CHICAGO — When WGN News Now asked where is Chicago’s best hot dog, we received hundreds of responses, recommending more than 80 locations. After narrowing it down and putting it to a vote, you decided Fat Johnnie’s Hot Dogs is among the most delicious dogs in the city.
If you didn’t know what you were looking for, you might miss it. But because of what they do, there are few that ever do.
Inside a trailer not far from the corner of 73rd and Western is one of Chicago’s more celebrated hot dog stands that’s been serving people for the last 50 years.
“Fat Johnnie’s” was the idea of longtime resident John Pawlikowski and on May 12, 1972 he opened up the trailer to serve mainly hot dogs and polish sausages to customers through a window out to the sidewalk facing Western.
“Nice and cozy,” said longtime employee Roc Sahoury of Fat Johnnie’s. “All we’ve got is dogs, polishs, chilie, tamales. We don’t have a real huge selection. All our products, all our selections, everybody loves them.”
Proof that comes from the places which Sahoury and others hear where people have traveled from to get a taste of their food. Many have traveled from around the city to the Chicago Lawn neighborhood staple and recently it included a guest from abroad.
“I had a customer last week from Sweden. He’s been waiting to come up here for five years to have a Fat Johnnie’s hot dog,” said Sahoury. “We get people from all over the place.”
While the classics remain the staples of the place, they do have a few creative twists on a few of them, including a unique combination of two of their main offerings.
The “Mighty Dog” is a mixture of a tamale and a hot dog featuring chili, cheese, along with the traditional fixings of a hot dog.
Larry Hawley paid a visit to Fat Johnnie’s to see what it’s all about, and you can see more in the video above.
Their cheese dogs are the best, but honestly I can eat the whole menu. There isn’t one thing that is bad there.Robert L.
It’s old school Chicago style establishment, genuine Chicago style hot dog, affordable price, and great experience. Anyone and everyone can share a meal at Fat Johnnie’s. A great Southwest Side tradition.Patrick A.
They are open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and closed Sunday.
Be sure to also check out our previous poll on where Chicago’s best taco is located!