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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Friday, December 3

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The Dog Show Tue Aug 03 2010

The Dog Show: George's Hot Dogs

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George's Hot Dogs opened up in Bucktown in 1948, and since then has remained a family-owned and operated hot dog and sandwich joint. After reading about George's in Redeye and Chicago Food Planet I decided to venture out and check out the stand for myself. The outside of this hot dog stand is quaint and inviting, making me think that I was in for some great American food made by a people who have been doing this for years. Little did I know George's had some punches to pull on the inside.

DSCN8207.JPGI ordered two things at George's Hot Dogs - the George's Dog, which is a standard Chicago-style hot dog, and the Maxwell Polish. The George's Dog is a Vienna Beef hot dog topped with yellow mustard, raw onions, relish, sliced tomatoes, and a pickle spear on a hot dog bun. I was surprised that "everything" didn't include hot peppers, but perhaps this is a topping that needs to be requested. The hot dog itself was well-prepared and tasted great, but it was the rest of the hot dog that was a little hard to handle. The tomato slices were cut way too thick for them to fit comfortably onto the hot dog, making it harder to eat. I took a couple of bites before I ended up taking them off completely, which in turn threw off the entire taste of the hot dog.

A good hot dog isn't all about the ingredients. Construction, especially when it comes to a Chicago style hot dogs, is very important. George's hot dog has big ingredients, but with not enough room for them all. A perfect Chicago dog should let you enjoy each condiment in almost every bite. The George's dog was a hodgepodge of tastes on a small bun, a lot of tastes with no congruency. The french fries didn't help the meal either. They were a little dry as if they were overcooked, and they had zero taste. No salt, no seasoning, no nothing. This is an instance where ketchup saves the day. Dunking these dry sticks of spud into ketchup made them good enough to shovel down my throat. Like I said in my review of Red Hot Ranch, it's okay to have a mediocre hot dog if it's priced correctly. George's Dog is $3.25, plus fries. But when the hot dog isn't constructed correctly and the fries are bland, it's hard to consider this a deal.

DSCN8210.JPGThe Maxwell Polish fared a little better. George's Maxwell Polish comes with yellow mustard, grilled onions, and hot peppers on a hot dog bun. The fries that accompanied the Polish were still dry and bland, but the actual sausage packed some major flavor and heat. The spices within the sausage and the heat from the peppers made this one of the spiciest Polishes I've ever had. And it's hard to argue with a good heap of grilled onion on top of a good dog. It wasn't enough to wow the pants off of me, but it was a definite improvement over the Chicago hot dog. In fairness to George's Hot Dogs, I didn't get what customers have reviewed highly - the chili dog. From what I've read on their Yelp page, customers seem to dig this dish above all their hot dogs. If you plan on going to George's I would recommend trying that before the Maxwell Polish or Chicago dog.

George's Hot Dogs is located on 1876 North Damen in Bucktown and can be reached by the Damen bus. Along with their hot dogs, George's offers a variety of burgers and sandwiches on their menu. If you do plan on going to George's, please remember that they are cash only. The restaurant offers indoor and outdoor seating. I paid $10 for a George's hot dog, a Maxwell Polish, and pop so this is a place that won't break the bank.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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