Summer means hot dogs.
It means grilling dogs and piling on relish, mustard and maybe some chili and cheese.
At Frankie’s Dawg House, a small shack serving specialty hot dogs in the Perkins Road Overpass area, it gets a little more complicated.
Frankie’s (2318 Cedardale Drive) serves high-quality hot dogs and other sausages on fresh breads, but the toppings vary from the simple to the elaborate. Aside from traditional toppings, there’s macaroni and cheese, pulled pork, coleslaw and fried eggs.
This is heavy, take-a-nap-at-your-desk grub. If you’re looking for low-carb or low-fat options, go next door to the Magpie Cafe for a kale salad.
The afternoon we tried Frankie’s, summer had just appeared in full, humid force. The temperature hovered in the 90s. Inside the tiny restaurant, the window air-conditioning unit struggled to cool the place. We eyed the covered patio as a comfortable place to sit.
Rendered on a chalkboard, the menu looked daunting. Frankie’s gourmet dogs include some seriously rich combinations.
There’s The Situation, a hot dog covered with macaroni and cheese and bacon. The Red Dawg piles pulled pork and barbecue sauce on top of boudin. The Mediterranean Dawg combines pasta, hummus, feta cheese, black olives and sun-dried tomatoes on a hot dog.
I played it fairly safe, choosing the Bacon Lovers Dawg ($6.75), a hot dog covered with shredded cheddar cheese and bits of crispy bacon. The toasted bun is a solid step above the basic grocery store brand. The main attraction — the dog — was of a high quality, too, with a juicy, beefy, and slightly spicy taste. The shredded cheese and crisp bits of bacon complemented the dog well.
On the side, I chose macaroni and cheese (an additional $2.50 with a canned soft drink) on the advice of the woman working the counter. This wasn’t powdery, bright orange mac and cheese. Instead, it was elbow macaroni covered with a creamy, cheesy sauce highlighted by bits of black pepper.
One of my co-workers tried the Bleu Dawg ($6.50), which adds pulled pork and blue cheese “crumbles” to the traditional dog. The pulled pork added little to the dog other than protein, he said, and the blue cheese looked more like salad dressing than “crumbles.” Very little blue cheese was harmed in the making of the hot dog, he said. Aside from these criticisms, he couldn’t complain about the taste.
Frankie’s doesn’t ignore Louisiana flavors on its menu, either. The Dawg House offers an é touffé e-smothered dog and a boudin sandwich.
We grabbed a Boudin Melt with fries ($6.75 for the combo) for another co-worker. He wasn’t looking for a “traditional hot dog,” and he’s a boudin aficionado.
The boudin is served in a patty form, topped with sharp cheddar and grilled onions and served on Texas toast. It tasted every bit as heavy as it sounds. It’s rich, greasy, and the boudin is a good replacement for the burger version, or Patty Melt.
The extra fixings make Frankie’s an eye-popping interest. Most of the time, those combinations deliver. Even when they don’t, Frankie’s Dawg House still makes a great hot dog.