Review: Chicago Style Fully Dressed Philly and Herman Dawg from Philly Dawgz
I’m a big fan of a good wiener. There, I said it. Okay, after you stop giggling, admit it, you are too. I mean, if you call yourself an American, you have to like hot dogs. Now that we’re passed all that silliness, we can get right down to it. Everybody knows that Chicago street vendors make the best hot dogs in the U.S. So, short of taking a 6 hour drive to the “Windy City”, I believe I’ve found the next best thing at a strip mall in the Twin Cities. It’s called Philly Dawgz. They’re a small, upstart franchise, with locations mostly on the east coast with Minnesota and Nebraska standing as the lone outposts west of the Mississippi (actually one of the MN locations is east of the Mississippi, but close enough).
Their menu includes Vienna all beef hot dogs served plain or adorned in one of five styles. Chicago Style Fully Dressed Philly: 100% Vienna Beef Dawg stuffed in a poppy seed bun topped with yellow mustard, neon green relish, diced onions, tomato wedges, pickle wedge, sport peppers (optional) and a dash of celery salt. Sloppy Dawg: A mess of chili and cheese over a Dawg and a poppy seed bun. If you want to get really Sloppy, get the onions and peppers on top. Slaw Dawg: Poppy Seed bun stuffed with a Dawg and topped with fresh cole slaw. Perfect for someone looking for a cool salad on their Dawg. Herman Dawg : Dawg topped with sauerkraut and Dusseldorf mustard, a spicy mustard, sitting in a poppy seed bun. Plain Dawg: Is a … well, um, the plain Dawg, on a plain bun. Fire Dawg: Want to add some spice to your life? Our Spicy Polish is a skinless, hot and spicy beef sausage made with a special blend of cayenne peppers and 7 zesty seasonings, go ahead give your tongue a kick in the taste buds. I came for the Chicago Dawg, so that was my first order, but rather than round out the meal with a bag of chips, I opted for ordering a second. Given my German heritage, the Herman Dawg was the logical choice.
Both dogs (I’m switching to the Webster spelling because I’m sick of my Microsoft’s annoying underlining Dawg) were ample in size and served in a utilitarian Styrofoam to-go box which kept them warm on the 10 minute drive home and the 15 second dash from my truck to the door in 20 below wind chills. The choice to go with two hot dogs rather than the standard combo was simply out of curiosity, as one hot dog would have satisfied by afternoon appetite. That being said, two dogs wasn’t insanely gluttonous, even for a 170 pound wimp like me.
The Chicago Dawg was perfectly dressed with all the standard fixings (see list above). I don’t like it when someone tries to reinvent the wheel by adding some new ingredient or substituting something that seems insignificant. Jalapenos are not the same as sport peppers and you can’t just skip the celery salt. Philly Dawgz knocks it out of the park on this one. The only thing missing is the thrill of buying this from a street vendor, but I won’t hold that against them. I actually think it would be a disgrace to try to recreate that part of the Chicago experience.
After waiting patiently for me while I chowed through my Chicago dog, the Herman Dawg met my eye. While I wasn’t as impressed with this arrangement as I had hoped, I’m going to give it another try on my next trip since it had the disadvantage of following an act like the Chicago dog and sitting for a good 10 minutes while I savored each bite of the opening round. The wait did two things. One, it made the bun a little soggy, as the juice from the sauerkraut and mustard soaked in and two, it cooled the hot dog down to room temp. The kraut was decent, but not up to the expectations of my refined palate in the brine soaked vegetable genre. As for the mustard, which was advertised as “spicy”, I was a bit underwhelmed. This is not to say it was without taste, or spice, but it wasn’t the kind of kick you expect nowadays when you see the word spicy.
Philly Dawgz offers a variety of other menu items, but I’m not sure why. Their dogs are the bomb and they are plenty of incentive for me to make a stop. I will say, however, that I once tried their rib tips on a whim and was quite impressed.
Pros: Great Chicago Style Hot Dog. Good variety of other styles for the dog enthusiast. Reasonable pricing.
Cons: No diesel fumes and sewer smell to go with your Chicago Dog.
Taste: 9.50 Chicago Style Fully Dressed Dawg, 7.50 Herman Dawg
Value: 7.50 Chicago Style Fully Dressed Dawg, 7.50 Herman Dawg
Grubbing on-the-go: 7.00 (it's a wonderfully sloppy mess, but travels well to your home or office, just not something to eat in the car) Chicago Style Fully Dressed Dawg, 8.00 Herman Dawg
Price: 2.99 each
Overall GrubGrade: 9.00 Chicago Style Fully Dressed Dawg, 7.50 Herman Dawg
More Info: PhillyDawgz.com