Regional dogs

There are few foods that permeate our culture the way hot dogs do. No matter where you are around the country, there’s a hot dog for you, with different flavors and toppings — whether it be cool and creamy coleslaw, hot and spicy chili, just a squirt of mustard or dragged through the garden Chicago style. Each regional hot dog has a unique history and neighborhood hot dog joints are part of the fabric of our communities all over the country.

One good example is Chicago, one of those special cities where neighborhood hot dog restaurants define communities. Hot dogs were brought there by German and Austrian immigrants who helped develop the Chicago dog into its own distinct style. During the hard times of the depression, vendors added more toppings to the dogs to attract more buyers and the top-heavy wiener became the Windy City’s signature food.

Now and then

Today hot dogs remain as popular as ever. Americans eat 20 billion of them per year with more than a third of those being consumed during the summer grilling season between Memorial Day and Labor Day. There’s a great reason why we celebrate our nation’s independence and National Hot Dog Month in July: the two go hand in hand.

"There are few foods that permeate our culture the way hot dogs do."

While there was once a time you couldn’t get a Chicago Dog outside of the Midwest, today restaurants are serving them up all over the country. In supermarkets, you’re not just limited to a few regional brands — you can get hot dogs of just about any style and taste that you prefer.

What will likely never change, though, is that experience of enjoying a hot dog. Whether it’s at a backyard barbecue with family and friends, enjoying a ballgame or grabbing a quick bite on the street, hot dogs are guaranteed to satisfy and bring a smile to your face. Here’s to lots of smiles throughout July’s National Hot Dog Month and beyond.