319 Madison St, Beaver Dam, WI 53916 - 920-887-2550
Open Mon-Sat 10:30 am-8:00 pm, closed Sunday
Date: 06-02-07 & 07-22-06
Update July 2010: Unfortunately, Windy City has closed it's doors. A definite loss.
We have to admit that we were a little skeptical about finding the perfect dog in Beaver Dam, WI. The Conlon family grew up enjoying the food of Chicago's finest hot dog stands and wanted to one day open their own restaurant. That day came this past Memorial Day weekend, when Windy City opened its doors and the Conlon's shared their passion for Chicago's finest with Beaver Dam.
As we pulled into the parking lot we knew this was going to be a special place. The building is small and unassuming, but Vienna signage is in plain sight on both the exterior and interior of the building. Seating is limited on the inside, but you can always enjoy your dog at one of the outside tables. Windy City is family owned and operated and we were immediately greeted by the Staff (Larry, Jamie, and Michael). We noticed a hot dog mascot near the counter. Mitch and I couldn't get past the fact that the "hot dog man" was defacing himself with ketchup, so we had to bring this to the staff's attention. We were assured that they were just as concerned and were busily brain-storming on how to deal with that issue. We later found out that the un-named little guy used to be on the roof, but after a failed kidnapping attempt, they decided to keep him indoors.
Windy City oozes the atmosphere found in a typical Chicago hot dog stand. We love the fact that the staff was so friendly and value the connection with their customers. We ordered two Chicago Dog meals along with a couple of kids dog meals for the boys (we decided to bring some backup). Clearly Windy City Chicago Dogs are catching on. We were excited to hear some locals order a "Chicago Dog with the works".
When our Chicago dogs arrived, they looked fantastic. The first thing that caught our eye was the gleaming red ripe tomato wedges and the huge pickle spear. In our opinion, presentation is often just as important as taste. These dogs were created by someone who definitely knows what a Chicago Dog should be.
Windy city uses skinless Vienna dogs and they were done to perfection. The poppy seed buns were from a local bakery and were nice and airy and held up extremely well (the kids meals are served on a plain bun). The large pickle spear was excellent. It was big enough to span the entire length of the dog and had the perfect taste and crunch. Sam, our "pickle expert" remarked that it was one of the best pickles he ever had. The neon green relish was great and the onions were finely chopped. The two tomato wedges were just the right size and two sport peppers (with a little kick) rounded out the dog nicely. Our dogs were a little light on the celery salt.
The kids really liked their hot dogs and almost polished theirs off before Mitch and I could even get started. Sam thought his Chicago Dog was excellent and Ben said that his was "Yummy".
The Windy City Chicago dog passed the ultimate Mitch and Kevin test since we couldn't stop thinking about having another while we were only a couple of bites into our first. We were also stopped cold by the fries. These are some of the best fries we ever had. They have a light batter and the seasoning puts them over the top. Our resident "fry experts" (i.e. the kids) agreed and added that the fries were the best they ever had.
Overall, Windy City has one of the best dogs we've reviewed to date. They are currently only the second establishment that passed our authenticity requirement for all ingredients. The Chicago Dog meal runs $3.95 and includes a dog, fries, and a drink, while a Chi dog and fries goes for $3.25. A "southside" version is also available. Windy City serves all the Chicago classics but considers the Italian Beef to be their signature sandwich. We'd love to see a char dog added to the menu and would like them to open a store in Madison (hint, hint). Anyway, we highly recommend Windy City and can't wait to try one of their Italian Beefs or Gyros on our next trip.