Tasty Dog: Oak Park's Favorite Wiener?

Mixed emotions about the namesake snack

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By David Hammond

Few other Oak Park restaurants have received so much love as Tasty Dog.

I remember when the threat of moving this beloved hot dog stand from the south to the north side of Lake Street brought out battalions of concerned families with signs and righteous fervor in what seemed at the time oddly placed social consciousness. Turns out, what was put up in place of the old Tasty Dog was a retail space that now has “For Lease” signs in the windows.

With some help from the Village, Tasty Dog moved across the street and seems to be doing well enough.

I’ve always had mixed emotions about the namesake snack at Tasty Dog.

In some ways, Tasty Dog’s version of the Chicago Hot Dog is a most virtuous rendition of this classic. With loads of veggies on top,  this menu selection seems almost like a healthy choice.

In other ways, the Tasty Dog epitomizes one very problematic aspect of this regional sandwich: it’s too damn big to fit in one’s mouth. There is so much vegetation on top that you can’t possibly get a little taste of all of it in one bite, so you end up eating what is essentially a small salad before you clear off the trimmings to get to the dog itself.

 The Vienna dog was pleasantly garlicky, though with no discernible “snap,”  one of the few criteria dog enthusiasts apply to their wieners of choice (not counting the foolishly self-righteous disdain of ketchup).

In Oak Park, our hot dog choices are relatively limited, but even if we had a few more dog stands, it’s likely Tasty Dog would remain the top choice because it’s near the high school, it has a history, and it seems a part of many Oak Park lives.

It hardly has to be good. Fortunately, it ain’t bad.

 

 

Reader Comments

5 Comments - Add Your Comment

Comment Policy

David Hammond from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: December 7th, 2011 6:14 PM

Drum Roll Please, if you like this joke, you should hear how it's delivered by the OD'd-then-revived wife of Marcellus Wallace in "Pulp Fiction." It earned a bemused snort from Vince Vega.

not so tasty from oak park  

Posted: December 7th, 2011 4:59 PM

I have visted Tasty Dog 3 times and have been disappointed each time. Their version of a Chicago dog is sad. Drive a few miles north to Harlem and Armtage to Dog Day Afternoon and sample a dog that snaps when you bite into it. This guy operates in an old trailor and didn't need or want any taxpayer help.

elaine abbinante from North Riverside  

Posted: December 7th, 2011 4:58 PM

Whenever I'm in OP, a trip to Tasty Dog is a must. Great dogs and other stuff

Tasty dog fan  

Posted: December 7th, 2011 4:37 PM

What do you mean "it ain't bad"? It's darn good - and we've been eating them for over 15 years.

Drum Roll Please......  

Posted: December 6th, 2011 10:01 PM

%u2022Three tomatoes are walking down the street -- a poppa tomato, a momma tomato, and a little baby tomato. Baby tomato starts lagging behind. Poppa tomato gets angry, goes over to the baby tomato, and squishes him... and says, 'Ketchup.'

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