Off the Wall: A James Coney Island Chicago Dog
A James Coney Island dog.
Katharine Shilcutt's article on Sonic's version of a Chicago dog inspired many readers to weigh in on the American classic. Here's the ever-popular Fatty FatBastard, on what James Coney Island was serving up: "I keep telling you to go to James Coney Island for their Chicago dog. It is EXACTLY the same as one you'll get at any vendor in Chicago."
Perfect. I was in Chicago a few months back and just so happened to consume a Chicago dog from a typical local spot. I even took a picture. With the memory still fresh and my stomach empty, I headed to my nearest James Coney Island to see if Fatty was correct.
A real Chicago dog.
He was not. In fairness, I hate James Coney Island, and their take on a Chicago dog did nothing to change my opinion of the place. It certainly looked the part. But here's the difference. I devoured the real-deal Chicago Chicago dog. I didn't make it through half my James Coney Island one, probably because I was still thinking about that recent authentic experience.
JC's bread was a tad crunchy on the edges, the pickle didn't extend the length of the bun (sounds like a personal problem), the pieces of tomatoes were small, and the wiener just tasted strange (that's what she said). All the veggies were fresh and tasty. I guess it wasn't terrible, but I wouldn't eat it again. Hey, the dog was the best part of my combo meal. Those fries were tasteless, high-caloric sticks of nothingness. Wait, to be fair, I did enjoy my Diet Coke.
I thought Fatty was onto something when I first opened my box of food, but the look just didn't match the taste.
Get the Dining Newsletter
The week's top local food news and events, plus interviews with chefs and restaurant owners, dining tips, and a peek at our print review.