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Don’t do it Doug!

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This was quite possibly the worst news one could have received this week. I usually criticize media coverage for not sticking/focusing on more important issues, but this is pretty damn important.

Doug Sohn is closing down Hot Doug’s, effective October 3, 2014.

This is one of my favorite Chicago places, which became more evident when I had seven or eight people tell me on Tuesdays that the place was closing.

Doug, the savant of encased meats, sat behind the counter each day (Tuesday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or whenever he felt like it really, since he took a lot of days off) and greeted his customers with charm, with, and a bit of ribbing. No one else does what he does: giving people crazy game meat sausages and duck fat fries in an eclectic setting. The line that often stretched around the corner and into the nearby residential area was hardly a hassle to traverse. The reward at the end was worth it.

Aside from seeing WGN news media there in a more casual setting (looking at you Robert Jordan Jr.), my favorite memory of Hot Doug’s is this. I usually order three dogs and fries when I go: a corn dog, a normal dog, and a game meat dog. Their corn dogs are amazing, and I’m surprised more people don’t get them. Anyway, Doug’s joint is a cash-only restaurant. And while I had the $20 necessary to pay, I only had it in singles. As I keep handing Doug single after single, he asks if I just came from the Admiral and got a good laugh out of me and my friends.

That was also the day I had my favorite sausage at Hot Doug’s: the rattlesnake sausage. Tender, juicy, and oh so delicious, the toppings gave it an extra kick.

By the way, in order of favorite sausages:

  1. Rattlesnake sausage
  2. BLT Dog sausage
  3. Mountain Man (five meats in one!)
  4. Deer sausage
  5. Chicken sausage
  6. Duck sausage w/foie gras (delicious but just too much for me)
  7. All other hot dog joints in existence because nothing else ever has or ever will come close.

I wish Doug the best and understand his reasoning. He had a rough start in Chicago early on, being one of the only restaurants to serve foie gras during the Chicago ban on the ingredient, and he was part of the fight to bring it back. Obviously he won that fight. What isn’t so obvious is how many times I will have to visit Hot Doug’s before it closes.

Goodnight sweet prince of encased meats. Parting with you will be nothing but scrumptious sorrow.


Written by mlogli

May 9, 2014 at 2:45 am