The History of the Chicago Style Hot Dog

How the Classic ‘Chicago Dog’ Made Its Way Into Our Hearts (and Bellies)

Vienna Beef Chicago Style Hot Dog

Are you a member of the Bay Area Chicago Bears Fan Club? Does the sight of mouth-watering food make you starry-eyed and weak to your knees? Do you indulge in a secret love affair every time you snag a bite of Vienna Beef Chicago-style hot dogs? If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, then this blog post is written just for you!

We all know Chicago is the incubator for some of America’s greatest innovations: jazz music, deep dish pizza, Chicago Italian sandwiches, vacuum cleaners, the zipper, cell phones – just to name a few. But did you also know that Chicago has played an important role in the progression of the baseball game favorite—the hot dog? The birthplace of this American staple can be traced back to Europe, nearly hundreds of years ago.

Sausage is literally one of the oldest forms of processed food, with recognition that dates as early as the 9th century in Homer’s Odyssey. The earliest forms of the hot dog are linked to Germany during the 15th century. It wouldn’t make a welcome voyage to the American states until decades later; when European immigrants brought over sausages. The person responsible for adding a soft bun to a savory sausage is also unknown, but sources suggest that this practice also originated in Germany, or can be linked to an American immigrant food vendor in New York. The beloved hot dog would eventually make its way down to Chicago, Illinois and take on an appetizing new form.

Birthed during the great depression the “Chicago style hot dog” originated in the carts of street vendors. Money was scarce and the appeal of a warm hot sausage, in a yummy poppy seed bun and hearty toppings such as: yellow mustard, bright green “neon” relish, fresh chopped onions, juicy red tomato wedges, a kosher-style pickle spear, a couple of spicy sport peppers and finally, a dash of celery salt, could hardly be passed up for a nickel. Since then, the sausage has been replaced with the staple (and must-have) Vienna Beef hot dogs.

We’re Home to the Best Chicago-Style Food in the Bay Area

This enticing and affordable meal with a “salad on top” soon became a favorite among many hungry Chicagoans, and today the Chicago-style hot dog continues to occupy ample space in the heart of your average foodie. If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area and want to taste a delicious Chicago Style hot dog, check out Windy City Pizza in San Mateo, located conveniently off Highway 92 at 35 Bovet Road, San Mateo, CA (94402).