Yesterday, a fascinating and revealing story surfaced on Eater National and Business Insider: A sketch from the year 2000 largely outlined the full-service Shake Shack model that's now taking over the fast food world. It included legendary restaurateur Danny Meyer's preliminary version of a Chicago-style hot dog.
His take on Chicago's dog is mostly traditional, save for three ingredients: Lettuce, cucumber, and...ketchup. That's right—Meyer originally wanted to put ketchup on a Chicago-style hot dog.
[Photo: Courtesy of Shake Shack]
Obviously, the vast majority of Chicagoans feel that adding a stream of tomato-based condiment to the Windy City's proud hot dog, dragged through the garden, is equivalent to culinary blasphemy. But did Meyer, a New York fine dining legend, know that in 2000? Or was he simply taking chef liberties with the Chicago classic?
[Shake Shack River North photo: Marc Much]
That's murky, as a Shake Shack rep says that "often times we spin recipes or things in our own Shake Shack way, but I cannot attest that was Danny's vision when first writing out this plan." Many chefs and restaurateurs are also taking culinary liberties with hot dogs these days that would have been unthinkable years ago.
Meyer eventually switched up the toppings, as Shake Shack's current "Shack-caco dog" has no ketchup and is topped with all the traditional Chicago accompaniments, plus cucumber. Chicago locations even utilize the venerable Vienna Beef.
What do you think of Meyer's original intention to put ketchup on a Chicago-style hot dog? Is putting ketchup on a dog really that bad? Sound off in the comments.