LAKEVIEW — To purists, the toppings that go on a Chicago-style hot dog are of vital importance.
But what about serving the dog itself as a topping? What could it go on?
At ROCKS bar and restaurant, the answer is a hamburger.
The staff at ROCKS dreamed up the "Ballpark Burger" to celebrate the start of baseball season.
"Everyone enjoys a good Chicago dog, everyone clearly loves our burgers, and we just took those two loves and put them together," ROCKS co-owner George Manta said.
The sacred toppings are all there: sport peppers, tomato, onions, celery salt, mustard and "neon-green relish." Those top a Vienna Beef hot dog, split down the middle and laid on ROCKS' half-pound burger, all sandwiched between a bun.
"Until you have it, you don't realize how awesome it is together," ROCKS co-owner Tim Shepardson said. "If liking it is wrong, I don't want to be right."
And then there's the crucial question: If it's technically a burger, can you put ketchup on it?
"We do a lot of crazy burger creations, but this is one that everyone can get behind in Chicago, whether you’re on the ketchup or no ketchup side of the fence," Manta said. He takes his "Ballpark Burger" as is, sans ketchup.
For Michigan-native Shepardson, however, there's nothing wrong with adding a little tomato paste.
"I personally like ketchup, which makes everybody want to kill me, because I know there's no ketchup on a Chicago hot dog," he said. "But you know what? You’re not the boss of me. If I want to put ketchup on there, guess what? I'm gettin’ ketchup."
The "Ballpark Burger" is $12 with a side and available during April at ROCKS Lakeview, 3463 N. Broadway, and ROCKS Lincoln Park, 1301 W. Schubert Ave.