Chicago: Franks 'N' Dawgs

If a visiting friend wants hot dogs in Chicago, what choice do you have? In the name of wanting to try somewhere new, I brought my friend to Franks 'N' Dawgs:

The menu online looked very promising, so I was very excited to check it out. So excited that in my haste to get out of the rain, I entered through the wrong door, despite the sign clearly instructing us to use the side entrance. Oh well. Lesson learned.

Those who do know how to read walk down the long hallway before reaching the side door that opens right in front of the counter:

Those who do not know how to read (such as myself) enter through the front door and are forced to do the walk of shame along the row of tables in order to get in line.

After placing our orders, the guy pointed to a bunch of pictures posted on the wall and asked us to choose who we hate the most. I was a little caught off guard by the question and mumbled the first name that came to mind, which just so happened to be David Hasselhoff. Turns out these nifty photos had velcro attached to the back, which sticks to the side of your table and lets servers know where to bring your food:

A quick look around the room revealed a bunch of more interesting characters, such as Sarah Palin and Pee-wee Herman. I was writhing in jealousy when I saw that the table next to us had nabbed Dennis Rodman:

That would've looked so much better on our table. But I guess having The Hoff watch over your meal isn't anything to complain about.

My friend and I each selected a "dawg" and shared. I went with the black sheep, which consists of a toasted black pepper lamb sausage topped with black pepper oyster sauce, buttermilk vinaigrette, pear and red onion slaw, and basil:

My friend chose the krazy kimchi, which is a spicy beef sausage with braised short rib and turnips, kimchi, wild rice, and basil:

Both sounded really good on paper. But in reality? Meh. The sausages were good, no doubt about that, as were the toasted buns. But the toppings just didn't The kimchi was some of the worst kimchi I've ever had and the pear and red onion slaw was just a little off-putting. It's no big secret that I love basil...Asian basil. This stuff was just weak and very disappointing.

I was really curious about the truffle mac 'n' cheese. Originally I wanted to try the truffle mac 'n' cheese dog, but ultimately decided to control myself and order it as a side:

The mac 'n' cheese came with parmesan bechamel sauce, white truffle oil, brioche bread crumbs, and thyme. Gourmet mac 'n' cheese always appeals to me, but I've yet to find one that really wows me. The first bite is usually good, but by the third or fourth bite, you just feel like you're eating cold pasta and cheese. Sigh...but I'm always hopeful.

Franks 'N' Dawgs was a big disappointment for me. But maybe we just ordered the wrong things?

If only Hot Doug's wasn't so in the middle of nowhere and if only the wait there was an hour shorter...

Franks 'N' Dawgs
1863 N Clybourn Ave
Chicago, IL 60614
(312) 281-5187


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