Hot Doug’s

When I heard that Hot Doug’s, the Sausage Superstore and a Chicago institution, is closing on October 3, I felt discouraged that I might not get to go. Weeks ago, my sister-in-law, Melissa, and brother Chris asked if we’d like to go together. Last Saturday we went. Here’s a (shortened) play-by-play of our experience–the 3.5 hour version might take awhile!


Today is the day. Our pup George woke me up at 6:45 am. I was showered and ready for some encased meats by 10:30.

10:30 am: Go to the ATM because Hot Doug’s is cash only. Chris and Melissa pick us up, and we head north.

10:54 am: We arrive at Hot Doug’s. On California we only see a short line…then we turned the corner onto Roscoe. There they are: a line of people half a block down. Mind you, Hot Doug’s opened at 10:30 am.

11:15 am: I’m already restless. I walk over to Target a few blocks away. I needed a drink (Gatorade). And a snack (a banana). I walk back.

Noon: The sun is so hot, we get an umbrella from the car. The restaurant is giving hose water to those who need it. The ice cream truck is parked, and people can’t get enough water and ice cream.

1:30 pm: I’m starting to lose it. It’s like a marathon, and I worry I’m not strong enough. We are so close, but so far away. Doubting my decisions. Feeling dumb for waiting so long. Just outside the door…

2 pm: We are in the restaurant. It’s small, but strangely quiet and peaceful with lot of memorabilia, a very different scene from outside. If the line outside was hell, this is heaven. I’m staring at the menu; this sausage superstore has so many choices, like Polish, Bratwurst, Chicken, Italian, and vegetarian, plus daily specials like The Atomic Bomb, Shrimp ‘n Grits, and Hot Doug’s BLT. I’m salivating. Not only do you choose your sausage, you can choose how you want it cooked (chargrilled, boiled, or fried) and your toppings.

2:30 pm: We order with Doug. This man is so nice. If you dislike him or behave badly to him, there’s something wrong with you. Same goes with the rest of the staff.

I get the chargrilled bratwurst with caramelized onions and ketchup. I know this isn’t the most adventurous order (I leave that to my hubby), plus my first-ever corn dog (they’re kind of sweet? Who knew?), and duck fat fries to share. Nate gets three specialty dogs: One Third Pound Cheddar and Beer Pork Sausage, Hot Sauce Chicken Sausage, and Veal Saltimbocca Sausage.


So, the ultimate question: Was it worth it? If you would have asked me while I was sweating in the hot summer sun, I would have said no. But once we got inside, I was so glad to be there. The end is near for this gem, and I can say I’ve been there, I’ve endured the line, and honestly enjoyed the delicious food. Oh, and I took my picture with Doug! (Did I mention how nice he is?) That said, I think this is a once-in-a-lifetime deal, and I’m okay with that. Just so glad I was a part of legacy.

Are you up to the challenge?!?

Hot Doug’s
3324 North California






Taste Test: Carrot Cake from Eli’s Cheesecake

I’ve grown up loving Eli’s Cheesecake, but did you know that they have a lot more desserts than their signature offering?

I really didn’t either until last week when I tried their DELICIOUS carrot cake. I was still at work when that sweet package arrived, and Nate had to take a photo of it to show me how large it was. I peeked inside the box when I got home, and was impressed by how well it was packaged. And how tasty it looked. My mouth began to water…

Although this cake is portioned for 14 people, don’t be fooled—it’s huge! And do yourself a favor: ignore the nutrition facts. I mean, you’re eating cake, I don’t really think you should be worried about whether it’s healthy or not!

Because this cake probably weighed a few pounds, we had to call for reinforcements. We had some friends over on Friday night for a dessert party, with the carrot cake being the star of the show. I included some homemade Rice Krispie treats, cookies, candy, and strawberries (have to have one healthy option, right?) to balance out the offerings.

Back to the carrot cake. The presentation was excellent. Every bite was perfection. I love carrot cake, and this recipe did not disappoint! It was rich, moist, flavorful, and had a good balance of frosting to cake. (Three layers of cake, I might add. And, you’re crazy if you don’t love the cream cheese frosting!) And my friends thought it was great, too! Although there were eight of us, we only made a dent in the cake. So you better believe we sent some home with friends.

On Sunday, I brought the cake over to my parents’ house, as they love a good sweet. My dad didn’t hesitate at 2 p.m., and dove in for a full piece. When I asked him what he thought? “That’s damn good cake.” I couldn’t agree more.

Need a dessert for Easter? A Spring-inspired dinner party? Why do all the work—order a carrot cake or one of their other spring desserts like Tira Mi Su or Limoncello Cake from Eli’s!

Eli’s Cheesecake
6701 West Forest Preserve Drive