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A hot spot for dog days of autumn

Hot dogs are all-American favorites. We barbecue them in the back yard, pig out on them at the ballpark and bring them along on picnics.

But not all hot dogs are created equal. Some hot dog vendors let their dogs soak in a warm-water bath for hours. Others leave them on a rotating grill. And some are stuffed with filler meats.

Luckily, there is a place in La Jolla where you can get a great dog done right.

At the upretentious Chicago on a Bun, the hot dogs are cooked to order. And not only are they pure meat, they’re pure Vienna beef hot dogs.

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Chicago-style dogs are a breed apart. At Chicago on a Bun, all the ingredients are authentic and the terrific poppy seed buns are brought in from the Windy City. The classic toppings for a Chicago dog include Chicago-style mustard, onion, relish, tomato, sport peppers, celery salt and dill pickle. You can get sauerkraut on your hot dog as well.

There are several dogs on the menu, including the standard hot dog ($3.65), chili dog ($4.15) and chili cheese dog ($4.65). You can also opt for a jumbo dog, starting at $4.60. You need a strong stomach for the fire dog ($4.60), a spicy Polish dog.

Chicago on a Bun even features a super dog, a half-pounder cut in half and served on a bun for $8.20. A jumbo chicken corn dog cots $3. Make it a meal with a small order of fries and a drink for $4.50.

The restaurant is particularly proud of its Chicago-style sandwiches, like the Italian beef sandwich with thinly sliced roast beef in an au jus, piled up on Chicago-baked Gonnella bread. Top them off with sweet peppers or grilled onions, hot peppers or sport peppers ($7).

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Believe it or not, the kitchen cooks up the potato chips fresh. Try these beauties for $2.50, and you’ll be sold.

The mini potato pancakes ($2.70) are crisp and delicious, and they come with some apple sauce for dipping.

Barbequed ribs are served weekdays after 2:30 p.m. and all day weekends, so try a rack with fries and cole slaw for $18.75. It’s perfect for sharing.

The chili is made with meat with no beans, and comes by the bowl ($3.25) or the cup ($2.75). The sandwich list includes Wisconsin beer bratwurst ($5.75), sliced turkey breast ($5), charbroiled boneless and skinless chicken breast ($5.50), and barbecued beef ($5.75).

Burgers are big sellers at Chicago on a Bun as well. You can get a regular (one-third pounder) for $4.50, or doctor it up with bacon, cheese or chili. Vegetarians can get a garden burger for $5.

Old fashioned root beer floats ($3.50) are still a staple at Chicago on a Bun.

As the menu states, Chicago on a Bun is “a nostalgic homecoming for all of us who know and love the Windy City.”

Chicago on a Bun is at 8935 Towne Center Drive. Call (858) 622-0222.

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