-In Chicago: Every Dog Has it's Day
Do you ever have those days when you just want both a hot dog and a Italian beef? But not just any old of each? Legit representations! Well if you do I got the spot for you as today we head to the Northwest suburbs. You can ride all the way along Irving Park Road which is quite the ride for finding many different offerings of ethnic cuisine as you cruise it for miles on end from the lake all the way west past O'Hare. Once you get to the village of Streamwood you'll come across a spot which I consider to be the best place to get a good juicy beef and hot dog together.
a locals favorite/Vienna Beef Hall of Fame member in Streamwood, IL
I randomly found Nana's one day a few years back when taking a summer roll down Irving Park Road. As I can remember it's colorful sign letting you know they do Italian beef and sausage as well as Vienna Beef Hot Dogs along with a packed parking lot had me inside in no time. They've been around Streamwood since it was a sleepy little community back in 1973. It says alot that there still there today because plenty of eating options exist today but Nana's remains King. Originally owned by the daughter of Gene (from Gene & Jude's) and now Mike DiSilvestro. They perfected the art of the Chicago style depression dog aka the Minimalist dog with fresh cut fries.
Mike who served our beloved country during Desert Storm added homemade Italian beef, grilled sausage, burgers, pizza and other items to the menu. Years and years of quality service to go with the authentic Chicago style eats and those hot dogs that remain the same as they ever were have this place a legend around its way. I love to stop in anytime I'm within 10-15 minutes of the area. Nana's offer's up a sweet combo deal that allows you to get one of their famous hot dogs as well as a mini beef and drink. You can go over to 'Beef With Hot' to check how their sandwich scored but I'll include here that their thinly sliced beef, which is homemade, is some of the best in Chicagoland and well worth the stop in for one.
Beef With Hot from Nana's (See how it scored HERE)
Then there's those dogs they do. Chicago is renowned as the best place anywhere for hot dog lovers such as myself and of course we got our own style, actually we got two. The Chicago style dog is a great, great creation but it's not the only way we make them here. My preferred style is the minimalist dog, which is what I grew up on eating Demon Dogs 5-7 times a week as a kid. The most famous place serving them these days is most likely Gene & Jude's in River Grove and as was already mentioned, Nana was Gene's daughter. So they got no problem making a classic version of "the other Chicago style hot dog". What makes this style so beloved by lifelong residents of the city is a combination of a couple of things.
The first and most important part for making a perfect rendition is the dog itself. It's gotta be a Vienna Beef natural casing wiener. These all beef beauty's pack a nice beefy bite with a snap to them when you chomp in. Then they top the minimalist style dog with mustard, relish, chopped onions and sport peppers and stuff it inside a regular steamed hot dog bun and top all that with the other important part, the fresh cut fries. When you visit these famous minimalist style stands you'll see the workers cutting potatoes in the machine seen up above which are then twice fried to perfection and loaded onto your dog, almost like a topping. It's always standard they're included with the price which should never be more than $3. I always leave a few fries on when eating the dog. This my friends, is classic Chicago. No other city does it better.
Nana's Hot Dog with fresh cut fries
The Original Nana's
1102 East Irving Park Road
Streamwood, IL 60107