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Posts Tagged ‘vienna beef’

Red Hot Chicago Brand Hot Dogs


In 1893, Samuel Ladany arrived in Chicago and started a small sausage making company, using old world recipes and techniques.  Ladany’s effort blossomed into the Vienna Beef company, by far and away the most popular hot dog manufacturer in Chicago.    How popular?  There are hundreds and hundreds of hot dog carts and shops that carry only the Vienna dog.  Anecdotal evidence says that in 2000, Vienna’s revenue topped $180 million.

Grandfather’s beget sons in the business, who beget their sons, and such was the case with one of the grandsons of the founder, Scott Ladany, who, after learning the family business, struck out on his own in 1986, and started the Red Hot Chicago Hot Dog company, which manufacturers a wide variety of franks, sausages, and related products for consumers and the trade.

I’m picky about which hot dogs I like.  I prefer a natural casing, all beef dog, with flavor coming from the beef, spices, and smoke.   At present, out of the midwest manufacturers, I’d say Usingers of Milwaukee tops my list, with Vienna a close second.

I sampled the skinless all beef dogs of Red Hot.  The package claims “That Great Hot Dog Stand Taste.”  I think they are selling themselves short, the pups are better than your average hot dog stand.  It’s an ample (14 oz) package, and the product is generally priced less than Vienna.

However.   It doesn’t have a whole lot of  ‘old-world’ flavor, and I was disappointed to see “corn syrup solids” on the ingredient list, even tho it’s a small amount.

Would I buy them again, tho?  Yep.  You bet.  I’d like to try their NC dogs and maybe their Polish, and Italians.


Duluth, MN – Grandma’s Boxcar


Grandma's Boxcar, Duluth, MNPart of the Grandma’s “empire” of five restaurants in the tourist-laden section of Duluth, MN, Grandma’s Boxcar is a seasonal adjunct to the original Grandma’s Saloon and Grill (menu).

Located in the parking lot of one of Duluth’s premier attractions, the aerial lift bridge in Canal Park, the Boxcar is your destination for light casual fare, including Vienna Beef hot dogs and premium ice cream.

The competent and engaging Ashtyn serves up the season’s first authentically dressed “Chicago style hot dog” to Minnesota Burger Reporter Kawikamedia.

I don’t know about you, but I’d sure like to have a bite of that!

Grandma's Boxcar, Duluth, MN

Grandma's Saloon and Grill on Urbanspoon


Hillsboro, OR – Jamie’s Chicago Dogs


Jamie's Chicago Dogs, Hillsboro, ORNot a review, per se,  just a note that if you’ve been running all over the Portland metro area looking for a genuine Vienna Beef hot dog from Chicago, look no further than Jamie’s Chicago Dogs cart at 2nd and Main in downtown Hillsboro.

As far as I know, Jamie is the only guy peddling Vienna dogs in all of Oregon!  Jamie is on site from 10-3 M-F, weather permitting.  He’s got the real deal poppy seed buns, too, and if you’re not in the mood for a regular dog, try one of Vienna’s polish sausages.   Jamie’s whole story is here.



Superior, WI – Gronks Bar & Grill


Kawikamedia and the Minnesota Burger Posse ventured over the big bridge the other day, and alit at Gronks Bar & Grill way out in the boonies of Superior, Wisconsin.

Gronks has been featured on a number of the food television shows, “famous” for their giant burgers.

While overall, a satisfactory experience was had by all, and they said they would try it again, some of the party attested to a bit of overzealous cooking on the burger and ribs.

They reported the onion rings “had promise”, and the Vienna Beef Chicago dog was served with all the correct Chicago trimmings.

Photos below by Kawikamedia. Menu reprint from Gronks website.

Vienna Beef Hot Dog at Gronks

Vienna Beef Hot Dog at Gronks

Gronks Pepper Cheeseburger & Rings

Gronks Pepper Cheeseburger & Rings

Gronk Burger Menu

Gronk Burger Menu


Duluth, MN – Original Coney Island


Original Coney Island Duluth

Original Coney Island Duluth

Once upon a time, a young Greek made the treacherous journey from the Twin Cities to Duluth, heeding the call of pioneering Duluthians hungry for hot dogs.  The year was 1921.  90 years later, the

Original Coney Island, is still selling dogs, but new owners have made a few upgrades recently.

The vintage appearance (even the original ceiling) have been left intact, but the interior has been spruced up, and the walls decorated with memorabilia.

