Neighborhood Eats

My favorite place to eat in my neighborhood is called Pie Eyed Pizza. It's right by the blue line train stop, and is open til midnight (all night on weekends) serving slices. The deep dish is fantastic, but I normally just go in for the slices, which are thin, but among the best in town. It's nice to go in in the middle of the night for cheap, world-class pizza and, usually, interesting conversation with the other nighthawks.

Today, I noticed that they'd installed a new, three level thing to house the slices, which freed up several feet of space on the counter.

"What'll you do with all the extra space?" I asked.

"We're expanding the menu," said the owner, "to have hot dogs and stuff."

"Are they going to be proper hot dogs?" I asked.

"Oh, yeah," he replied. "Chicago style."

"Without the..." I began.

"Oh, no ketchup," he said, knowing where I was going. "We'll have it in the store,but we won't put it on for you. If people want it, they'll have to put it on themselves."

Folks, I was in heaven. This is just the way it's supposed to be. The Chicago hot dog is a delicacy, believe it or not - a bright red dog with a bit of snap and spice to it on a poppy seed bun, topped with mustard, onions, tomato wedges, bright green relish, a couple of sport peppers, a pickle spear and celery salt. Ketchup is considered a condiment for kids. Making the customer add it themselves - or just not having it at all - is the hallmark of a proper Chicago hot dog joint, and is a sure sign that when Pie Eyed adds hot dogs, they're going to do it right.

Man, I love my neighborhood.

Edit in 2010: Not only did they do the hot dogs right, but they added Italian Beef, too - that's a sandwich native to Chicago that is like a french dip that comes pre-dipped, often served with peppers and/or cheese. The one at Pie Eyed is one of the best in town.

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Adam's New Book: Sept 2013