Fans of encased meat are lamenting the October closing of Doug Sohn's legendary Avondale restaurant Hot Doug's, but perhaps those hardest hit by the news are those with a permanent reminder inked on their skin.

It’s been a longstanding deal at Hot Doug’s: Get a tattoo of the hot dog joint's logo anywhere on your body and you get free hot dogs for life. Jason S. Thompson is one of those who took the deal.

“My sodium intake level is dwindling at the same rate of my spirits,” Thompson said Tuesday after hearing the news. “That being said, I'm happy for whatever Doug tackles next in his life. But obviously this news bums me out beyond belief, and I'm sure I'll be making more and more trips to [Hot Doug’s] this year leading up to the final days.”

Thompson, 31, of Roscoe Village, said he got his tattoo for free from a friend in North Carolina in June 2012 when touring with his band, The Sky We Scrape. Since, he estimates he’s had at least 100 free hot dogs because of his ink, and would never think of parting with it.

"I posted something one Facebook about, 'Well ... looks like I'm going to have a pretty nostalgic tattoo pretty soon, I guess,' which kinda sums up my thoughts," he said. "It's been a staple in my life for a long time now, and I'm proud to have the Hot Doug's tattoo on my arm. regardless of if the doors are open or not."

Check out the five rules of Hot Doug’s tattoo deal, as excerpted from “Hot Doug’s: The Book," published in 2013 by Agate Publishing.

1. It has to feature the Hot Doug’s character and say “Hot Doug’s,” whether in the banner or elsewhere. We also allow for artistic license, so it doesn’t have to look exactly like our logo.
2. While I may not ask to see it each time you come in, if I do ask, you are required to show it to me. This may influence where on your person you decide to get inked. Or not.
3. It cannot be microscopic. I have to be able to see it and I’ve been wearing glasses since the first grade.
4. The tattoo does not allow you to jump in the line. No matter where it is.
5. Remember: The tattoo is permanent; I am not. And I have an affinity for cured meats and Scotch. I’m just sayin'.


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