From coast to coast, a Chicago Style Hot Dog has to be made with Vienna Beef.

You read that correctly. From coast to coast, a Chicago Style Dog must be made with Vienna Beef. 

So far, I’ve asked three friends to name a place in their area that uses Vienna Beef to make Chicago Style Hot Dogs. 

A friend in Orlando, Florida told us about a place called Hot Dog Heaven, and from the results of a simple google search we found locations in Amherst, Ohio and Buffalo, Ney York. It’s looking more like a good Vienna all-beef hot dog is the best way to go. 

Our friends on the West Coast, San Diego to be exact, let us know about a place called Lefty’s Chicago Pizzeria who also serves a Chicago Style Hot Dog on their menu

Before you even get into California, depending the route you take, you can even get Chicago Style Hot Dogs at a place called a Taste of Chicago Restaurant and Tavern in Reno, Nevada. 

There’s a unique taste about a hot dog made in the style of Chicago. It’s a taste transplants crave, a taste tourists from Chicago find comforting, and it’s a taste you locals will come to enjoy. 

Hot dogs have been known to bring people together, after all, they’re as America as apple pie and baseball. And Vienna Beef has been proven to be the best there is when making a yummy Chicago Style Hot Dog. 

If you have a favorite place and want to share with us, just drop us a comment and send a few pictures. 

Finally, a decently located local distributor.

From the minute we decided to take this journey we’ve been on a hunt. 

A hunt across many websites and google searches looking for a place to get the best possible products for Mack Dawg’s Chicago Style Hot Dogs. 

Now, as you’ve probably read, I grew up in the Chicagoland area and the absolute best is a Vienna Beef hot dog. 

Chicago Style Hot Dog

Look, there are hot dog stands spread throughout the city of Chicago and, sadly, not all of them use the best dog. 

One of my favorite joints was just down the street. It was a place opened by a Greek man in an old stand alone Tastee Freeze. He offered a 3 dog and fries special. He gave a lunch sack full of fries and used generic dogs probably loaded with fillers. But, the price was right. 

We began looking online for Vienna beef and could find them in Amazon, but the price with added shipping wouldn’t make their use feasible. 

Had we lived in a suburb just outside of Chicago, we could have obtained them in bulk for a decent price at Sam’s Club, but alas, we’re bringing Chicago Style Hot Dogs to Chatham, IL, a quaint suburb of Springfield in Central Illinois. 

We then went to the nearest wholesale food distributor and inquired about the brand of all-beef hot dog they carry, and soon learned it wasn’t Vienna beef. 

While driving in town one day, I noticed a place known as Country Market and found they sell eight packs of the beloved frank made in Chicago, but, again, the price was not feasible. 

Thankfully, I decided to ask the woman working the register if they order the dogs from the Vienna Beef website. 

“No,” she said, “we get them from a place in Decatur, Illinois.” 

At last, we may have found a decently located local distributor. A short fifty minute drive later and we soon learned we can get every item we need from food stuffs to paper stuffs, and crap to clean any messes we make. 

And with a minimum $200.00 order, they’ll deliver. 

Amazon is amazing, but we may have found a better way!

If there’s ever anything you need, in this day and age, you’re probably like me and head straight to Amazon. 

Heck, my wife has one clip shopping set up with her account and after much discussion least Thursday, she busted out the phone and made a decision.  More on that in a minute. 

We received some grief over a recent Facebook post in which we used a photo of generic bulk relish from GFS (Gordon Food Service). I know the ribbing was in jest and it was just Friends giving me the business, but it definitely got the wheels turning. 

My business partner (my wife) and I decided to do some basic math and felt we could easily use the neon green relish every time we build a Chicago Style Hot Dog. 

So, we headed straight to Amazon a placed an order. 

We grabbed a jar of neon green relish and a jar of sport peppers distributed by Vienna Beef in Chicago. 

Growing up where I did, I just couldn’t see using anything else. The photo from GFS was really just a research and pricing photo. In fact, we are probably going to introduce neon green relish to every dog we sell, whether it’s made Chicago Style or not. It’s our way of branding Mack Dawg’s here in Chatham and Central Illinois. 

We love Amazon, but sometimes you have to pay more for less and that’s why we were a little hesitant to get our inventory from them. 

We bit the bullet this time, but we may have found a better way and a distributor a whole heck of a lot closer than driving my happy butt up to Chicago. 

Now, the Vienna Beef dogs are a little different story and, I promise, if you stay tuned, we’ll tell you our story about that. 

It’s Countdown Time.

Thursday was the day. The one day in the last two and a half months that would determine where we stood. 

Would we be back to the drawing board? Would we begin (really continue) our journey and move on to the next step. 

We pulled into the large parking lot at the Sangamon County Public Health building and began our setup for our first qualifying inspection. 

Before we could even unload anything from the truck we were asked if we were serving food. Once the guy realized we weren’t, he still had to have a look at the cart and actually asked if I could build him one and what I would charge him. It was looking to be a good day. 

I had agonized over last minute details the day before. I was making sure things worked properly. I really wanted to pass that inspection and move forward in our journey. 

We got it set up and I went in to summon the inspector I had been in contact with over the last two months. He came out and went to work. 

We are proud to say we passed the inspection and submitted our payment and application for the food service license. 

