Restaurant Review: Redhot Ranch

While many restaurants are open in various capacities, getting out and about is still not the most straightforward task as Chicago navigates the protocols and guidelines amid the pandemic. Many of us in the city are still apprehensive, and rightfully so, when it comes to dining indoors and congregating in groups. 

Nevertheless, we have to eat. Thankfully, most of our city’s amazing restaurants are open for pickup. This week we highlight the mouth-watering eats available at Redhot Ranch in one of our favorite Chicago neighborhoods, Lakeview.

Redhot Ranch has become a bit of an institution in Chicago with its history stretching back to 2005 when the first Redhot Ranch opened on the South Side at 35th Street. Since then, they have fanned out to the North Side with locations in Bucktown and Lakeview. 

Redhot Ranch is a hot dog joint through and through, and that’s a good thing. What sets them apart is their focus on creating an authentic “Depression Dog.” Instead of serving up what many consider the classic Chicago hot dog – mustard, onions, tomato slices, green relish, sports peppers, celery salt, and a pickle – the Depression Dog forgoes the “dragged through the garden” method in favor of mustard, relish, onion, sport peppers and fresh-cut fries on the bun.

The results? There is nothing depressing about Redhot Ranch’s take on the classic Depression Dog. Bursting with taste and a snap that could quite a rowdy classroom, these dogs are worth checking out whether you’re a diehard Chicago dog fan or even if you don’t regularly dine on this classic city cuisine. For less than $4, you cannot go wrong heading to Redhot Ranch the next time you have a craving for a hot dog.

However, there’s much more going on than delicious red hots at Redhot Ranch. For many, this is one of the best burger spots in the city, and I include myself among that contingent. The Redhot Ranch burger consists of special sauce, tomato, lettuce, and onion. Don’t be deceived by this simple approach as these burgers deliver out of this world taste from the first bite, and are another steal at under $5 with fries. When it’s time to get serious, the double cheeseburger hits the spot.

No review of Redhot Ranch would be complete with a mention of their french fried shrimp. Crispy, golden, and loaded with excellent taste, the shrimp is available by the half-pound or pound. While it’s tough to call anything perfect in this world, their fried shrimp comes pretty close.

So if you are the mood for delicious Chicago comfort food for a price that will not empty your wallet, Redhot Ranch should be at the top of your list. The burgers, dogs, and fries demand repeat visits. While we continue to figure out how to go about our lives during the pandemic, it’s heartening to know you can always grab a meal to go that is savory at this Lakeview spot. 

Redhot Ranch is located at 3057 North Ashland Avenue and is open from 10:30 am to 12 am every day.