73: The Prairie Dog at Prairie Dogs


Yeah, okay, the best dog in town is subjective. But most would agree that the best ingredients (along with the best execution) would be a definitive factor in determining the creme de la creme of any dish.

See also: 74: Icehouse's Sipping Shots

Tobie Nidetz agrees. As owner of Prairie Dogs Hot Dogs & Handcrafted Sausages he has developed his signature Chicago-style red hot, the Prairie Dog, using a plus-sized, all-beef Vienna dog for a "meatier, juicer" product. Since the frank is larger than standard Chicago-style buns, Nidetz paired with local Denny's 5th Avenue Bakery to create the custom-sized bun cradling the uniquely large wiener.

The family-owned and -operated Denny's uses eggs, sugar, and shortening for..."a lot of flavor." The custard-hued dough brings together additional liquid (egg whites) and fat-based ingredients (egg yolks) for a rich and supple finish. To top it off, each bun is steamed to order.

There are many primo options at Prairie Dogs, but our favorite is the Prairie Dog for its familiar Chicago flavors: all the trimmings (mustard, onion, neon relish, tomato, sport peppers, pickle, celery salt) served on that perfect steamed poppy seed bun.

After testing the concept with nearly 10 pop-ups in the past year, Prairie Dogs will be opening its first brick-and-mortar space (formerly occupied by the Gray House). All in-house sausages and charcuterie will be locally sourced and prepared by chef/co-owner Craig Johnson.

Nidetz expects to open Prairie Dogs soon after January 1. Wine and local craft beer will be available as soon as licensing is pulled.

"I've always wanted to do something unique and original with a concept," says Nidetz. "I think it's the perfect location...and this will let my business partner, Craig, stretch his creativity with sausages and charcuterie."

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