We are now ready to move on to the next phase of the plan. Finding a location. 

We will continue working behind the scenes to finalize a few other aspects of the business and will keep our customers informed as we go. 

It’s looking, once again, the we can expect an August 1, 2017

Stay tuned! 

Houston, We have Hot Water!

Finally, the soft rapid click of a heater trying to ignite sent my heart racing. I had only turned on the pump and hadn’t even ventured the three steps needed to open the hot water tap and I was hearing a heater trying to ignite with only 1.0 gallon per minute water flow.

I quickly turned the hot water tap open and stuck my hand under the faucet. I felt the hot water slowly rising in temperature before I had lost a single gallon of water from my fresh water tank. Success!

Thankfully it appears as if it was definitely too big a heater I purchased on the go around. This little lesson has taught me a few things. While entertaining an idea in which you have some creative license, you should not always apply said license; it may just cost you a few extra dollars and some time.

The heater arrived late Monday evening and I was all set for an early Tuesday morning installing it. It being the fourth and all, I had to hurry. I steadily took my time while hurrying to get this thing installed and tested. The moment of truth had arrived and as I already mentioned, we had heat. Whew! One big mistake down. Bring on the next one.

I relish the opportunity to make mistakes, as I am a big learner from those mistakes made.

Stay tuned and we will keep you posted when we have the cart inspected by the health department.


Well, it’s funny now!

I guess I can look at it now and laugh. It’s not a hearty, full-belly laugh yet. And until the problem is actually fixed it’s still more of a small haha chuckle. 

Last weekend we were all set to test every major function of the cart. We had everything ready to go for this major milestone, or so we thought. 

When I was ready to purchase the hot water tank, the recommended tank was out of stock; I bought what I thought was a comparable tank. 

The tank promptly arrived and I was more pleased than ever since this heater was silver and it matched the cart perfectly. 

Here, see for yourself…

That’s the heater on the front of the cart. Looks great, doesn’t it? 

So, back to last weekend and our big test. I first filled the fresh water tank, and I connected the propane regulator to the heater, and then to the propane tank and turned it on.  After installing two D cell batteries I was ready to fulfill the hot water requirement for the health inspector. 

I flipped the switch to the water supply after hooking up the 12v battery I will use for power. My wife flipped open the hot water tap for the sinks and within seconds we had a good water flow. Time for the heater to work it’s hot water magic. The heater will automatically ignite to provide the needed hot water once the water flows through. 

We should hear a few audible clicks and then the heater should light….nothing. We shut the water off and double check all the connections. We out en the hot water tap and try again, still no ignition and clod water running from the hot tap. Well, crap! 

I immediately bust out the instruction booklet and hand it to my wife. She pours through the troubleshooting section while I triple check all connections. We find out it needs a minimum 25 psi, from the water pump, to ignite.  We soon learn the pump I purchased only puts forth water at 20 psi. 

Now, it was that me to test the heater to see if it was the heater or water pump causing the issue. The instructions said to hook it up to the garden hose to see if it was, indeed, a pressure issue. 

The garden hose produced enough pressure to ignite the heater and, ahhhhhh-angels signing-we had hot water. We now knew it was the pump. 

A little mad but somewhat relieved, I head off to purchase a pump that’s rated a little higher in the psi department. I picked up a 12v 1.0 gallon per minute (GPM) pump that uses almost 30 psi to deliver water. 

About 15 minutes later I had the new pump installed and I was ready for hot water. At this point, I’m jacked up like I’m waiting on a gold strike. 

A spin of the hot water tap and we wait, and wait, and wait. Still no hot water. The frickin new pump, with a 30 psi, still would not ignite the water heater. Son of a b…… 

We soon found that not only does the heater need a pump that delivers of 25 psi, but this heater also needs a MINIMUM 2.5 GPM WATER FLOW. 

So, the new heater is on order and we’ve had to push back inspection until we make sure the new heater will work with a 1.0 GPM water pump. 
Stay tuned Murica, we will keep you posted. 

Welcome to Mack Dawg’s Chicago Style Hot dogs

Beginning late last summer and right into this early spring, we have been a family on the go. We have been living the fast paced lifestyle many of us with careers and children, or any combination of anything that causes you to live an on-the-go lifestyle, and I realized something was missing.

A great, fast dinner was missing from the equation. While we dutifully tried to prepare crock pot meals for our busy nights, we often found the need for a quick dinner. Now, our town has many big named fast food places, but let’s face it, these places aren’t really fast anymore and they aren’t always budget friendly. We’re a fa,ily of four and two are growing like weeds. We soon tired of waiting twenty minutes for food and either getting it home and eating or eating inside, we always wasted an hour or more depending on where we went.

I knew what was missing. I grew up in Chicago and there are always plenty of hot dog stands providing a quick, inexpensive meal. Our town needs a good hot dog to fuel its residents at an affordable price.

As of this posting, the journey is not even begun. The cart is coming along nicely despite the shed blood and tears. Once the cart has been completed it;s on to the county inspector to make sure everything meets codes.

Chicago Style Hot DogsMack Dawgs Chicago style hot dogsMack Dawgs Chicago style hot dogs

We are aiming for an August 1, 2017 grand opening with a location to be determined. The site will be updated regularly.

We are asking you to subscribe to receive grand opening updates via email and also get alerts for specials and celebrations.