Restuarant: Frank 'N' Dawgs |
Address: 1863 North Clybourn Avenue |
Phone: 773.477.7200 |
Growing up, if someone had had the chutzpa to tell me I’d one day live within a 2 mile radius of not one, not two, but TWO gourmet hot dog restaurants, I’d have called him a liar and nut-punched him. Who gives little kids unobtainable dreams like that?
Now, us north-siders know that living within a short drive of Hot Dougs makes us extremely lucky. Nowhere else on this planet has a Sausage Superstore and Encased Meat Emporium been wrapped up into one glorious gruyere-cajun-remoulade-topped delight. And that’s part of the fun, knowing that fancy shmancy hot dog stands don’t open up anywhere else other than the corner of Roscoe & California. Like a republican with a good health care plan, that shit is ours and fuck everybody else. Hell, those roasted garlic andouilles with truffle ailoi wouldn’t taste quite as good if we could get them somewhere else… Or would they?
A few weeks ago, local legend and nationally reknown fancy sausage phenomenon Hot Dougs got some company/competition in the gourmet dog racket, and only a few grid squares away. Now making your friends in other parts of the country extra jealous: Franks N Dawgs.
I rolled up to this place on a Friday after work, ready to taste life for the second time. As a semi-regular patron of our old friend H. Doug, the Pavlov in me was conditioned and prepared for the 2 and a half hour wait. Walking inside though, this place was emptier than the upper deck at a Jaguar game. I waltzed right up to the counter and uttered the four words I’d been aching to say since lunch, “the Foss Hog, please.”
A pork link, cob-smoked bacon, a fried egg and maple mayo. And all on a thick-ass bun that was more white bread than a 5k fun run in Bucktown.
And you knew it would photograph well; shit – fried eggs are the shaved beavers of food porn. And there’s just something about the consistency and flavor of runny egg yolk that enhances any kind of meat you wanna put it on (Gibson’s, take notes).
But a beautiful embryonic yellow can’t fancy up a hot dog on its own. No, this thing was special for a variety of reasons, not least among them was the fat fucking PVC pipe of a bun I used to stuff it from its styrofoam container home into my face. Fluffy and thick, (but not too thick) and strong enough to hold the whole thing together – maybe the most brilliant part is how they butter the roll up, and then diner griddle the outside of it for a little extra texture and flavor. The maple mayo is easily the best maple mayo you or anyone you know has ever had, and dont sleep on the bacon either. A little chew, a little crunch, and smokey enough to discern itself from the flavor of the pork link.
Now, as an American and a Chicagoan, I like my cars big, my internet porn inter-racial, and my sandwiches to be accompanied by some muthafuckin FRIES. And this might be where Franks N Dawgs really carries the torch. These cheese fries do NOT fuck around.
They taste way better than that picture, I swear it. Twice fried-spuds, F’ND has nailed down the Boardwalk style I grew up with in south central suburban Maryland. Not too greasy, not too cheesy, but as tasty and crunchy as all get-out. These fries alone are worth the trip. Shame on my fat ass for not getting them topped with chili.
The hubris involved in getting some poor shmo to pay $8.50 for a hotdog outside of a baseball stadium will likely prevent the “gourmet prepared sausage” craze from ever taking off like so much bacon-mania. And while the opening of a second one isn’t quite a trend, it’d be easy to label FND as just a “copycat.” But the attention to the buns, the uniqueness of the toppings – they’re doing it in their own way and the results are pretty spectacular after only one visit. And our little encased meat obsessed part of the world is better off for it.