There's no shortage of hot dog and sausage joints in Chicago, but one restaurant inspires a level of devotion unlike any other--Hot Doug's. People come from all over the country to wait in line for hours for a taste.
In part that's because the menu extends far beyond the standard Chicago style hot dog and includes dishes like alligator sausage and duck fat fries. It's also because of chef and owner Doug Sohn, who has stood at the counter and taken every single order himself since he opened his doors 13 years ago.
Doug has turned down million dollar offers to expand, and recently, he actually announced that he's closing up shop in October. People are freaking out.
In this week's episode of The Sporkful, Dan Pashman travels to Chicago to find out what makes Hot Doug's special and to ask Doug why he's walking away. Plus, Dan explains why hot dogs should be considered sandwiches and marks the 75th anniversary of the Hot Dog Summit, when FDR used hot dogs to help defeat the Nazis.
Listen to the podcast above, and please make sure you subscribe in iTunes. And enjoy these photos from Dan's trip to Hot Doug's...
Hot Doug's sign.
Hot Doug, himself.
Judy, who arrived two hours before Hot Doug's opened to be first in line. Her tattoo entitles her to eat free for life, or until the shop closes.
Inside Hot Doug's.
Mozzarella, tomato and pepper pork sausage with sriracha dijonnaise, cheese medley, and bacon lardons.
Truffle pork sausage with sauce moutarde, goat cheese, and truffle balsamic drizzle.
Dan Pashman at Hot Doug's in Chicago.
Foie gras and sauternes duck sausage with truffle aioli, foie gras mousse, and fleur de sel.
Duck fat fries.
Smoked crayfish and pork sausage with cajun shrimp remoulade and smoked blue cheese drizzled with honey.
Vietnamese chicken sausage with sweet chili aioli, cheese-stuffed hot peppers, and fried rice noodles.