Purchased at: Sonic
Cost: $1.99, $3.99 combo
Reviewed by: XAQuiri Daiquiri
I love hot dogs. I always have. However, I must admit that until I was about 16 years old or so, I looked at hot dogs as being on par with a bologna and cheese sandwich. Grab an Oscar Meyer wiener from the fridge, throw it in the microwave for 30 seconds or so, throw it on a bun, top with mustard and eat. While that most basic way of consuming a dog is unarguably delicious, I ultimately discovered how diverse hot dogs truly can be.
One of the most popular ways to serve and eat a hot dog, as well as my personal favorite, is Chicago-style, which commonly includes, but is not necessarily limited to, relish, onion, tomato, celery salt, a pickle wedge, a couple of peppers and mustard. Looking at that list of condiments and understanding that I love every succulent topping I just listed, it is easy to understand why I’m so fond of the Windy City’s hot dog. Even if I’m not fond of their pizza.
Sonic’s offered Chicago Dog contains all of the aforementioned toppings except for onions, making it a cookie-cutter rendition of a popular sandwich. That is not a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination, and in fact it would likely go against Sonic’s best interest to mix up the winning formula that has been accepted by a vast majority of Americans for so long. Underneath the condiments you’re going to find a 100% all-beef wiener and a poppy seed roll. Sounds pretty good, right?
It is hard to mess up a hot dog. In fact, it is nearly impossible if you stick to condiments that work well with the hot dog itself. Assuming you follow that one rule, the three things that can make a hot dog simply good or amazingly delightful are, easily enough, quality of the dog, quality of the roll, and quality of the condiments. If you put quality with quality with quality, you’re going to have an outstanding hot dog. However, it only takes one of those three things to be less than great to really hold your hot dog back, unless the other aspects of the hot dog can make up for it.
Sonic’s Chicago Dog has a very delicious wiener. 100% beef dogs are almost always great and present an appealing texture and a very flavorful link. It’s a little thin in diameter, but that is easily forgiven when you see how fully loaded the dog is. The poppy seed roll is also a pure treat. It is chewy and flavorful, and the poppy seed coating, while very messy, gives an extra boost of subtle flavor.
The Relish is sweet, the peppers are spicy, the pickle is sour and the tomato is cool, with the celery salt and mustard bringing everything together nicely. The flavors all work well, which is to be expected.
However, it is with the quality of the condiments where Sonic falters a bit with their Chicago Dog. My pickles was a bit dry, the relish was too wet, and the tomato was far from fresh. It’s really a shame that the toppings couldn’t be more fresh, as that would make this one truly spectacular fast food hot dog.
Does it Hit the Spot?
It most certainly does. Despite a few shortcomings with condiment freshness, Sonic’s Chicago Dog is still a great-tasting, fairly-priced menu item with a quality all-beef hot dog and a delicious poppy seed roll. For only $1.99, it is definitely a cheap treat that worth tasting. Add a drink and some tots for only two bucks more. While there are certainly better places to grab a more delicious, more authentic dog, Sonic serves one of the best Chicago Dogs fast food has to offer.