When I first saw the Westminster Hot Dog joint at 11 N Wells St, I was heading off the El Train at the Washington Wells EL stop and it was closed, and I kept going back to a closed store until I discovered that it is only opened during the lunchtime rush 10.30-3.30 weekdays. A rookie mistake when sourcing food in the Chicago Loop district.
When I first read the name Westminster I was thinking of London, the Houses of Parliment and the Abbey, and when I finally did some research (well reading the menu this lunchtime) the story was that in 1876 a group of gents met up in a bar in Manhattan to talk about their sporting dogs and formed a club called the Westminster Breeding Association, then about one hundred years later another group of blokes were in Wrigleyville Chicago chewing the fat and unable to brag about their beloved Cubs they had to talk about something else that they were passionate about which turned out to be cooking, and what better to love in Chicago than some gourmet sausages. This led to the opening of the Westminster Hot Dog ( so the story goes)
From the outside it was not much to look at, lined up in a row of joints geared up to feeding the offices and workers in the Loop. Once inside there were mouthwatering chalkboard offerings, and a constant stream of blue and white collar guys and girls lining up to order. A lot seemed to be going for the gourmet sausgages and a few for the regular Chicago Dog, but hey that meant more gourmet for the rest of us. Their ‘mission statement’ on the wall also helped to support the suspensful salivations.
I had to try number 5 the Chorizo Pork with Chihuahua Cheese and Roasted Peppers, funnily enough the paper menu said ‘red’ peppers but this seemed to have been seamlessly rubbed out on the chalkboard and it turned out that the reason was that it was coming with green peppers instead. I think it was my gain in the end, but it provided me with some mild amusement.
I had to wait a while while my sausage was cooked which I was happy about as it meant that some attention was being made to it and there was a good chance that it was a good sausage. When my name was called I headed out into the sunshine and over to the park to…well I’ll be honest…scoff it down in my rapidly diminishing lunchbreak.
It was pretty darn good, the chorizo sausage meat was lightly packed into the case, a little crumbly and moist, nice and spicy but not too much, hey it must have been good I even ate the green peppers which were just right, not overcooked or crunchy, there is probably a french word to describe that, but enough of the pepper, more about the sausages.
Most importantly their sausages are prepared fresh each day with no fillers or nitrates and using only local sustainable meat.
I will return here, especially since I found that it is now open at the weekend for a short time, and also there is now a second location at 1045 Madison which is open 11am- 9pm everyday.
Located right beneath the Washigton Wells stop at 11 N Wells, I suggest that you pop in when you can