A good friend of mine, Jim, recently made a work related trip to Chicago. Since he has followed our hot dog adventures he wanted to report on having some Chicago dogs. The following comments are from him.
Billy Goat Tavern location in Merchandise Mart since it was close to my school. I had been to the original Tavern on Michigan Ave when I was there three years ago, but didn't go this year. They don't serve fries at the original location (I'll have to tell you about that) and their hot dogs may be better than the ones they serve in the food court. They were OK, but nothing any different from what we get here.
I talked with Jim about his Chicago trip and his french fry comment. He is an engineer with AT&T attending a school on how to do some technical jobs in the event he is called on to help keep things running in an emergency or during a strike. It seems that a mutual friend of ours had recommended that he eat at Billy Goat Tavern, the original location, and be sure to have their fries. He had fries at his visit to the location at the Merchandise Mart; but when he later went to a different location and tried to order fries he was answered with: "Chips, no fries"; and his attention was directed to a sign stating that they don't serve french fries but do serve chips. He then realized that he had been "set up" by our mutual friend. Jim also commented about another sign proclaiming how they serve Coca-Cola products, not Pepsi products. This is somewhat consistent with the many hot dog sellers in Chicago who refuse to put ketchup on a hot dog. There doesn't seem to be much tolerance for different tastes.
I walked to the Navy Pier on Friday in hopes of getting a real Chicago Dog. My wife and I were there Labor Day weekend in 2009 and that was the first time I had a real Chicago Dog. From a distance, the Navy Pier appeared to be closed, but to my delight I found it open and a lot of people inside. I made my way to America's Dog and ordered two Chicago Dogs. They were as good as I remembered, can't wait to go back!!!
I had wanted to go to Super Dog north of where I was staying, but did not have a car and didn't want to take a chance on getting a taxi there and back. Maybe next time.