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Hot Dogs: Chicago v. New York

Updated on February 19, 2008

Hot dogs are an American tradition. Whether you are at a baseball game, a picnic in the park, grilling in your backyard, or stopping at a stand on the street, you can find people eating hot dogs just about everywhere. There are definitely some dogs that are better than others. You can find different styles of hot dogs depending on where you are in the United States. From little weenies to giant frankfurters to veggie dogs, there are about as many different dogs in this country as there are people. But there are two hot dog styles that are famous above the rest: Chicago and New York.

The Chicago Dog v. The NY Wiener

The New York Dog

The classic New York wiener is grilled and served with sauerkraut and mustard. If you want to grab a quick $1 dog from a street cart, it will be boiled and served with mustard and onion sauce. Like the Chicago dog, a traditional New York dog will be made out of beef.

While New York might not offer all of the colorful toppings of a Chicago dog, it does offer an easy to hold dog you can eat without getting super messy.

While in the City, you can also get a Coney Island dog, which is a beef frank served on a plain bun. Mustard is available if you want it. The Coney Island dog was first served by in 1867 when Charles Feltman wrapped Vienna sausages in a roll, and sold them as Coney Island Red Hots.

This isn’t to be confused with the Coney dog, a wiener topped with the special Coney sauce (a beanless chili).

New York hot dogs might be called street food, but they are available just about any time of day. They are an inexpensive, easy to eat meal while exploring the city.

The Chicago Dog

The Chicago style hot dog is an all beef wiener in a poppy seed bun. But, it’s the toppings that make these dogs stand apart from the rest. First of all, never put ketchup on a Chicago dog. You just may be run out of town if you do.

Some popular Chicago toppings:

  • mustard

  • onion

  • sweet pickle relish

  • dill pickle spears

  • tomatoes

  • peppers

  • celery salt

  • grilled onions

  • raw onions

Chicago dogs are usually roiled or steamed. If you want it grilled, you need to order a chardog.

Why are these hot dogs so good? Maybe it has to do with the Polish influence in the city. You know that the Polish are famous for their sausages.

Do you have a favorite hot dog? Let us know whether you think the Chicago Dog or the New York Frank is better. If you had to choose, which one would you pick? How do you prepare hot dogs at home? Be sure to share your tips with us in the comment box below.


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    • profile image

      Rick 2 years ago

      The Vienna dog blows Nathan's away. No contest. I do like the ease of eating a NYC dog.... But the dog itself is better in Chicago . Pizza? Chicago square cut thin crust.... Nothing compares!!!!!!

    • profile image

      bro 4 years ago

      you people think that the New York Dog is better?! the new York dog is an uncreative piece of garbage. Chicago dog would kick this things butt. The taste of the NY dog varies but there's absolutely no contest. Chicago dog is more creative, better (duh), and the Ney York dog has as much flavor as water.

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      max 4 years ago

      i also think that the Vienna beef hot dog is supreme

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      max 4 years ago

      i live in Chicago and do agree. the toppings are a bit much. i could do without the tomatoes and the pickle on the side, but the peppers are genius!! the all beef dog is not fake, infact it is much better and regarded as a premium dog. all beef dogs have a sort of snap when you bite into them. also there is flavor, flavor, FLAVOR. also there are juices from the dog that are flavor packed. the dog is very juicy and delicious. i have had a new york dog too. i felt that the dog has no snap. there is not as much flavor, there are no juices that enhance the flavor of the overall dog. also i find it weird that there is kraut on it. i enjoyed the sauerkraut in Germany, but not on the dog. i feel that the new york dog definitely has the European influence from the immigrants, but the Chicago dog is an all American classic

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      Bob 6 years ago

      Chicago has better food for two reasons; agriculture and transportation. We have been the "get-a-way" city of the US for businessmen and women for years. People all over the world get excited to come to Chicago, if only for the food and shopping.

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      ?Stevie(fake name) 6 years ago

      well, i'm a new yorker and New York dogs are really good, though i have not, sadly eaten a dog from Chicago but i think that having a hot dog with just one or two toppings is good enough

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      Albert 6 years ago

      From ny and a stubborn new yorker, but I hate 2 admit , chicago has better pizza n dogs. More flavor. And the vienna hot dogs are 10x better than nathans or pappayas.

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      Doggy Style Gourmet Franks 6 years ago

      Wow tough to answer, I am going to say if I have time to sit down and enjoy lunch I go for Chicago Dog. If I am on the go, no question NY style. The one thing NY is missing out on is Vienna Beef. I make even my NY dogs with a Vienna Beef Hot Dog.

