A hot dog wouldn't sport boxing gloves and a heavyweight belt unless it were a true champ. At this Dempster Street landmark, the made-to-order wiener lives up to its moniker, and will knock visitors out with its full-bodied, zesty flavor.
Vegetarians will be delighted with the single meatless option on the menu, the deep-fried falafel burger, which comes on a hand-formed sesame "knot roll" along with fries for only $4. Everyone else will definitely gorge on the $3.25 steamed, char-grilled or deep-fried hot dog (price includes a small order of fries). Tack on an extra dollar for a "double" dog (two hot dogs in one bun) or go all-out with the $12 "Undisputed," a one-pound cheeseburger combo.
Inside the simple storefront, older regulars and high school kids alike jabber as they eat. Harper College pennants and photographs cover much of the walls, and the rounded booth benches appear to have been around since the place officially opened in 1975. New management took over in 2005; the new owner, Gus, was a long-time employee of the M and H Grill (located in Winnetka/Hubbard Woods) and also worked for a spice/flavor company.
Looking for something beside the same old all-beef hot dog? Sample one of the (registered trademark) dipping dogs, a dog dipped in fresh corn meal batter. One goes for $2.25, three for $6 and you can get a dozen for $20. There are also some unorthodox choices like country fried bacon and deep-fried pickle chips.
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Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Alicia Eler