Frankly, you lose the right to call yourself a true Chicagoan if you put ketchup on your hot dog.  Mustard, relish, onions, tomato wedges, sport peppers, a pickle spear, and celery salt all have their roles, leaving no space for the liquid-y, sweet tomato condiment.  But long before the "Chicago Seven" came to be, there were two Austrian-Hungarian immigrants with a sausage recipe and what became the foundation of an iconic Chicago company, Vienna Beef.   

History of Vienna Beef

Lauren Ross

Brothers-in-law Emil Reichl and Samuel Ladany debuted their sausage recipe at the 1893 World's Fair/Columbian Exposition.  The sausages took Chicago by storm, but at the time they weren't decorated with the neon green and vibrant yellow that can only be found on a Chicago dog.  These elements evolved later, as the influence of Chicago's rising immigrant population integrated the influence of their home countries.  

Vienna Beef Pop-Up Museum

Lauren Ross

Facts like these can be discovered throughout Vienna Beef's new pop-up history museum. The museum showcases anything from old sausage stuffers and factory equipment to hand-painted signs, sports artifacts, and the gold-plated cocktail frank (the visitor favorite). The museum is open on weekdays from 10am to 2pm and is located adjacent to the factory store on Damen Avenue. 

The Anniversary Celebration

Lauren Ross

Every day at Vienna Beef is hot dog day, but especially August 1st. Mayor Rahm Emanuel proclaimed this date to be "Vienna Beef Hot Dog Day," coinciding with their 125th anniversary celebration.  The event will take place at the Damen Avenue Factory Store and Café, which has stood in the same location for 45 years, after relocating from the original location on South Halsted Street.

Celebrate this milestone in style by having them "Drag one through the Garden," at their anniversary celebration. If you can't make it to Chicago, stop by one of the legendary Vienna Beef stands all across the country. However you celebrate, let's shout cheers to 125 years of VB!