But perhaps the biggest change, is that after 90 years, Original has joined the ‘major leagues’ of hot doggers, by adding Vienna Beef products to their menu. Vienna, from Chicago, is unquestionably the king of hot dog suppliers, the preferred dog of weenie wizards like moi.  

Minnesota Burger Report Kawikamedia and his burger posse stopped into Original recently, and raved about the authenticity of the natural casing Chicago style dog, adorned with all the right condiments, including the trademark neon green relish, nestled in the appropriate poppy seed bun. They also sampled the skinless Vienna with Original’s coney sauce, and the Italian beef sandwich as well. For those unfortunate readers who have not had Italian (or Chicago) Beef, it’s tantamount to a garlicy French dip, and is goooooooooooooood. For extra joy, have them dip your buns into the au jus.
You’ll be glad you did.

You can check out Original’s menus, breakfast, lunch and dinner, on our menu page.

Original Coney Island Duluth

Original Coney Island Duluth

Original Coney Island Duluth

Original Coney Island Duluth

Coney Island The Original on Urbanspoon


Vienna Beef


Received this great card in the mail from Vienna Beef, the preeminent hot dog manufacturer in Chicago, or maybe even the world!

I love Vienna Beef hot dogs, and their Italian beef, and their polish, and and and…. so the very least I can do in return is a few shameless plugs for them!

To learn about Vienna’s history, click here

To order truckloads of Vienna’s product, click here

To find your nearest Vienna beef outlet, click here (coming soon)

To find an outlet on your iPhone, click here

To learn about opening a business featuring Vienna Products, click here

To buy spiffy Vienna Beef merchandise, click here

If you are planning on being in Chicago and want to take a tour, click here

To sign up or Hot Dog University and learn everything about going into the hot dog business, click here

Thanks, Vienna!  Happy 117th birthday!  May the next 117 years bring you more accolades and continued success!


Portland, OR – Wayne’s Chicago Red Hots


“Someone” dropped me an email last week saying I should visit Wayne’s; the mail probably came from an insider since it included a bevy of photos, as well. Some of the pix were really great, unfortunately, they have people in them, so I couldn’t use them w/o permission.

I like hearing from restaurants, actually, it gives me the impression that people have the impression that these posts actually account for something. (pause while the writer laughs hysterically).

But as a frequent reader, you know I love Chicago dogs and Chicago beef sandwiches, particularly from the godfather vendor of all such things, Vienna Beef Company in Chicago.

So I wondered over to Wayne’s to scarf down a Chicago beef, and a side of “Wrigley” fries (chili/cheese). I have noticed the place on the few occasions I drive up or down MLK. Usually the only time I am in that area is when Mrs. BDB is feeling nostalgic for the Big Easy and barks “I need Popeye’s Red Beans!” And the MLK Popeye’s is the closest (3 days drive) to our house in SW.

As I approached Wayne’s, I remembered one of the reasons I had not stopped by. Parking is dear in that neighborhood, tho I am not sure why. Be prepared to either get lucky and get a spor right away, or circle the block a few times, if you are not arriving by Tri-Met.

I walked in shortly after opening, placed my order and waited. And waited. And waited. About 25 minutes. My guess at first was that employees don’t arrive with ample time before opening, but in fact, my food was delivered shortly after I saw a guy leave with a huge take out order. Inked up girl behind the counter, you could have politely told me “it’ll be awhile,” and I would have been happier.

The beef sandwich comes w/ your choice of any or all of the following: grilled onions, sweet peppers, mozzarella cheese, or giardiniera. I passed on all, preferring the taste of the beef all on its own. Inked up counter girl did ask me if I wanted it “wet or dry,” and that’s a nice Chicagoism. I went with wet, meaning the roll was dipped in the au jus prior to assembly. One other nice touch I liked was there was a pool of jus in the bottom of the paper tray, with the sandwich split in half and perched vertically. So I had a juicy end to bite into, or a little extra for dipping, if that was my want. It was.

The sandwich was as good as any – from an authorized Vienna vendor, and it had some subtle differences between it and the same sandwich served by Chicago Windy City Hot Dogs in SW Portland.

I won’t compare either to Michael’s Italian Beef, which is good for what it is, he cooks his own beef, which he says is “better than any in Chicago,” but for me, that’s kind of like saying “Wow, that Frank Sinatra Jr concert was amazing! It was just like listening to his old man!” And then there’s that old personality thing, which I won’t get into.

