A great Chili Dog can bring comfort during even the coldest of Chicago winters. Finding a restaurant that offers a great Chili Dog, where the hot chili is balanced with the crunchy bite of a well-cooked red hot, can seem like a Herculean task. Fortunately for you, we are here to help. We began our hunt for the best Chili Dogs in Chicago by combing through all of the local favorites. From fast and simple to elaborate and messy, these Chili Dogs are here to fill your stomach and warm your heart. Grab a napkin and unbuckle your belt, it is time to dig in.
If Chicago is the place to go for greasy, delicious fast food then Portillo's is one of the hallmark joints to grab your attention. As one of Chicago's most famous places to eat, you can't go wrong strolling into their Ontario Street location for a Chili Dog. Portillo's was founded by Dick Portillo in 1963 with their Villa Park being the first to open its doors. Portillo's may be famous for their Italian beef, but they started out as "The Dog House". The Portillo's Chili Dog here comes with onions, chili, and gooey melted cheese. We suggest using a knife and fork. Finish off your meal with a rich slice of their famous chocolate cake.
Next up on our Chili Dog adventure we'll be heading to local favorite, Buona Beef. Buona Beef was established in 1981 by Peggy and Joe Buonavolanto. Joe took out a second mortgage against his home to start the restaurant and he and his family even dug out the foundation for their first location themselves. Known primarily for their Italian Beef sandwich, Buona Beef also provides one of the most satisfying and affordable Chili Dogs in and around the Chicago area. The Buona Beef Chili Dog comes with a delicious beef red hot, their home made chili, and a smattering of cheddar cheese and onions. The best part? This hearty hot dog will run you under $4.00. There are 18 Buona Beef locations in the Chicagoland area.
If you find yourself in need of something hot, fresh, and delicious after a couple of drinks then we have the best Chili Dog place for you: Clark Street Dog. The Clark Street Dog is located on North Clark Street at the Halsted intersection. Known as a great late night stop, Clark Street Dog gives customers everything they could want out of a greasy, cheesy, delicious Chili Dog. Clark Street Dog was established in 1977 and they've kept their menu the same ever since. The restaurant is open every night until 3AM. Along the same lines as Clark Street we definitely advise scoping out Max's Take Out for an authentic Chicago style Chili Dog without any pretense or pretensions. Max's Take Out is located at East Adams and Wabash in a tiny little shop stuffed between a nail salon and a money lender. This is true 'hole in the wall' food that tastes like something Mike Ditka would have been promoting in the '80s. Simply put, Max's Take Out is delicious and affordable.
Our final Chili Dog stop will be at 185 North Franklin Street on the loop where you can catch a bite at UB Dogs. As a dedicated hot dog joint, UB Dogs goes above and beyond to deliver something authentic and fresh. While UB Dogs is open for breakfast, their lunch sized Chili Dog steals the show. Topped with homemade chili, nacho cheese, and Merkt's sharp cheddar this is one of the most filling hot dogs on our list. For a couple bucks more you can add a basket of fresh fries to your order.