Portillo’s, the Chicago hot dogger and beef sandwich chain currently in soft opening in the new O-Town West development, has been getting the attention of local frankfurter freaks. Even though the grand opening isn’t until the middle of June, people are waiting in line now just to get their wiener on. Portillo’s is next door to White Castle, which is also boasting long lines. I guess there’s just something exciting about a new chain in town.
But for those who don’t need their sausages to come with a corporate stamp, you can get a Windy City wienie at Chicago Dog & Co. in Altamonte Springs.
Frankly, frankfurters don’t do much for me, but I don’t ascribe any any Freudian facets to their aficionados. And the Chicago style dog I had at Chicago Dog & Co. provided some pleasant, if few, bites.
A Chicago style hot dog, sometimes called a red hot, features an all-beef sausage served in a steamed bun topped with poppy seeds. The bun gets a smear of yellow mustard and pickle spears, chopped onions, a tomato slice, relish and sport peppers somehow get crammed in. This is known in Midwestern parlance as dragging it through the garden. Celery salt gives it a final authentic dash. My peppers kept popping out of the bun – maybe that’s why they’re called sport peppers – but I liked all the flavors, and the hot dog, too, once I got down to it.
I also tried CD&C’s Italian beef slider, a smaller version of its beef sandwich. It featured thinly slice beef on a French roll with sweet peppers (the non-sporty type). The waxed paper it was wrapped in had a wonderful greasiness about it, but unfortunately the beef itself was pretty dry.
The coated fries were above average and I’ll wager they’re better than the crinkle cuts served at Portillo’s.
Chicago Dog & Co., which is owned by two sisters from Chicago (pronounced chi-CAW-go) is a walkup business. Order and pay for your food at the first window and pick it up at the second window when your name is called. The staff has a good system and it all moved quickly. Picnic style tables and umbrellas are available for dogging on site.
Chicago Dog & Co. is at 1113 W. State Road 436, Altamonte Springs (map). It is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday. The phone number is 407-335-4010.