The Chicago hot dog is a thing of beauty; from the poppy seed specked bun, to the colorful array of toppings.
You know how it goes, the canonical recipe referred to as "dragged through the garden," with bright yellow mustard, neon green sweet pickle relish, chopped white onion, a few dill pickles, sliced tomato and pickled sport peppers and finished off with a dash of celery salt. And there you have it, the Windy City's most iconic food.
Only a few places in South Florida offer the real deal, with ingredients sourced straight from the city itself. And one of those places is the Dawg House in Pompano Beach.
If you're familiar with Dawg House, it may be due to the fact they've been around awhile. The original owners opened the establishment off Federal Highway just south of Copans Road in 2010, but turned the business over to new owners Mitch Townsley and Linda Goodman last year. Goodman, who is passionate about offering the best product and service available, says the menu has stayed largely the same, but the atmosphere has greatly improved.
"Everything is authentic, from preparation to the ingredients," Goodman tells Clean Plate Charlie. "And the produce we buy locally, from nearby farmer's markets."
The method for cooking the Vienna beef varies from one vendor to the next, but most often -- as its done at the Dawg House -- both dog and bun are steamed. Here, Townsley prepares each order as it comes in, everything fresh-made.
The restaurant itself is impeccably clean and organized, the space offering several tables -- as well as booth and counter seating -- to enjoy more than a dozen dogs, a few burgers, and traditional Italian beef and sausage sandwiches ($3.79-$9.99). All orders are offered with sides, including fries, onion rings, baked beans and a homemade coleslaw prepared with a fine shredded cabbage and light dressing.
If you're in the mood for some dogs, a few of the most popular menu items should quell any cravings. The top seller is the traditional Chicago dog, followed closely by the Jersey Ripper, a jumbo Vienna beef dog wrapped in bacon and deep fried. The Maxwell is another favorite, a deep fried Vienna Polish sausage topped with grilled onions, mustard and sport peppers.
Want to take some of Chicago home with you? The Dawg House sells jars of Giariniera peppers, relish and sport peppers so you can attempt to replicate the dogs at home. Of course, with prices as reasonable as these, you might want to leave it to the experts.
The Dawg House is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday during the summer. The restaurant is located at 1308 N. Federal Hwy. in Pompano Beach. Call 954-781-1955, or visit their Facebook page.
Follow Nicole Danna on Twitter, @SoFloNicole.