Friday, February 15, 2008

Hotdog Heaven: Chicago Cuisine with a Southern Twist

Although I was born in Chicago, I can’t truly call myself a Chicagoan. I only lived there for a year and obviously don’t remember much. My father, on the other hand, is a Chicagoan through and through. He was born and raised there and truly loves that city. He loves the history, the sports teams (especially the Cubs) and of course, the food. One of his favorite things in the world is going to Wrigley Field, watching the Cubs play and having a real Chicago-style hotdog. So, for his 53rd birthday my mother planned a trip to Hotdog Heaven (pictured above), a cute little restaurant that promised to offer real Chicago-style hotdogs.

Located in downtown Canton, Hotdog Heaven is an adorable little place with a swinging screen door and a smiling face to greet you as soon as you walk in. Owner Beck Wentzel makes every customer feel at home and takes your order at the register while her husband, Barney, cooks in the back. They offer more than just hotdogs, though. They have all types of sandwiches, burgers and even steak dinners.

At my dad’s birthday celebration, the 9 of us took up a big part of the tiny restaurant. Becky greeted us as we came in and had even gone out of her way to get my father a birthday cake. She was so excited to have us. We each ordered our hotdog to our liking along with an array of cheese fries, onion rings and deep fried potato chips (pictured right).

I ordered, as my dad did, their Chicago Polish Dog (pictured left) with all the fixin’s. For those of you who don’t know, Chicago –style dogs come a little differently then your average hotdog. They are usually topped with pickles, tomatoes, sweet relish, onions, peppers and mustard. It’s almost a cardinal sin to put ketchup on the dog; you just don’t do it. It’s too much on this already wonderful delight and takes away from the flavors that the other toppings bring. My hotdog was perfect and brought me back to many a summer vacations visiting Chicago with my family (we always made time to get a hotdog on our trips back).

Overall, the birthday party was a success. Hotdog Heaven was the perfect mix of Southern hospitality and authentic Chicago cuisine for my dad. He was happy to get to spend time with his family, enjoy one his favorite foods and go back to his favorite city in the world, even if it was just for dinner!


Unknown said...

I want that hotdog! And how cute is your family? I wish my mom would rent out hotdog heaven for my birthday!

James Manning said...

ah yes... nothing like a chicago style hotdog. oh, and a deep dish pizza is nothing to sneeze at.

i too am a chicagoan through and through... it's the greatest city in the world.

thanks for visiting the blog.