Don’t Mess with the Wiener

Between the Cubs and the White Sox, it’s hard not to get swept up in baseball mania here in Chicago. But forget about soaking in the sun at a day game at Wrigley Field or dodging flying beer cups in the bleacher seats at Cellular Field, baseball season is all about the hot dogs.



From a juicy Vienna Beef to a meatless veggie dog at the Cell, Chicagoans enjoy slathering their savory goodness with mustard, onion, sweet pickle relish (usually a dyed neon green variety called “Nuclear Relish”), a dill pickle spear, tomato slices, pickled sport peppers, and a dash of celery salt. With that said, here’s your weekly food trivia: 


1. Which city was the first to offer the hot dog as we know it (in a bun topped with condiments)?

A.)  Coney Island

B.)  St. Louis, MO.

C.)  Chicago

Answer: All of the above. It’s been said that in 1870, a German immigrant named Charles Feltman started selling sausages in rolls on Coney Island. However, another story claims it’s the wife of a German man named Antonoine Feuchtwanger who is credited for the invention of the hot dog. In 1880, Feuchtwanger sold hot dogs on the streets of St. Louis, offering each customer a set of white gloves to be worn so the hot dog didn’t burn their hands. The customers kept running off with the gloves, which irritated Feuchtwanger’s wife. Thus, she invented an even better solution to protect the hands – the bun.

And finally, there is also the possibility that the first hot dog introduced in America was at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. A Bavarian sausage seller named Anton Ludwig Feuchtwanger started selling buns alongside the hot dogs because he, too, was fed up with customers running away with the white gloves.

119 thoughts on “Don’t Mess with the Wiener

  1. Danielle

    Hands down the best vegetarian hot dog in Chicago comes from Hot Doug’s. All the classic CHICAGO toppings, although I like mine sans celery salt. They even have veggie corn dogs if you are so inclined. To avoid the longer lines try to make it for lunch during the week. I wish they delivered.

  2. Richo

    I have always wondered why they are called sport peppers. Cmon, sport peppers? Can anyone explain this?

  3. Amy Le


    After asking the Google. This is what I came up with. The sport peper is a Capsicum annum type of pepper and is popular for its use as a pickled pepper to go on hot dogs and other sandwiches. It is especially well known as an essential condiment in a Chicago-style hot dog. Peppers resemble Tabasco peppers, but the Sport pepper is larger, about 1-1/2 inches long and 1/2 inch wide. They are medium-hot and produced in great abundance on sturdy plants. As for the how it got the name the Sport, I’m still searching for the answer.

  4. Ellen

    I don’t even like hot dogs, but I like the idea of eating them with gloves on! Next time I go to the Cubs game, I’m going to pretend like I’m eating a hot dog but with PURPLE gloves on. (I love purple.)

  5. Spinner

    I loves me some wieners–and heaven help the poor soul that puts ketchup on their dog around me. That’s the 11th Commandment ’round these parts!

  6. jason

    there is a great bit about the hot dog in ken burns baseball. he claimed it was invented by a guy that was selling ice cream during a cold game. no wanted wnated the cream, so he went to a bakery and got wraps (buns) for his sausages.

  7. Spinner

    There’s a fun exhibit at the Chicago Historical Society’s kids’ section–there’s a human-sized bun that you lie in while you have a pal pile giant toppings–giant fake tomatoes, peppers, onions, etc. Hilarious.

  8. Delmer

    I once had a sub shop guy tell me they didn’t have hot peppers.. twice (once after I said “huh?”). After his long pause and blank stare.. he asked me “do you mean sport peppers?”. Yeah steimey.. and I do want fries with that. That was 5 years ago.. it took till just now for me to give a crap and search to find this info 🙂 Never went back to that place.

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