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The Best Hot Dog in Oak Lawn: You Decide

Help us decide who makes the best hot dog in the Oak Lawn area.

It’s time for another Chowdown Showdown, our new weekly feature that will not only give you great ideas on where to eat, but will allow you to tell everyone why your favorite restaurant is the best. 

The Chowdown Showdown pits Palos, Evergreen Park and Oak Lawn restaurants against each other to decide who makes a particular dish best. Before the competition starts, we need your ideas on who our Oak Lawn representative should be. 

READ: 'Battle of the Pops: Best Gyros Around

This week's showdown features that all-American favorite—the hotdog! I want you to tell me who makes the best weiner in town--Fatso's, Pluto's, somewhere else?  The winner then will go on to face the best of Palos and Evergreen.

How to Vote

There are three ways to vote for your favorite.

  1. Leave a comment on this article and tell us your pick and why you think they are the best. 
  2. Find your pick in our Oak Lawn Places Directory and leave a review and tell the world just how good their hot dogs are. 
  3. Go to the Oak Lawn Facebook Page and tell us your pick. 

Get your votes in by Monday at 10 a.m. We will announce the winner and share the results of our taste test on Wednesday.

That's Not All . . .

The Oak Lawn Places Directory allows you to leave reviews of your all your favorite place in town. From auto shops to eye doctors, hot dog stands to churches, find them in the directory and tell everyone why they are great.  

Start Reviewing and Rating

About this column: Every week we poll our readers and taste test their choices to pick the best dishes in Oak Lawn, Palos and Evergreen Park.

