Chicago-Style Hot Dogs Are Flooding New York City — And It's About Time

Because hot dogs are so easily customizable, they won't be the same from city to city. Take New York, for example. Hot dogs from the Big Apple are all-beef and decorated with sauerkraut and brown mustard, according to Hebrew National's Adam Beane (per Huffington Post). Cultural influence is what determines these ingredients, as they were chosen due to the rich population of German, Jewish, and Eastern European people. Beane explained, "German immigrants were among the first to sell hot dogs, hence the popularity of sauerkraut and brown mustard as toppings," thus leading to the invention of a traditional New York hot dog. According to Eat your World, a tomato-based onion sauce is sometimes added as well, and ketchup is typically avoided altogether.

Among the most popular New York-based hot dog brands is Nathan's Famous. Originated in Coney Island by Polish immigrant Nathan Handwerker, the stand began by offering 5-cent hot dogs. The brand then expanded to become an industry giant, with revenue of $128.14 million, per a report from Forbes. With a solidified reputation, it's obvious New York hot dogs will never play the underdog in the city that never sleeps, but there is a new contestant in town looking to switch things up.

Shipping Chicago-style hot dogs has become more viable

For the first time (successfully), Chicago-style hot dogs have immigrated to New York City. What's the real difference between New York- and Chicago-style hot dogs? Per The New York Times, a Chicago dog always comes in a poppy-seed bun and is topped with white onions, two tomato slices, a pickle spear, yellow mustard, pickle relish, pickled short peppers, and celery salt. CNBC reveals that asking for ketchup is a big no-no; in reality, messing with the recipe at all is frowned upon.

From Chicago, Eric Tran wanted to serve up the product he knew and loved at his store, Falansi. The main issue became transportation, as explained by Tran. "Vienna Beef hot dogs were mostly non-existent here," he said. Vienna Beef sales director Jim Silverman confirms this: "Ten years ago, it was really difficult to get them, but it's gotten easier." Another New York Chicago-dog salesperson claimed that having all ingredients on hand is vital due to the importance of tradition. "If we run out of one of those ingredients, we're sold out of all of them," Dog Day Afternoon's Jay Kerr said. Kerr's business had to be ten toes down before distributors would ship to them, but now with the product coming in easier, New Yorkers will be able to enjoy authentic Chicago hot dogs without the 712-mile transit.