|This article does not cite any references or sources. (November 2008)|
|Products||Hot dogs, pickles, various|
Vienna Beef is a manufacturer of the hot dog used in the classic Chicago-style hot dog, as well as Polish sausage and Italian beef, delicacies of independent Chicago-style hot dog and beef stands. They also produce a variety of deli meats, some of which are available at Chicago area supermarkets.
Emil Reichel and Sam Ladany immigrated from Vienna, Austria to Chicago in the 1890s. During the Columbian Exposition they sold hot dogs to the many visitors of the Exposition. In 1894, Reichel and Ladany opened a storefront on Halsted Avenue on Chicago's West Side. In 1900, Vienna Beef began to sell and deliver to other stores and restaurants in Chicago. During the Great Depression, a number of Vienna Beef vendors begin advertising that their hot dogs have a "salad on top," giving rise to the traditional Chicago-style hot dog. In 1950, Vienna Beef distribution spread to other Midwestern states, and in the 1960s, Vienna Beef began selling in supermarkets.
Vienna Beef supplies hot dogs to several restaurants in the Chicago area, each with a specially tailored variation. These variations include different casings and ratios of ingredients.
Henry Davis (1904–1974), a one time VP of sales, was instrumental in making Vienna Beef the Chicago hot dog. Henry was honored by Vienna Beef, the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois for his contributions in helping create Chicago's independent hot dog stands. There is a permanent collection of documents, photos and memorabilia in the Chicago Historical Society Archives called the "Henry Davis Collection" that was inaugurated in 1989
Vienna Beef's revenue for the year 2000 was estimated to be $180 million.