Todd Loizzo February 17, 2012 at 02:45 PM
Smilin' Clydes Hot Dog Stand....out of Oak Lawn. Best hot dogs in town, by far!!
Colleen Sylvester February 17, 2012 at 03:04 PM
Portillos! Great flavor dog...Chicago dog is of course best. They definitely don't skimp on the toppings! Mmm....
Debbie Simonson February 17, 2012 at 03:50 PM
Smilin' Clydes by far are the best hot dogs around!!!! Absolutely amazing....I'm salivating thinking about it! Delicious!
Colleen February 17, 2012 at 03:57 PM
JR's hotdogs!
John Quinn Mucker February 17, 2012 at 03:59 PM
I'm with Todd - Smilen' Clyde's Service with a smile and a lot of snappy patter. The Dog's so good it makes you want to ........have another! Quinn
Pat F February 17, 2012 at 04:39 PM
MC Boppers on SW Hwy have the best old style fashion Hot Dogs!! Delicious and always Fresh! Not like most places where the buns are rock hard stale by the time you reach home! Willing to be fair..Where is Clydes at??
OLMom February 17, 2012 at 05:10 PM
Love Jr's!!
Jennifer February 17, 2012 at 07:28 PM
Hands down...Smilin' Clydes!!! THE BEST!!!
Mary Ward February 17, 2012 at 08:37 PM
Jr's Cheese dogs.... good fries too.
OakLawnGuy February 17, 2012 at 10:12 PM
OK, I'll bite. Where's Smilin' Clyde's? Wasn't that the proposed name of the wagon that the former OLCHS baseball coach was going to open last spring?
Pat F February 17, 2012 at 10:51 PM
I asked way back at the beginning of this where Smilin' Clydes is located?? I love hot dogs and said I'd give them a shot but no one knows where it is?? Somebody who knows tell us hot dog lovers..I'm game.......
Nooks February 18, 2012 at 01:42 AM
Smilin Clyde's! Best by far!!
Lorraine Swanson (Editor) February 18, 2012 at 01:46 AM
For those not familiar with Smilin' Clyde Anhalt, Clyde has a wiener wagon and makes a darn good Chicago-style, steamed hot dog. Read the story we did on him last summer. http://oaklawn.patch.com/articles/when-life-throws-a-curveball-sell-hot-dogs
Dave W. February 18, 2012 at 07:32 AM
Portillo's is the best...they are a chain, but a local, or regional chain at most...I'll look for Smilin' Clyde's, but if you disqualify Portillo's, the same should have gone for Durbin's, which also has mulitple locations. Fatso's and Pluto's are decent, but they are overpriced for what they give and are not vastly different in brands (Vienna, David Berg, Chicago's Best), which are all very good, but clearly not setting themselves apart with trimmings or preparation. I've (sadly? luckily?) eaten at probably every hot dog joint in the Southwest Side. Uncle Sam's would get my vote if you count places you can throw a rock to FROM Oak Lawn...
Ron Breier February 18, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Smilin' Clydes !! The best...I hope to see him at fall on the green, O.L. car show and at the baseball field etc. I hope the village will quit the B.S. and give him the ok!! We need small vendors to make living in Oak Lawn fun!!
Pat F February 18, 2012 at 06:45 PM
Well, keep us informed on Smilin' Clydes and let me know when he sets up.. The best hot dogs come from these carts! Still remember the best part of going to a White Sox game was my dad stopping at these carts on the ride home and getting the dogs and a tamale.. Best around always!!
Bruce McIntyre February 18, 2012 at 07:32 PM
We regularly fly into Chicago from Mesa Arizona , we can't wait to have some Smilin Clydes Hot Dogs. Once you 've tried one, you know why its called Smilin Clydes!! They are the best!!!
Lorraine Swanson (Editor) February 18, 2012 at 08:52 PM
I agree with you about Durbin's. That wasn't my gig. And I will go out and throw a rock and hit Uncle Sam's.
Lorraine Swanson (Editor) February 18, 2012 at 08:53 PM
The White Sox always had -- and still have -- the best ballpark food anywhere. The smokey links are incredible.
Pat F February 18, 2012 at 09:07 PM
The Sox do have good food, but I was talking about the neighborhood guy with the cart out on the corners selling dogs..
Dave W. February 19, 2012 at 07:23 PM
Hot dogs are a tricky thing in that there are really only so many ways to make them (heat-wise), and so VERY many ways to finish them (condiment-wise). Also, I do believe value enters into it a bit as well...at some point, it just becomes too much for a hot dog and fries when I can make a whole package for the family in what it costs for my lunch. Because hot dogs are a staple of fast food, we are really only paying them to make it, not serve it, refill my drink, bus a table...many of us know what it costs to buy everything we would put on one at home at a probably higher, non-wholesale price from the grocery store...so while I do love a good hot dog (or Polish, mmmm!), it needs to be of good value, or otherwise it ends up being a treat, not something we can do regularly...which isn't good for the hot dog joint in the long run.
Lorraine Swanson (Editor) February 19, 2012 at 08:43 PM
Have you ever tried steaming hot dogs and buns in a vegetable steamer? Add the condiments (chopped onions, tomato, celery salt) and mustard, it tastes just like the ball park.
Kim Kowalski February 20, 2012 at 01:12 PM
My vote is for Smilin Clyde's! They are the best by far that I have ever eaten. Hope to see him at the fests and ball fields this year!
OL Resident February 20, 2012 at 03:10 PM
Yes I have and it comes close. Better than most. Portillos for Hot dogs, hands down. they dont boil their dogs to death before they serve it. It also comes on a poppy seed bun from Rosens Bakery..nothing comes close. Dick Portillo is an local product and an Argo HS grad. It is as much a family owned business as any mentioned above. It is successful thanks to decades of making darn good dogs.
anita garrison February 21, 2012 at 07:47 PM
Portillo's, hands down! Just the right "bite" to the dog, and plenty of good condiments.
Steve Neuhaus June 06, 2013 at 09:31 PM
I haven't tried Clyde's yet but I look forward to it this coming week at the Oak Lawn farmers market. I grew up near 83rd and Western so my fave has always been Fat Johnnies Red Hots on 72nd and Western. Johnnie has been there for 40 years now.


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