31 Days of Chicago's Best Hot Dog Stands
Chicago has no shortage of hot dog stands — but which ones are worth visiting? We're spending August visiting stands old and new to find you the ones with the richest stories, quirkiest characters and, of course, best hot dogs. The search is part of our monthly “Craving” series. Check back every day this month to discover a new hot dog stand for your bucket list.
If Max's Take Out is the last of the gruff, old-school hot dog stands in the Loop, U.B. Dogs is the spry young kid on the block willing to take chances. You can get an expertly constructed Chicago-style hot dog, complete with a natural-casing Vienna Beef hot dog, but that's just one of the dishes U.B. does well. In particular, the crunchy hand-cut fries are an absolute must order. You can get them as a side ($2.50 small) or just get them tossed on a hot dog by ordering the Joey Dog ($3.50). Along with a natural-casing Vienna Beef hot dog and the aforementioned fries, the dish gets drenched with a funky garlic-wasabi aioli and then doused in Tabasco. It's a mess that works surprisingly well. 185 N Franklin St, 312-251-7009, www.ubdogs.com. — Nick Kindelsperger
Arrive at Bill’s Drive-In, the no-nonsense, no-frills joint in Evanston, and you’ll see mounted in the kitchen an illustration of a guy kinda smiling with the legend welcoming customers to “a family tradition since 1949.” Certainly, Bill’s is a tradition for some families, like the friend who spied an Instagram photo I posted of the place. “We grew up on Bill’s,” she wrote. “So delicious!!!!” Order a hot dog ($2.10) and you can choose from the usual condiments (“everything” is defined here as mustard, relish, onions, sliced tomatoes and a sprinkling of celery salt). A “Combo #1” ($5.50) gets you the dog, a bag of sturdy fries and a drink. The mild hot dogs are from Leon’s Sausage Co., a family-owned business that's nearly a century old. As the name suggests, you'll likely be eating in your car; seating is limited to two tables in the parking lot. 120 Asbury Ave., Evanston, 847-491-9844. — Bill Daley