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The Fat Kid Road Trip part 2: Electric Boogaloo

The first full day of our journey for a larger waistline took us northwards, and as the northernmost resident of Illinois, I got to be behind the wheel. I can't speak for how many readers regularly travel the city of Chicago, but for those who haven't gotten the chance, let me be the first to congratulate you.

It's not fun.

If you adhere to the tenants of defensive driving and general “not-feeling-like-you're-an-inch-from-death” then the Windy City is not the place for you to commute. Want to change lanes? Well, you're more or less forced to cut someone off to do so. Don't worry though, because odds are you'd have been cut off with brake-slammingly little warning about three times by that point. And make no mistake, you will certainly have to contend with this. Unless you've memorized the highway layout, figuring out what lane to be in at what time is going to be like a sodoku puzzle locked in a Rubik’s Cube given to a color-blind man.

But I digress. We made it to our destination with surprisingly little hassle and surprisingly large chunks of our car intact, just in time to enjoy some Hot Doug's.


Name: Hot Doug's Meat Emporium
Location: Chicago, IL
Suggested by: Geekasaurus Mike

I like hot dogs, and I'm sure as a red-blooded American, so do you (all of what google tells me is a surprisingly large Russian audience can ignore that statement). In my humble opinion, there are few better places to enjoy encased meats than Hot Doug's.

Located at 3324 N. California Ave in Chicago, the establishment is well known for its high-quality product, it's unique atmosphere and staff (more on that in a moment) and it's creative dish naming. Every one of the regular menu items is named after a celebrity, and those names change on a regular basis. The Bo Derek, an Andouille Sausage, for example, has been formerly called the Brigette Bardot, the Salma Hayek, the Madonna, the Raquel Welch and the Ann-Margret.
None of which are pictured here
Hot Doug's major claim to fame, however, is the Game of the Week, or a hot dog made with a different unusual animal meat every week. These have included yak, rattlesnake, wild boar and kangaroo in the past. Every Friday and Saturday, the restaurant also offers “duck fat” cooked fries.

If you're looking to eat at a decent hour, you'd better get there early. We had a half-hour wait outside just to get inside the building, let alone to the cash register. Doug himself was working the till when we arrived, and that's when their unusual take on customer service began. Upon learning that we were eating in, Joey was implicitly told to order a small drink, but just take a large cup so he didn't have to keep refilling it. I can't name many places that would argue with someone trying to pay more, but there you are.

The second unusual thing was, as we were sitting outside due to space, a voice rang out from behind me.

“Hey! Joey!”
From the tone, I expected a miracle coincidence had occurred where someone Joey knew had run into us. I was wrong. The voice belonged to our server. The third unusual thing was that it was a Chicago hot dog store that had ketchup bottles.

What we hadn't realized upon leaving, sadly, was that the establishment was cash-only. We were somewhat limited in our choices therefore, but although we had simple Chicago-dogs, corndogs (the Shirley Hardman) and a Bo Derek between us, Hot Doug's certainly managed to live up to its reputation.

If you want to eat at Hot Doug's, you'd best hurry. Sadly, Doug will be retiring, and closing his shop on October fourth. Until then, I highly recommend giving it at least one shot before it's gone forever.