Subtle differences – only a persnickety guy like me would care about. Chicago’s sandwich is slightly bigger than Wayne’s; the rolls at both places are great, but Wayne’s has a definite edge, it’s very reminiscent of Leidenheimer”s bread in New Orleans, which is arguably the best sandwich roll outside of any Francophone country.

It would appear to me that Wayne warms his beef in the au jus either longer than Chicago Windy does, or at a hotter temperature, which produces a slight variation in the texture That’s neither good or bad, just depends on your personal taste.

I didn’t have fries at Chicago Windy, the chili cheese fries at Wayne’s are pretty darned good. I assume the chili is from Vienna as well, and the shredded cheese, well that could have been anybody’s from anywhere. Serves the purpose. The fries themselves were hot, crisp, slightly thicker than shoestrings, and had a little peel on them. Nice.

About “snap.” I read a couple of other reviews after I wrote mine, initially, one guy was griping about the dogs didn’t have “snap.” He must have had a Vienna natural casing in Chicago, which they also make. I prefer them, too. But less than 4% of the hot dogs sold in the US are natural casing dogs. Wayne’s is smart to go with Vienna skinless, which will appeal to the largest number of people.

The decor is pure Chicago, sports jerseys, photos, memorabilia. Some very nice b/w pix taken by the owner himself. Or hisself, as they would say on da nort side of Chicago. I loved looking at these photos. Especially the one of the Billy Goat! (Chicagoans will understand the reference, all other think John Belushi and cheezbooger bit.)

If you’re from Remulak and hungry for mass quantities, Wayne’s will sell you 30 dogs, buns, and condiments for $105. That’s a weekend of grazing for me, but you might like it for a party. He also has a little Vienna adorned cart for rent (see below).

I’ll be back. Wayne’s has apparently been spawned from a hot dog cart somewhere north of the Columbia River, which in turn became a story in Warren, wherever that is. Not sure if this is location #2 or replaced Warren.

Menu online, don’t judge Wayne’s by their website, tho! Menu.  The good news?  No matter which side of the river I am on, I can get a Chicago dog or beef!

View Larger Map

Wayne's Chicago Red Hots on Urbanspoon


Portland, OR – Chicago’s Windy City Hot Dogs


There’s a new Chicago hot dog in town, and it’s a real “wiener!” (Oh, I know, “groan.”). Chicago hot dogs aren’t all that easy to come by in Portland, and Chicago Italian Beef & Sausage combo sandwiches are even rarer. Yes, there is that place across the river run by that cantankerous old coot, but the differences are elementary. Windy City buys all their product from Vienna Beef, the preeminent Chicago vendor, and the “other guy” makes his own.

One could argue the advantage of either method, but if you’ve been to Chicago, or lived there twice, like I have, you get a craving for the “real thing”, and Windy City fills the bill, seemingly ordering all of their provisions (and decorations) from Vienna.

Windy City’s menu (below) covers the full range of Chicago style foods, from the loaded up Vienna hot dog (mustard, relish, chopped onion, tomato, pickle, sport peppers, celery salt on a poppy seed bun), to Italian Beef (with giardiniera or sweet peppers), the Maxwell Street Polish, and sides like cheese fries or chili cheese fries.

Windy City also has burgers on the menu, I’ll have to get back there to sample those, and I’m interested in chowing down on the “Rush Street Lunch”, chili cheese fries topped with a chopped polish and bacon.

Kid’s menu, a couple of beers, and meatball and pastrami sandwiches to boot!

Both the dog and the combo were spot on, exactly as one would experience in Chicago. For my money, (and that’s all that counts with me), Windy City’s Italian Beef is better than the other guys, because it is the familiar Vienna texture and seasoning.

Windy City is at 8680 SW Canyon Rd., call 208-3031 if you’re inclined to place your order ahead of time, or for carry out. Open 11-7 six days.

If you’re so inclined to order Vienna products by the dozen, to party at home, you can buy direct from the manufacturer.

View Larger Map

Windy City Hot Dogs on Urbanspoon


"Hat Up" for Hot Dogs!


Reducing my inventory of dog and burger merchandise, you need these Vienna Beef paper hats for your summer cookouts!   Get 3 for $5 plus a buck for shipping.  Mailed by USPS same day as your order!  One size fits most.  Secure purchase thru PayPal.

Vienna Beef Hats

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