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RATINGS
Food
Service
Value
Atmosphere

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CUISINES
Fast Food, American
Meals
Lunch
FEATURES
Takeout
Reviews (22)
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LanguageEnglish
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All reviews polish sausage tamales chicago style hot dogs chilli sandwich beef western avenue poppy seed bun sport peppers marquette park chicago area cucumber neighborhood cheese toppings
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Reviewed October 17, 2020

Fat Johnnie's Famous Red Hots in Chicago, not to be confused with Johnnie's Beef in Elmwood Park, has made a name for itself. Located at 7242 South Western Avenue, in Chicago's Marquette Park neighborhood, in a no-frills shack that offers takeout only, it has been...in business for more than 40 years. Why deep dish or Chicago-style hot dogs or Italian beef when you can have a unique Chicago creation, a Mother-in-Law sandwich? Instead of a hot dog on a bun, you get a corn roll tamale covered with chili. If you want more toppings, add tomatoes and cucumbers. But Fat Johnnie's is famous for its hot dogs. Like the Red Hot on a poppy seed bun with mustard, relish, onion, tomato and cucumber. Or the Mighty Dog, a hot dog with cheese sauce, chili sauce, cucumber slice, tamale, tomato, onion and sport peppers. Or the Mighty Polish, the highest priced item ($4) on the menu, a tamale with Polish sausage covered with chili, cheese and everything on top. Other hot dog stands in the hot dog-happy Chicago area may have fancier trappings and bigger reputations but nobody, repeat nobody, produces a tastier product than Fat Johnnie's, which is open from 11 to 5 Monday through Saturday.More

Date of visit: October 2020
Helpful?2  
Reviewed September 30, 2018 via mobile

Great place off the beaten path. Fantastic Chicago style hot dogs. Place has been there for years. No atmosphere on a busy street. The true Chicago dog.

Date of visit: September 2018
Helpful?2  
Reviewed June 3, 2018 via mobile

So I had a regular hotdog and 2 chili dogs with everything. I have had hotdogs all over the nation, so excuse me for saying I had a “regular hotdog” this was the furthest thing from regular. I enjoyed an exceptional hotdog and two awesome...Chile dogs. This dumpy looking trailer along a busy street in a very diverse area of chicago serves up the best hotdog I have ever had. I like Gene and Jude’s up north on river road and the Jimmy dog on Grand and Pulaski also up north, but they have nothing on what this guy serves up. Trust me, it’s exceptional!!More

Date of visit: June 2018
Helpful?1  
Reviewed November 7, 2017

If you like delicious and cheap South-Side Chicago dogs, this is your spot. They also have the iconic Mother-in-Law, which is a tamale on a bun and dressed up how you like it, and a variety of other great bun-related goodies. All delicious, all affordable,...all quick and easy. Just a stand, although I think there’s one picnic table in the vicinity. I think the neighborhood drunks more or less own it, though. It’s basically an eat-in-the-car kind of place. Love it.More

Date of visit: October 2017
Helpful?1  
Reviewed February 23, 2017

We had been going here since 1979 and really enjoyed the food but something happened after the mother died and the place has gone down hill ever since. The food taste the same but the place isn't very clean and the aprons are nasty looking....They give food and money with ungloved hands. I don't eat there anymore.More

Date of visit: March 2016
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Reviewed April 3, 2016

There are thousands of hot dog joints in the Chicago area, as plentiful as pizza and steak and barbecue. Ask 10 people to make a list of the top 10 hot dog joints in the city and suburbs and you might get 10 different answers....I've been to a lot of them but I had never been to Fat Johnnie's Famous Red Hots at 7242 South Western Avenue in the west Marquette Park neighborhood until I read an article in the Daily Meal that rated Johnnie's as the No. 1 hot dog joint in the United States. Well, if you've been to Johnnie's or driven past, you know it isn't the Taj Mahal of restaurants. You don't go to Johnnie's for the ambiance, you go for the hot dogs. No glitter, no reservations, no seating, no credit cards, no parking, no fries, no sport peppers. Just fast service and as-good-as-advertised hot dogs. I've driven down South Western Avenue for years (I grew up in Blue Island) and never noticed Johnnie's. When I mentioned the Daily Meal article to a friend who lives on the South Side, he said he was very familiar with the place. But he could understand why few people were aware of the tiny, ramshackle, white-paneled, old and weathered shack that is sandwiched between a Popeye's Chicken on one side and an empty lot and a used car dealership on the other. Bring cash and come hungry. Eat on the sidewalk or in your car or, if the weather is agreeable, on one of two picnic benches in the vacant lot. It's all about hot dogs...red hots, cheese dogs, chili dogs, Polish, chili Polish, double dogs, super dogs (Chicago-style hot dog with chili and cheese) and double cheese dogs. The Daily Meal singled out Johnnie's one-of-a-kind Mighty Dog as the No. 1 hot dog in the nation. It is a hot dog and tamale on a bun with chili and cheese. But Johnnie's touts its Mother-In-Law as its prize hot dog, a South Side original, a cornmeal tamale on a bun with chili. The Father-in-Law is the same plus cheese. And don't forget the Super Sundae, a bowl of tamales bathed in chili and covered with cheese, onions, pickled chiles and tomatoes. Wash it all down with a soft drink from the soda fountain...cola, fruit punch, lemonade, grape, strawberry, orange, root beer or 7-Up. The sign on the building says "Fit for a King." Well, that might be a slight exaggeration. But if you lo love hot dogs, you can't beat Fat Johnnie's.More

Date of visit: April 2016
Helpful?1  
Reviewed September 1, 2015

Looks like a dive you wouldn't take a second look at. Hours are short, closing at 5pm. That being said, the hot dogs are out of this world. Nothing else even comes close!!!! Quick service. You gotta taste for yourself. What's the worse case scenario,...you disagree and don't like them? For the price of a hotdog you can't go wrong. I have had dogs from dozens of places and Fat Johnnys the best.More

Date of visit: August 2015
Helpful?
Reviewed July 9, 2015 via mobile

Broken down trailer, no french fries, no sport pepper in the hot dog. No fries. Unsavory people working there as well. Cant believe they rate this place ao good. Never again

Date of visit: July 2015
Helpful?
Reviewed October 31, 2014

Havent been down ths way in a long time, but since Im in the area I had to stop for my usual ( tamale boat and a polish ) Great as usual have eaten at a few yard parties that they catered but nothing beats...the original spot on Western A must while in Chicagos Southwest sideMore

Date of visit: October 2014
Helpful?
Reviewed August 25, 2014

My daughter had heard about this location on one of the foodie television shows and it was one of the first things she wanted to do after her graduation ceremony from Naval Boot Camp. Talk about a hole in the wall place - don't blink...as you are driving by, or you could miss it. Never thought I would write a review about a hot dog. However, if you are in Chicago, you have to go to Fat Johnnies and get a dog from this stand. Simply put - Best Hot Dog Ever.More

Date of visit: August 2014
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