July 26, 2010

Chris' Little Chicago

Chris Miller and his mother had been doing fresh salsas and spreads along with homemade cookies at multiple farmers markets when their customers demanded they open a storefront so they could buy products year round.  So the pair opened a gourmet food store and catered in the Chicago land area of the North shore for a total of 14 years before Chris decided to make a move to the Austin area in 2005.  The reason he opened Chris’ Little Chicago, and his trailer’s namesake, is because he realized there wasn’t any true authentic Chicago style food in Austin.  Specifically he wanted to bring the Chicago style hot dog and the Italian Beef sandwich to Austinites. 

So what is it that makes a Chicago dog different?  Chris shares, “What makes the dog authentic Chicago is using a Vienna beef hot dog 100% beef, on a steamed poppy-seed bun, topped with mustard, Chicago relish (which is bright green), chopped raw onions, and then a pickle sphere.  That’s where it gets confusing; a lot of people use the little circular hamburger ones but it has to be a sphere.  Then you add two wedges of tomato, two sport peppers (which are kind of like little Serranos – little green pepper that is spicy), sprinkled with celery salt.”  Chicago customers also know that how you assemble it makes a difference.  First comes the dog, then the relish and onions.  The pickled sphere goes on one side and the tomato wedges go on the other side.

Since living in
Austin, Chris has served Chicago Bears player’s families along with Willie’s ex-wife and daughter.  He has amazingly had two women on two separate occasions drive down from Seton hospital to get a Chicago dog as their first meal after child birth.  Chris says, “My enthusiasm remains in introducing to the Austin people a new style of food they haven’t had an opportunity to try before and change their opinion about hot dogs.”