    • profile image

      zz 6 years ago

      Dr. Bruce- You cannot tell by LOOKING AT THEM, ever hear don't judge a book by it's cover, don't knock it till' you try it?

      You're dead wrong Dr. Bruce.

      The new york dog looks simple and the chicago looks elaborate but sometimes simple is better and NEW YORK rules in this category. The new york dog tastes 100 times better than the chicago and the other person was right, it looks and tastes more like a bready sandwich due to the sesame seed bun.

      I too thought I would enjoy the chicago more- but boy was i wrong. The NEW YORK CANNOT BE BEAT.

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      Danny 6 years ago

      Chicago style is deffinitley better although i do enjoy both because i also love kraut. You put that kraut on a chicago style though and then you've got something really special. Maybe im bias because i live in chicago but my taste buds don't lie, get a chicago style chedder char dog and add kraut and although it may be hard to eat... You will deffinitly have an orgasm in your mouth. As for the guy a few comments up talking about pizza. He clearly doesn't know what hes talking about. I like both kinds ny and chitown depending on my mood. But the chicago way is the most authentic and traditional style.

    • reindeerz profile image

      reindeerz 7 years ago from Georgia

      Yum! I'm starving just looking at the pictures!

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      Ezence01 7 years ago

      I live in Northern New Jersey, and I frequently work in NYC. While NYC has some very good food, there is nothing that even comes close to the Chicago hot dog. My wife and I recently visited Chicago and we couldn't believe how much better the Chicago hot dogs where at Portillos. Whether you got them plain or Chicago style it was just amazing. Chicago might be a small city when compared to NYC but they definitely have the better hot dog.

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Washington

      I love all natural hot dogs or the ones without nitrates and nitrites. Or the old fashioned that you get at the butcher shop. Love decking mine out with some relish and a little mustard. Definitely a Chicago hot dog over a NY dog!

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      jonny catuso 7 years ago

      ny sucks

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      Dan 7 years ago

      It is amazing how a simple dog got so many outfits for every occean. In Black book of hot dog stand the author listed at least 20 recipes that are popular on the stand these days. amazing.

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      The voice of reason 7 years ago

      Can we please stop comparing New York to Chicago in the food department. It simply is a joke and not even close. NY simply has the BEST hotdogs and Pizza! The chicago dog is a disgrace with its neon green relish and pickle slices. Let be serious, it has celery salt on it!!! Disgraceful. And we wont even go into Pizza where in NY the American Pizza was born and chicago has nothing more than a Pizza style wanna be Casserole. It isn't even a debate, it isn't even close. If you live in chago and enjoy "that" style good for you, but please don't even try to compare it the real deal food in NY.

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      Mike in Okla 8 years ago

      Trying to locate a hot dog with the name of Zwielger or something like that spelling, can you help?


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      cjean 8 years ago

      chicago dogs are all about presentation and not taste. its for the people who want their hot dog to look "uptown". all those big chunks of tomato and pickle, or even peppers, what a pain.

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      Hawkins-dogs 8 years ago

      I run a cart in missouri and i sell the chicago dog and its way better then any little sabrett or nathans.Its got a way better taste and you know your getting a dog when you get a chicago dog.

    • Latro profile image

      Latro 8 years ago

      NY all the way. You don't need any other toppings than what NY style offers you!

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      ANDREW 8 years ago

      I love chicago hotdogs. i travel a lot and i have tried many newyork hotdogs and chicago hotdogs and i have to say chicago hotdogs are just more flavorful. I have to say chicago hotdogs are 100% better than newyork hotdogs.

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      siscarface 8 years ago

      New Yor 100% chicago style dogs are disgusting and not real dogs more like a sandwich. been to both cities tried them both .. NY bar none!

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      issues veritas 9 years ago


      I am biased, born in Manhattan and grew up there and on Long Island.

      Nathans #1 good alone and better with mustard and sauerkraut.

      Sabrett #2 off the hot dog carts -- same toppings

      I have tried the Chicago Dog and didn't care for it. Too many toppings made it hard to eat and hard to taste the dog.

      Thanks for asking

    • Stacie Naczelnik profile image

      Stacie Naczelnik 10 years ago from Seattle

      You think so? I wonder how a New Yorker would respond to that!

    • drbruce profile image

      drbruce 10 years ago from Singaraja, Bali

      Chicago definitely. You can tell by just looking at them.