Hot dog joints are scattered throughout Chicagoland. Most have the same six or seven toppings, but the Tasty Pup goes a few steps further, adding lettuce and cucumbers to the usual suspects of mustard, relish and onions.
Beef is in abundance at the tiny-yet-inviting Tasty Pup in downtown Park Ridge. The fast food joint has been serving locals of all ages for years, trying to duplicate that Chicago dog experience in the northwest suburbs.
"It's known for the hot dogs, our gyros. We put a lot of vegetables on the hot dogs. We load them up with lettuce, tomato, cucumbers, pickles, hot peppers, mustard, relish. A lot of people order it and ask us to drag it through the garden," said Luis and Pamela Del Valle, owners of Tasty Pup.
The same condiments can be found on the burgers, but the namesake all-beef Viennas seem to garner most of the attention, due to the fact they're overloaded with condiments.
"It's more appealing. It looks better. It looks like a garden on a bun which is what we are trying to do," Del Valle said.
Italian sausage has a slight hint of heat - it's grilled with nice texture. Gyros are sliced from the spit and finished on the grill before landing on top of pita, coated in creamy tzatziki. A healthier pita includes grilled chicken.
For dessert there's multi-colored soft-serve
"It's called flavor burst. The kids love it because it comes in different colors. Blue goo is the cotton candy, and the strawberry, and the mocha cappuccino, and the parents love the pina colada flavor," says Del Valle.
Tasty Pup is certainly not alone in the world of Chicago-style dog-and-beef joints. There's also Susie's on the Northwest Side, and down in Bridgeview on South Harlem Avenue, Duke's Drive-In.
49 Summit Ave., Park Ridge
8115 S. Harlem Ave., Bridgeview
4126 W. Montrose Ave.