Cost: $6 per person
When big tests approach, it's often tough for me to find time to get somewhere to review. Last weekend I was on somewhat of a studying "roll" when my buddy Specs called to see if he could come hang out for a little while. I suggested we grab a quick bite, and we ended up deciding that hot dogs would be a good way to go. I didn't want to go very far away, so we went over to Lincoln and Fullerton to try out Chicago's Dog House. This happened to be right down the road from the Professor's new apartment, so he joined us as well.
Chicago's Dog House is a pretty simple looking operation with a small counter, two booths, and some counter seats. At the same time that it's a simple setup, they're doing some not so simple things with the dogs. They've got a variety of funkier options like gourmet sausages and dogs with interesting toppings as well as traditional options.
The food took a tiny bit longer than it might at most hot dog operations, but this was because our food was being prepared upon ordering (mostly the frips). The dogs were around $3 or less and frips were around $2. You can get a combo with a drink for $5.50.
Specs ordered two Chicago style dogs (without tomatoes), and Cheese Frips; the Professor ordered a Mayor Daley hot dog and Frips; and I got a Chicago style dog, a German Shepherd, and Frips. The Mayor Daley was a hot dog with Irish cheddar, smokey dijon, and caramelized onions. I'd know more about the flavor but the professor wolfed it down pretty quickly. The German Shepherd had sauerkraut, grilled onions, and swiss cheese. I'm not the biggest sauerkraut fan (and it probably goes better with sausages than hot dogs), but the dog was well balanced and the onions came through with a strong and sweet flavor. The Chicago dogs had every proper topping in the right proportion and were some of the better ones I've had so far. In general all of the dogs had a nice snap to the casing as well. Now I guess the frips need some explanation. Basically they take a roto-rooter of sorts and push a potato through. You end up with a string of circular potato slices. They fry up rather inconsistently, but that was part of what made them so good. The dish came out with a combination of crispy bites and somewhat soggier ones that had more potato flavor.
The Chicago Style Dog
The Mayor Daley
The German Shepherd
The Cheese Frips
The Professor and his Frips
Chicago's Dog House may not make the list of famous spots in the city like Weiner Circle or Gene and Jude's. It also may not get mentioned when talking about funky dog spots like Hot Doug's or Franks 'N' Dawgs. That doesn't mean that it's not a solid place. The dogs are well cooked, well topped, and reasonably priced. The frips are an interesting take too. Based on location it also basically renders America's Dog (in Lincoln Park) obsolete. I'm giving Chicago's Dog House 4 out of 5 Pearls.