The Chicago-style hot dog may get all the attention, but I'm partial to all the great sausages you can find around town. Whether it's a bratwurst covered in mustard and onions or a foie gras-topped duck sausage, here's where to go for a link.
Go early, since when Hot Doug's opens at 10:30 a.m., there's already going to be a line. You'll find all the classics here, like a traditional Chicago-style dog and a nearly perfect bratwurst, but the real draw is the menu of specials, which seem to get more and more inventive-think links like truffle pork sausage with fig-date mustard and Port Salut cheese; pepper jack cheese-stuffed chicken chorizo with tomatillo mole, queso asadero, and fried tortillas; or the foie gras and sauternes duck sausage with truffle aioli, foie gras mousse, and fleur de sel.
Located in Lincoln Square, Gene's is a butcher shop/market that offers 40 varieties of sausage. Before I fly home to visit my parents, I buy a couple different kinds, throw them in the freezer and bring them to my dad-they're that good. Even if you don't bring any sausages home as a souvenir, visit Gene's and head up to the rooftop this summer, where you can get grilled brats and Polish sausages, beer, and pierogi.
The Vienna Beef Factory Café offers tours of the factory, but if you don't want to see how the sausage is made, stop by the café for lunch. The menu features Vienna products like hot dogs and Italian beef sandwiches, or you can go with Vienna Polish sausages or spicy sausages. This is also a great spot to buy to-go items-all sorts of Vienna items are for sale, so bring an extra suitcase to take home hot dogs, celery salt, or relish.
The Publican's sister restaurant Publican Quality Meats offers sandwiches, bread, specialty food items, and items in the butcher case. Pick up items to go, or stay in and nosh on sausages like the truffle sausage sandwich, with truffle and taleggio sausage, fennel, apple, snow peas, caraway, and Dijon vinaigrette on a baguette or opt for a charcuterie plate.
Chef Jared Van Camp is a charcuterie wizard, and you can get a whole plate of different types of sausage made in house-lamb salami, chorizo, summer sausage, hot dogs. Sausage also makes its way into dishes like sausage and waffles, stuffed shishito peppers, and tacos.
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