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DINING: Dog days aren't over at new Michigan Road eatery

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Dining - A&E

Specializing in hot dogs is a dicey proposition. Oh, the downtown King David seems to be doing well in its new, expanded location, and you can find plenty of thriving sausage shops in bigger cities. But without foot traffic to support it (and Indy is woefully short on foot-trafficked places), a dogery usually has trouble cutting the mustard.
 

ae-chicago-dog04-15col.jpg Don’t look for ketchup on a true Chicago Dog. (IBJ Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

The minds behind Chicago Hot Dog Co. (8320 N. Michigan Road, 808-5950), filling in a former La Bamba location, protected their investment with solid food, reasonable prices and a good soundtrack (a little Sinatra, some blues, a bit of Kander and Ebb). A BMV office across the parking lot might also help generate traffic.

As for the food itself, the cheese sauce was laid on a little thick for the Windy City Chili Dog ($3.79 plus 49-cent upcharge), obscuring the taste of both the Vienna beef dog and the chili. Better was the Chicago Hot Dog ($2.99) in which the mustard, relish, sport peppers, tomato and onions blended nicely into an accurate taste of the City of Big Shoulders. The only problem was that most of the celery salt was caught by a pickle spear that ran the length of the dog.

The owner, transplanted Chicagoan Brian Jessogne, knows his way around Italian Beef ($4.99) and Italian Sausage ($3.99). The beef, served dry, wet or dipped, is made daily and served on French bread strong enough to hold the meat, even when saturated. The char-grilled Stockyard Burger ($3.99) won’t win any awards, but it’s a respectable alternative that starts with a 5.3-ounce Angus beef patty.

Sides are limited to Krinkle-Cut French Fries ($1.59/$1.89) and Onion Rings ($2.19), both satisfying. On one of my visits, the former arrived cold but the staff happily took them back and quickly replaced them with an upsized portion, hot and delicious.

If a Chicago Dog and fries aren’t enough of a treat, there’s more. A traditional straw proved the wrong delivery tool for the Strawberry Shake ($2.69/$3.69), which needed a spoon. Big, chunky, locally made cookies ($2.19) and sliced Italian Lemon Cake ($3.29) demonstrate the wisdom of delivering solidly on limited choices.

Did I mention foot traffic? What’s really needed after a meal here is a place to walk it off. Perhaps a stroll over to Lowe’s … •


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Second in a month-long series of keep-it-simple restaurants

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  1. why oh why does this state continue to elect these people....do you wonder how much was graft out of the 3.8 billion?

  2. i too think this is a great idea. I think the vision and need is there as well. But also agree with Wendy that there may be better location in our city to fulfill this vision and help grow the sports of hockey and figure skating in Indy. Also to help further develop other parts of the city that seem often forgotten. Any of the other 6 townships out side of the three northernmost could benefit greatly from a facility and a vision like this. For a vision that sounds philanthropic, the location is appears more about the money. Would really like to see it elsewhere, but still wish the development the best of luck, as we can always use more ice in the city. As for the Ice growth when they return, if schedules can be coordinated with the Fuel, what could be better than to have high level hockey available to go see every weekend of the season? Good luck with the development and the return of the Ice.

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  5. I remain amazed at the level of expertise of the average Internet Television Executive. Obviously they have all the answers and know the business inside and out.

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