George’s Gyros Spot – A Brief History of Our Favorite Chicago-Style Hot Dogs

Chicago Hot Dogs

A Brief History of Our Favorite Chicago-Style Hot Dogs

If you’re from Chicago, you may know by heart that one of the most iconic foods that shaped the gastronomic culture of the local people is the Chicago-style hot dog. It was influenced by European culture and was tailored to the new city culture and taste buds of Chicago.

You can find this delightful dish anywhere in the Chicago area which makes you wonder how the first Chicago-style hot dog came to be.

The Origins of the Chicago-Style Hot Dog

Hot dogs are said to have originated from sausages. Now, historians believe that the first sausage-making started with the Roman Emperor, Nero. It continued to spread all over Europe as they discovered that meat can be stuffed in pig intestines.

The first sausage may have originated from the Roman people but the development of the modern-day hot dog came from Germany. There were two known towns where German sausages were believed to originate: Vienna (known for wienerwurst) and Frankfurt (known for Frankfurter). Whichever place they originally came from, these sausages found their way into the United States along with German immigrants.

The name hot dog was likely coined by a German immigrant who first went to the United States with the first German sausages. The very first hot dog stand was located in the Bowery area way back in the 1860s. It was believed that Weiner was first served with a sauerkraut sauce together with a milk roll. The next one was in Coney Island in 1871 which was owned by Charles Feltman, a German baker who was believed to serve the very first modern-day hot dog.

Chicago and Its Signature Hot Dogs

In the mid-19th century, several German immigrants fled to the US and by the end of the century, many of their families lived in the cities and in Midwestern farm areas. More than a quarter of the German people started to reside in Chicago, bringing all the influence of various types of sausages.

Chicago then became the meatpacking capital of the world which resulted in higher demand for frankfurters across the country. Sausages even made it to the World’s Fair (originally known as World’s Columbian Exposition) in Chicago during 1893.

The appearance of the sausages in the fair was a huge success as most people bought the cheapest, easiest, and the most convenient food back then. So just like mushrooms in the forest, companies like Armour and Oscar Mayer popped up in Chicago which established Chicago’s role as the hot dog capital of the country.

When Chicago was at the peak of the industrial boom, a lot of people suffered from different diseases from lack of overall cleanliness and poor hygiene. So one action that the German-Jewish community did was to revolutionize the hot dog industry to a much safer and purer way of packing and preparing hot dogs. And since the Jewish immigrants took over, they made hot dogs entirely from beef which was how the first Chicago-style hot dog came to be.


Chicago-style hot dogs are packed with a rich flavor that adding ketchup to them is like a major mistake that you don’t want to make. So the next time you see a juicy hot dog, remember to reminisce about all the rich cultures and history behind the wonderful Chicago-style hot dog!

George’s Gyros Spot is one of the best restaurants in Chesterton, Indiana that serves delicious Chicago dogs, gyros, polish dogs, Italian beef and cheeseburger. Get in touch with us today so you can taste that one of a kind Chicago-style hot dogs.

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