Pack Your Impact in Chicago

15 November 2017

Community Engagement Coordinator at HI Chicago

From culture to compost, HI Chicago, The J. Ira and Nicki Harris Family Hostel takes food very seriously. Enter the hot dog. It may sound like a cheap American food for kids, but for Chicagoans, it’s so much more than that. It’s tied to strong traditions stemming from the Great Depression era, and there is a right way and wrong way to eat it.

HI Chicago, invites guests to taste this 80-year old tradition every Monday night. Only Chicago can claim this recipe, which goes as follows: steamed all-beef hot dog, warmed poppy seed bun, yellow mustard, sweet relish, white onions, chopped tomatoes, pickled sport peppers, pickle, & celery salt.

And under no circumstance – unless you’re under age 12 – should your hot dog be topped with ketchup! It’s a major cultural taboo that the hostel will tell you all about. (Although it’s perfectly acceptable in every other city in the U.S.)

With food playing such a strong role in any travel experience, the hostel also wants to ensure it is doing its part to minimize food waste. Working with a locally owned, woman-run business, HI Chicago typically sends off 150 gallons of food waste per month, which is turned into compost. Leftovers from breakfast, guest meals, and paper towels contribute to this output, as well as leftovers from hot dog night – but there usually isn’t much from that!

Join us in Chicago for a HI Impact food experience you won’t find anywhere else!

hot dog stand at HI Chicago Hostel