with wasabi aioli, nori, house pickled veg and Siracha ketchup. Everything sings with handmade originality here, from the hand-cut fries with searingly hot chili to the thick batons of panko-breaded mozzarella that are unlike any of the institutional rubber rods you were weaned on. Grade: A+.

Franks 'n' Dawgs
1863 N. Clybourn Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614
(312) 281-5187

The Lincoln Park doggery lives up to its address with a bevy of hand-crafted artisan sausages that are made in-house daily . One involves Slagel Farms pork loin breakfast sausage with Cobb smoked bacon, a fried egg and a drizzle of maple mayo while The Tur-doggen stars turkey and date sausage, crispy duck confit, herb garlic aioli, pickled onion relish and pickled carrots. There's even one for vegans, with smoked tofu subbing for the sausage among the dozen haute dogs.

Hoppin' Hots
(Photo Credit: Hoppin' Hots' Facebook)

Hoppin Hots
1477 W. Balmoral Ave.
Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 989-4687

Choose a beef, duck or vegetarian hot dog, then the frankfurter fun begins. Will you be dazzled by barbecue pulled pork, cheddar cheese sauce and house pickled red onions capping your dog, or should you go Italian with the Carbonara version featuring deep-fried sous vide pork belly, garlic aioli and Parmesan ciccioli? In addition to the wienies all dolled up with the likes of duck confit, lavender-fennel aioli, goat cheese and house-pickled celery, sides like deep fried pickle spears and poutine fries ensure your belly will leave completely bewildered, but nonetheless full.

Related: Best Breweries Near Chicago

Roots Handmade Pizza
1924 W. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 645-4949

Haute dogs in a pizza joint? Roots Handmade Pizza offers a variety of house-made sausages, and its Gyro Sausage is proving to be incredibly popular. The charbroiled "dog" is sprinkled with feta cheese and diced red onion, then doused with cucumber dill sauce and served on house-baked French bread. Another treat among the tubular dishes is the charbroiled chicken chorizo sausage with diced red onion, avocado cream puree and sour cream, all burrowed on house-baked French bread. Both offer a wallop of flavor and perhaps even jealous looks from the pizza-eaters.

H Dogs
4655 S. King Drive
Chicago, IL 60653
(773) 633-2978

Chef Cliff Rome fires up Bronzeville with a menu that includes a French duck sausage lolling under a mass of sweet, caramelized onions and a Turducken Cobb Dog showcasing a grilled turducken sausage topped with diced turkey bacon, lettuce, tomato and bleu cheese dressing. In addition to other gourmet dogs, H Dogs cooks up unexpected sides like fried okra and cinnamony sweet potato fries with toasted almonds.

Related: Best Lasagna In Chicago

Jacky Runice has been a columnist with the Daily Herald Chicago since grunge music and flannel was the new black. Her fingers and gray matter have been busy as travel editor of Reunions Magazine; penning a column that was syndicated around the nation via Tribune Media Services. Her work can be found at
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