In ’N Out, Zinburger, Shake Shack and the local Gate House – there’s something about the burger that’s secured its place on gourmet or specialty menus at establishments across the country. Meanwhile its distant cousin, the hot dog, has been sequestered into a corner of the grill on the Fourth of July or a Nathan’s in a busy mall food court.
Enter DogTown, a small joint on Monroe Ave, whose mission is to take the best regional versions of the hot dog from around the U.S. and serve it under pseudonyms of various dog breeds. For example, the German Shepherd with onions and sauerkraut represents the preferred hot dog of NYC, or the St. Bernard with a sauerkraut and Swiss cheese combination, a noble salute to Kansas City.
Like the outside, the interior of the restaurant is simple and modest with a few tables and a counter for to-stay patrons. The kitchen is partially exposed so customers can see the chefs cooking and assembling the hot dog concoctions.
After skimming through the posted menu, I settled on the Pit Bull which is topped with sautéed peppers and onions, barbecue sauce and DogTown sauce, a Cincinnati style chili that tastes both sweet and spicy. Other selections were the Mongrel, a mishmash of sautéed onions and peppers, sauerkraut, mustard, relish, ketchup and DogTown sauce topped with melted cheese and a chicken breast sandwich.
The first bite of the Pit Bull revealed the DogTown difference. The Zweigle’s German-style Frank, a skinnier and longer version of a typical hot dog, is cradled by the French bread bun, made daily and skillfully toasted with a crunchy exterior and soft interior. The load of toppings was more than generous but somehow stayed neatly settled bite after bite.
Aside from hot dogs, the lengthy menu provides plenty of options for the non-dog lovers, so-to-speak, and even for vegetarians. Though I wouldn’t deem this meal sensational, it’d be a challenge to find a more satisfying meal for a comparable price.
Address: 691 Monroe Ave.
Hours of operation: Mon-Thurs 11am to 11pm, Fri & Sat 11am to midnight