Home Depot locations around Chicago pretty much look like any massive chain hardware store anywhere else in America. But when you’re done paying for all the screws and duct tape and you’re headed out, you might see a small group of people huddled near the exit. They’re all waiting for their hot dog fix.
For the longest time, I had no idea that not all Home Depots had hot dog stands inside them. I just grew up assuming that this was the case, until I noticed some locations didn’t have them, and then I’d think, “This Home Depot sucks. Where’s the hot dog stand?”
The Chicago Tribune delves into this small Chicago fixture that apparently I’d been taking for granted for years now. I thought getting lunch from Home Depot was something everyone did. I always called them Depot Dogs, since I didn’t know the stands had an actual name, but they do: Fixin’ Franks. That’s an excellent name.
When I say that these are little stands, I mean they’re genuinely little. I’ve only ever seen one person working at a time, and the menu is tiny too, with assorted sausages, nachos, Italian beef, Chicago-style tamales (which are a story in and of themselves), drinks, and chips. But the thing is, every single hot dog I’ve ever had from Fixin’ Franks has always been good.
That’s because the food is locally sourced from one of Chicago’s oldest sausage makers in town: Makowski’s Real Sausage. While the hot dogs are the classic dragged-through-the-garden variety (as we like to call them), the Chicago Tribune suggests that the Polish sausages are the thing to get, including Fixin’ Franks’ version of a Maxwell Street Polish, which is something you non-Chicagoans can easily make at home. There’s a Home Depot near me. Maybe that’ll be my lunch. We need batteries anyway.