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Meet the Maker: Taylor Bodman, Vienna Beef


Vienna Beef Hot Dogs
Vienna Beef Hot Dogs

In Chicago, hot dogs are synonymous with Vienna Beef. Just about every place in the Windy City that serves a Chicago Dog – “dragged through the garden” with yellow mustard, onion, neon green relish, tomato, pickled sport peppers, a pickle spear, and a dash of celery salt – gets the dogs themselves from Vienna Beef. Going strong since 1893, Vienna Beef is best-known for its frankfurters, but they actually make all of those classic hot dog components, from the bun to the sport peppers (and ship them nationwide on Goldbelly), as well as Italian beef sandwich kits (another Chicago icon) and plenty of other deli products. 

Taylor Bodman is Vienna Beef’s Director of Marketing, and she’s one of the most knowledgeable folks in Chi-Town on the company and Chicago dogs in general. We had the opportunity to chat with her over email; the following interview has been lightly edited for clarity.

Taylor Bodman
Taylor Bodman | Vice President of Marketing at Vienna Beef

How did Vienna Beef get its start?

Founded in Chicago in 1893, Vienna Beef manufactures and distributes hot dogs and sausages following its time-honored original recipes, with premium domestic beef hickory-smoked for authentic flavor. Austrian-Hungarian immigrants Emil Reichel and Samuel Ladany introduced their family frankfurter recipe at the legendary Columbian Exposition/World’s Fair and the same recipe is still used 131 years later. The company also produces pickles and condiments, soups and chilis, deli meats, and other premium top-quality foods, distributed throughout the United States.

What do you believe sets it apart from the pack?

Our original recipe has not changed since the company started 131 years ago. In our opinion, there is no comparison. The unique taste and quality has kept customers coming back for generations. Everyone has a nostalgic moment eating our food.

Why are Vienna Beef hot dogs considered the essential frank in a Chicago dog?

We stick with our original flavors which makes the taste so consistent. Our beef is hand trimmed with pride. We care about what goes into each product that leaves our facility. Vienna Beef is a part of the city of Chicago’s DNA. You’ve seen our signage, and we’re at every park, stadium, and airport. If you’re having a hot dog in Chicago, it’s most likely ours. Our local hot dog stands are the backbone of our business. Their commitment to our brand is essential to our overall success.

Vienna Beef
Image courtesy Vienna Beef

How has working with Goldbelly affected your business?

Working with Goldbelly has significantly impacted our business by expanding our reach to customers we traditionally wouldn’t have access to. Their marketing prowess has enabled us to tap into new markets and increase our customer base, ultimately driving growth and boosting sales by spreading Vienna Beef’s unique Chicago culinary experience.

Can you provide a rundown of your offerings?

Vienna Beef is the umbrella company of other companies. We sell the hot dog with most of the fixings. Even certain condiments of ours are made in-house by our company. We deliver the Chicago Style Hot Dog Kits and also make our soups, chilis, deli meats, and pickles. Everyone has a story about eating our hot dog somewhere and doesn’t realize how much more our company offers.

What do you foresee as the future of Vienna Beef?

Our goal is to grow awareness of the quality of our brand. We would love for people who are not familiar with Vienna Beef to eat our food and know that our food represents quality.

For a taste of Vienna Beef shipped straight to your door, discover all of their offerings on Goldbelly.

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