Dogging It

This much I’ve learned: You should never underestimate the power of a tender hug.

The good ones, I’ve found, can turn enemies into friends. Friends into girlfriends. And, most amazing of all, regular old hot dogs into superdawgs.

There’s no use arguing over who has the best Chicago-style hot dog outside of the city. Everybody’s got a dog in the fight. But when the Berman family finally opened a suburban satellite of their Superdawg Drive-In this past January (they’d been holding onto land in Wheeling for 28 years), we inherited Chicago’s most iconic hot dog.

Since then much ink and many calories have been spent trying to pinpoint what exactly makes them so super. Is it the dogs themselves, all-beef six-to-a-pound beauties? The acidity of the house’s pickled green tomatoes and sport peppers? Or the charm of having your pup delivered via Superdawg’s unique drive-in system? (Who doesn’t like a bit of “American Graffiti” nostalgia now and then, right?)

Turns out, it’s none of the above. It’s the hug—the cushion of all those fresh crinkle-cut fries nested around every superdawg. The fries are warm, so they keep the dog nice and cozy in the Bermans’ classic grease-proof container. The fries have a bit of oil on them, which seeps ever so subtly into the bun. And they share their salt, adding just the right seasoning for those tomatoes.

Sometimes, a rogue fry will end up in the mix of relish, mustard and onion. Don’t pick it off. Just let them hug it out. It’s the only way to truly experience a superdawg with everything on it.