It’s a topic that certainly has its share of passionate consumers. It’s a lot like the fervor that a burger or pizza conversation can stir up. Everybody has their favorites, and they will defend their place/brand/style to the end. But I’m getting a little ahead of myself.
I’m originally from Chicago. So, obviously, I love a good hot dog. Chicago Style. I’d settle for a chili cheese dog or a cheese, mustard, and onion. But if Chicago Style is available nine times out of ten I’ll go for that.
When my son graduated from high school, we took a “little” car trip. Eleven baseball parks and games in fourteen days. It was about baseball and bonding, of course. But it was also about doing some cross country eating.
We had Philly cheesesteaks at Pat’s prior to a Phillies game. New England clam chowder before the trip to Fenway. Corned beef sandwiches at the now closed Carnegie Deli in New York. You get the point. We tried to make the most of it.
We also had the opportunity to try a hot dog in every park. Yes, EVERY park. I will confess, my last hot dog at Miller Park in Milwaukee had to be eaten over a garbage can. It wasn't a bad hot dog by any means. I had just reached my intake limit!
Eating a hot dog in every park we visited was fun (and filling). The real entertainment value was in rating each of the dogs. Just a note, any hot dog eaten at a baseball game is still better than a lot of other food experiences. So, this isn’t meant as a slight to ANY ballpark hot dog.
Here's how our ratings went down back in 2006! Hot dogs and their tastiness may have changed in the past fifteen years. The best not surprisingly, was Chicago. Comiskey Park, specifically. It's hard to beat those grilled onions. Second, the old Yankee Stadium. Nathan’s hot dogs are pretty darn good. Unexpectedly last, was Fenway Park. It's a fantastic, historic ballpark with a rich baseball tradition. Unfortunately for me, the Fenway Frank just doesn’t cut it in the world of ballpark hot dog heavyweights. I had such high hopes too.
Facebook. The place that has places for everything has a fantastic hot dog resource. Specifically, Chicago hot dog resource. The Facebook group, hotdogchicagostyle, sports over 7,500 members. That's a bunch of hot dog fans!
Those members are ready, willing, and more than able to dish out Chicago hot dog wisdom to anyone that asks for a little guidance. Lots of folks discussing where the best place is in the Chicago area and around the country to grab a Chicago Style hot dog.
This group is especially useful if you’re a displaced Chicagoan and have a Chicago dog craving that needs to be satisfied. They can help!
I can also be helpful in your hot dog hunt. Here’s the scenario. You’re in Sarasota Florida. Permanently or just visiting. And you’d like a hot dog instead of a grouper sandwich. Your problem is about to be solved. We’ve got some suggestions for you. Chicago style and anything but Chicago style.
Over in the Gulf gate neighborhood is Tony’s Chicago Beef Company (6569 Superior Avenue, 941-922-7979). It’s a family run business. Tony and his family have been serving up truly authentic Chicago dogs and beef sandwiches for years out of their shotgun storefront. It even has the look and feel of a real Chicago hot stand. They serve Vienna products, so you know it’s legit. Here’s a Chicago style, dog Tony’s way.
With two locations in town, Joey D’s Chicago Style Eatery & Pizzeria (211 N Tamiami Trail, 941-364-9900) is another option. They also have locations in Bradenton, Palmetto, and Venice. If you want windy city fare just about anywhere in the Sarasota area, they’ve got you covered. They use Vienna products too. Here’s what you can expect from a Joey D’s Chicago dog.
Right in the heart of downtown Sarasota is Doggystyle (1544 Main Street, 941-260-5835). I know, crazy name, but good hot dogs. This is a specialty hot dog operation. It’s run by Steve and Melissa. They use Hummel Brothers products out of Connecticut. They serve them in about a dozen different regional styles. Everyplace from Hawaiian to New York style and every style in between. The only significant regional hot dog style not represented is the Seattle dog?? Here’s a look at MY personal style. I’ll call it the Sarasota Bites Dog! Cheese, mustard, and onion. Shredded cheese rather than cheese sauce makes it a little neater to eat.
And, lastly, we couldn’t do a Sarasota hot dog piece without mentioning the dog that was featured nationally on Man vs. Food. Yes, that is correct, the Fully Loaded Salty Dog. It’s not even in the same “ballpark” as anything we’ve mentioned so far. It’s its very own style! I mean, it’s a giant, deep fried hot dog loaded with everything imaginable. You can get this hot dog beast at The Old Salty Dog (5023 Ocean Boulevard, 941-349-0158). No Vienna hot dog here. They use Sarasota's very own, Geier's hot dogs. If you don't happen to be on Siesta Key, they also have locations on City Island and down on Venice Island. Here’s what to expect if you’re hungry enough to order one of these..
Time for our recap. If you’re hot dog hungry and in the Sarasota area. And you’re looking for Chicago style or any regional style for that matter, you are in luck. We’ve got lots of options for you. The only thing better is a hot dog at the ballpark.
As usual, here are links to some things that you might find interesting...