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OKC's first authentic Chicago dog comes to Parlor
Chicago native Dewayne Callahan hit up every hot dog joint in OKC and was disappointed. So he took matters into his own hands.
Five years, one viral tweet, and a lucky chance encounter later, he’s bringing genuine Chicago dogs to Chamber member Parlor OKC.
It all started in 2015 when Callahan bought his first hot dog cart in Oklahoma City to sling Chicago dogs like the ones he ate growing up in his home city—the kind served from carts sporting the iconic red and yellow Vienna Beef branded umbrella.
“There are a lot of people who have moved here from Chicago,” Callahan said. “When they see the Vienna Beef umbrella, they’re skeptical. People in OKC have advertised that they have Chicago dogs… but they’re not.”
Callahan’s big break came one windy afternoon in 2018 when his cart, Callahan’s Chicago Dogs, was having a slow sales day. After three hours, he’d made only one sale.
His 15-year-old daughter, working alongside Callahan, saw the discouraged look on his face and asked if she could send a tweet in hopes of drumming up some business. The post went viral, picking up over 100,000 retweets, and the business took off.
From that day on, the operation quickly grew into two hot dog carts, making frequent appearances around town at various venues and events. One of those haunts was Skydance Brewing Co., just across the block from Parlor in Automobile Alley. The final piece fell into place one fateful day when Parlor General Manager Todd Creekmur came over from across the street for one of Callahan’s Chicago dogs.
“This is what we need across the street at Parlor,” Callahan recalls Creekmur saying.
Callahan’s Chicago Grille opened inside Parlor in the final week of 2021 with a menu kicked off by the signature Chicago Dog; a Vienna Beef frank topped classically with mustard, onion, relish, sliced tomato, sport peppers, a dill pickle spear, and a sprinkle of celery salt.
Other Chicago dogs on the menu include the Maxwell Street Polish, the Chili Cheese Dog, the Mac Dog (topped with macaroni and cheese with bacon), and the Ditka Dog, a jumbo 1/3 pound spicy polish topped any way you like.
Other available dogs include smoked cajun andouille, bratwursts, jumbo beef dogs, and veggie dogs. The sandwich menu includes the classic Italian beef; tender and juicy sliced beef simmered in au jus with giardiniera, chicken and beef cheese steaks, Italian sausages, and a spicy jerk-marinated bone-in pork chop sandwich. Sides including crinkle fries, spicy voodoo slaw, and chili round out the menu at Callahan’s Chicago Grille.
The current lineup of restaurants in the hall includes Providence Pizzeria Co., serving Detroit-style, thin crust and Sicilian pizza; Rays Chicken Kitchen, serving hand-made fried chicken baskets and sandwiches; Disco Taco Parlor, serving an elevated take on Americanized tacos; Pachinko Parlor, focused on whimsical sushi; MOB Grill, serving the onion burger, an Oklahoma original; Bad Nonna’s, serving homemade pasta and chef-driven dishes using locally raised ingredients; and Callahan’s Chicago Grille, serving authentic Windy City staples like hot dogs and Italian beef sandwiches. Parlor also includes two craft cocktail bars that pour original drinks along with local craft beer and wine. Guests are encouraged to make themselves comfortable in the space’s wide array of seating options on both levels, including living room-like areas designed to relax and wind down; a second-level rooftop patio with excellent views; two first floor outdoor patios; lounge, den, and library areas; rentable event spaces; and more traditional, family-friendly high and low-top table seating. Parlor is open from 11 a.m. to at least 11 p.m. on Sunday, Tuesday, and Wednesday; from 11 a.m. to at least 12 a.m. on Thursday; from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday; and is closed on Monday. Parlor’s kitchens close at 10 p.m. on Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday, and close at 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Parlor opened in Oklahoma City in 2019. The original location opened in Kansas City in 2018. For more information, visit parlorokc.com.