Chicago's Dog House
816 W. Fullerton (right near the intersection of Fullerton/Halsted/Lincoln)
Last Thursday I went to check out Chicago's Dog House after plenty of positive buzz was showered my way. It's the creation of two recent college grads (Ryan D'Arcy of Depaul, and Aaron Wolfson of Columbia College). The Dog House offers your traditional Chicago style hot dogs, but also a few specialty dogs and sausages.
The specialty dogs run $3.50 and include my favorite so far, the French Poodle - which features brie cheese, a sliced pear, and a zesty, Grey Poupon like mustard. It has a little spice from the mustard that is offset by the pear, but the brie cheese is the real star. A fun, yet tasty creation.
They also offer dogs with a sense of humor to them, like the Mayor Daley, complete with Irish cheddar and caramelized onions. Then there's the Blagojevich - a Chicago style hot dog featuring one strange ingredient - ketchup. It looks all there, but there's just something that ain't right.
As for the sausages, they feature an alligator, a prime rib, and the regular variety. All come with different toppings that are made fresh in house. Chicago's Dog House is definitely unique, but the first comparison has to be Hot Doug's, whose owner Doug Sohn has carved a niche in the specialty encased-meats market.
Owner Ryan D'Arcy told me that he respects Hot Doug's, but he's not in direct competition with them. Doug's is a little ways up the road, and he hopes there is more than enough room for two fancy-schmansy doggie shops to succeed in such a big hot dog market. If the positive reviews all over the internet are a sign of things to come, Chicago's Dog House won't have to worry.
Watch my visit to Chicago's Dog House on tonight's WGN News at 5:30 and 9:00.