Hot Doug’s To Close In Chicago . . . Leaving Thousands Without Their Favorite Case Meat Emporium

HotDougslogo_mediumTonight I have learned news that I pass along with the deepest sense of regret and loss: Hot Doug’s — my favorite Chicago hot dog stand — is closing. I have previously discussed Hot Doug’s and my view (and many others) that it is the premier Chicago hot dog restaurant, a distinction difficult to obtain in a famous for its hot dogs.

My family and I have repeatedly stood in the cold in a line extending a block to eat at 3324 North California. Hot Doug’s has exotic dogs like rattlesnake and foie gras. It also has duck fat fries that are to die for. However, the best dog is the classic Chicago dog, which is hands down the best in the city in my view.

220px-Hot_Doug's_Chicago_-_exterior220px-Hot_Doug's_Chicago_-_dogs_and_friesOwner Doug Sohn has kept prices reasonable despite his success and refused to open up more stores — saying that he had enough money. He let his fans know by a tweet that the “Sausage Superstore and Encased Meat Emporium” would close: “My friends, we’ll serve our last encased meats 10/3. We thank you for your support & suggest you don’t get a Hot Doug’s tattoo any time soon.”

He said it was simply time for him to try something new. But what of those of us who make up Hot Doug’s cholesteral-ladden, cased-meat fans? What are we supposed to do . . . eat salads?

The website simply states:

We will re-open Thursday, May 29

Oh by the way, permanent vacation begins Saturday, October 4.

I am simply speechless with grief. Fortunately, I am going back to Chicago in a few days and will be partaking, perhaps for a last time, in the indescribable pleasure of Hot Doug’s.

Years ago, the family that ran Berghoff’s — one of the oldest restaurants (and the best German restaurants) in Chicago — announced that none of the children surviving its owner wanted to run the place. One of the children instead opened up a catering business and closed this landmark business. I was crushed. I used to go there with my father who worked nearby at Skidmore Owings & Merrill. Families including ours would wait for hours during the holidays. Obviously, this is not indentured servitude and kids have their own lives to live. Even owners like Doug have a right to try something different. However, it is sad to see them go.

Source: City and Press

15 thoughts on “Hot Doug’s To Close In Chicago . . . Leaving Thousands Without Their Favorite Case Meat Emporium”

  1. Paul, I live just off of Baseline Rd. When we were kids, Mom would take us on a drive down Baseline Rd on Sundays after church just to see the flower gardens. It was a treat, although at the time I didn’t realize it. Believe it or not, there is still one flower stand open from the original miles and miles. It is really too bad that it’s gone now. C’est la vie.

    1. Kraaken – I spent 20 years on Southern, directly north of the garden. Smell was great, but my allergies went bonkers.

  2. Darren, Great clip. And, as you know, they were “On a mission from God.”

  3. I used to live about three blocks from his first spot in Roscoe Village. For years we went there every week (before moving to the suburbs to make babies). You can have your Weiner Circle, Superdawg, and Demon Dogs. One had to drunk to really enjoy those places (although the original Superdawg had a nice drive through in the summer). Doug’s beat them hands down. Occasionally he’d make fries in duck fat (yum). A pilgrimage is being arranged.

  4. Couldn’t a die hard fan buy him out and keep the place open? -DO


  5. South Phoenix used to have the Japanese Gardens (a Point of Pride site), literally miles of flowers planted for harvesting. They were run by Japanese families who had been in the area since before WWII. The children did not want to go into the family business, so they slowly sold the land and now it is all housing.

  6. Nick

    Were you talking about the Illinois Nazis? I thought Jake & Elwood already took care of them:

  7. I too lament this loss. Hot Doug’s was the best hot dog[sausage really] I ever ate. He courageously fought the Chicago nanny Nazi’s and continued to make foie fras dogs during the dark days of Nazi laws outlawing it.

  8. Just another trendy taking a hike. I’ll be back in Ukrainian Village to spin records next weekend, and I’ll find the old school stands that us trad dads rely on. In fact, I’ve an eight-pack of Vienna Polish Sausages cooling in my fridge right now that some tender lovin’ care. Hey Dougie, we hardly knew ye. Over and out.

  9. I hope someone has the decency to purchase the business and keep it as is. With lines going around the corner, that sounds like opportunity.

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