Tonight 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.
Owner 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:
HOT DOUG’S WILL BE CLOSED FOR MEMORIAL DAY(S)
MONDAY, MAY 26 THROUGH WEDNESDAY, MAY 28
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