Another best-of list, this time about hot dogs, has been unleashed upon the Internet masses by Food & Wine. It starts with the author reminiscing about his favorite hot dog in France—it’s covered with caramelized onions, cheddar cheese, and fried onions—then waxing poetic about how the classy hot dogs are really from Europe. And then it gets to the point: inspired by his European travels, the author rediscovered his appreciation of American hot dogs and decided to curate a list.
This particular list is arranged by state, and it might be that I’ve had nothing in my system except highly nutritious zero calorie Monster energy drink, but I’m already hungry for lunch and I haven’t even had breakfast yet.
The one picked for Illinois (home of The Takeout) is near Chicago, and it’s located at Gene and Jude’s in the suburb of River Grove. I can certainly vouch that it’s a great hot dog and deserves to be on best-hot dog lists, but Gene and Jude’s is sort of the generic answer for most best-of lists around here. As a food nerd, you’d think I’d have all sorts of passionate answers, but if I’m looking for a good hot dog, I just remind myself to get one from a local mom and pop and not overthink it.
Some personal favorites: Superdawg, Red Hot Ranch (shoutout to those cheeseburgers), Max’s Takeout, Fatso’s Last Stand, and Portillo’s (even though it’s a chain, it’s reliable as hell). A shoutout to Lola’s Coney Island reppin’ Detroit, too.
But damn, it’s hard not to be jealous of the other 49 states, because I’m not doing any traveling for a long time. Some of these hot dogs look absolutely amazing. So, since Food & Wine doesn’t have a comment section to open up passionate (angry) arguments, tell us about your favorite hot dog joint in your state. I want to live vicariously through you.