Hot dogs at the ballpark are nothing new. But in celebration of Wrigley Field's 100th birthday, some of the park's hot dogs this year will have a radically different look.
"We're calling them Decade Dogs," said Wrigley Field executive chef David Burns. "What we're doing is featuring different hot dogs linked to specific decades. For instance, in 1910, the Reuben sandwich was created, so we'll have a Reuben dog — a Vienna Beef hot dog with sauerkraut, corned beef, Thousand Island dressing and Swiss."
In addition, there will be a Buffalo wings dog (with blue cheese coleslaw) for the '60s, a pulled-pork dog with barbecue sauce and fried onions for the '70s and, for the '20s, a traditional hot dog.
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Those four hot dogs will be available all season at the Decade Dogs stand near Wrigley's main entrance (in previous seasons, the stand bore a Loaded Dogs sign). During the Cubs' decade-themed homestands (there are 10), a decade-themed hot dog will be added to the offerings — a cheesesteak dog for the '30s, a "TV dinner" dog for the '50s, a nacho dog for the '80s, and so on.
Also new this year is the Decade Diner; the former Sheffield Grill (near Wrigley's right-field entrance) has been redecorated to resemble an old-fashioned diner and will offer special dishes to correspond with the Cubs' themed homestands. "For example," said Burns, "for 1950 we'll have an Elvis-inspired peanut butter, bacon and banana sandwich. For the '90s, it'll be lighter, California cuisine, so we'll have a house-made salmon burger with herb aioli, arugula and avocado."
Fans will have to journey to the Decade Dog stand and Decade Diner to try these specialty items; they won't be available anywhere else in the park. Chalk that up to Wrigley's age. As with previous menu additions the North Side Twist (an oversize pretzel with three dipping sauces) and the nacho helmet (a chips-and-cheese blend served in a keepsake Cubs helmet), new items tend to be restricted to one or two concession stands.
"Some of these stands are so old," Burns said, "they can't support the equipment we need."
Those who watch the game from the Wrigley Field suites will have a separate menu of decade-themed dishes from which to choose.
Another change that only veteran Wrigley fans will notice: The Chicago Dogs cart, which serves hot dogs, Polish sausages and Italian sausages made from High Plains bison meat, is being moved from the right-field-side concourse to the left.