If there is one food trend I’m jumping on, it’s hot dogs! They’re cheap, versatile and beloved by America. Sure, there is a mystery meat danger to them, but that’s part of their mystique isn’t it? The best hotdog I’ve ever had was surprisingly in Iceland. I know it sounds strange but this little stand in Reykjavik knows how to do it. (You can read about my most recent trip to Iceland here.)
This summer a new hot dog spot opened in downtown Portland (in the “West End”) called Hop Dog. Guess what they sell? Hot dogs and beer! Big surprise, right? And that’s just about all they sell: hot dogs, beer, chips and soda. Hop Dog is the latest creation by Micah Camden, the local food entrepreeaur behind Blue Star Donuts, Son a Biscuit, Boxer Ramen and Little Big Burger (although he recently sold LBB). He has a great track record… so does Hop Dog stick the landing?
Yes! The hot dog is pretty basic, but the toppings are great and the bun, made by local bakery Nuvrei, is spectacular. It strikes the perfect balance between soft and substantial. Soft enough to easily bite, but still able to hold up the toppings. As for toppings they have three regular options and a rotating special: sauerkraut & relish, tomatoes & peppers, and Cincinnati chili. I opted for the special: caramelized onions, gruyere cheese and mustard. So good.
As hot dogs go, they are spendy… between $5-8, but I found these to be a little more substantial than a typical “ball park” dog. Throw in a bag of chips and you have a decent sized lunch. And lunch seems to be the plan here. They have only one table plus counter space. No room to linger. Eat quick or take it to go. One final note: the simple decor hit a soft spot for me, with photos of celebrities eating hot dogs. If George eats dogs, why shouldn’t we all?
So I am giving Hop Dog two thumbs. I hope they expand, because it there were one in my neighborhood, I’d eat here all the time.
1122 SW STARK (BETWEEN 11TH & 12TH)