CHICAGO — Some of the city's most popular restaurants will offer their takes on a Chicago classic — hot dogs — for the Gapers Block Hot Dog Cookoff.
Cook-off participants include Kuma's Corner, Harmony Grill, The Haute and The Dog, Fat Rice and ManBQue and proceeds will benefit Reach Out and Read Illinois.
Chefs will grill up unique versions of hot dogs, and a panel of wiener experts will judge them based on creativity and deliciousness.
Dave Baudek of Harmony Grill said his hot dog will include jalapeno bacon jam and Cheeto-crusted fried onions, among other things.
"We wanted something to be fun and a little bit different," Baudek said.
Jesse Valencia, founder of ManBQue, said he's excited about the cook-off because this is the restaurant's first competition.
"Everything we're doing is homemade, and we've got probably a good three different sauces on there. It's a very multilayered hot dog, but all the flavors really complement each other," Valencia said. "We're kinda crazy when it comes to ... creations. For this we're coming at it pretty hard."
Dion Antic, owner of The Haute & the Dog, said his team knows what it will do. He wouldn't hint at what his creation might include, saying "We're supposed to keep it a surprise."
"I think we're gonna do damn well," Antic said. "For a hot dog cook-off I think we're gonna do damn well, considering we're a hot dog place."
The judging panel will include Doug Sohn of Hot Doug's, David "The Food Dude" Lissner and Bruce Kraig, author of "Man Bites Dog." The chefs also will hear from attendees, via the People's Choice Award.
Tickets, which are $20 for adults and $10 for children under 12, are available online or at the door and cover admission and tasting all the hot dog concoctions. The event begins at 2 p.m. and ends at 7 p.m. in the parking lot of Schubas, 3159 N. Southport Ave.
The cook-off will also feature a cash bar, raffle and music.