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






Week #45 – Anything Is PAWZible

I’ll be the first to say George is the best pup on the planet, but my little guy needed some training.

When Nate told me he signed George up for puppy class with Anything Is PAWZible, I was excited. When we started class, I was still a little timid around George. Nate would put him in the car, he felt more comfortable doing tricks and commands with him, and I was more the “supportive mom”.

Over six weeks, George would learn how to sit, side sit, wait (his best skill!), come (the most important!), and more. We are still working on down, but I’m confident George will get there. Nate and I learned house training tips, received behavioral advice, and the importance of loose-leash walking. Every week, we got our homework assignments to keep George, and us, working hard on his lessons.

Rendy, our class trainer and the owner of the company, was a wonderful teacher. She was patient and so kind to George, which I really appreciated because George loved her. Rendy answered any of our questions and always made herself available if we needed her (she said to continue to contact her, so we might take her up on that). The classes were fun, challenging, and well-balanced between skills and play time.

Our classes were held at Active – Dog Daycare and Boarding on Diversey near the expressway. Honestly, I’m not sure who was more excited for class, George or Nate and me. I loved seeing the other dogs in our class–Penny, Saison, Pappy, and Gracie–and how they grew and learned from week to week, and how well they all played together with George. It was also fun to chat with the puppy parents, finding out what’s going on with their puppies, and sharing in their successes.

This week during our last class, we did a skills quiz, the pups picked out toys, ate puppy cake (it’s not real cake!), and received certificates. Some photos from our last class are included below!

I honestly can’t say enough positive things about this experience. I’m not sure who learned more: me or George. I highly recommend Anything Is PAWZible. I hope we sign up for our next class soon, and hope that this isn’t the last that we see of our new classmates friends.

Anything Is PAWZible
1330 West North Ave
Noble Square