My dining companion and I like to keep up with the new restaurants opening downtown — it’s a pleasant chore. We were a bit behind, though, as we had yet to visit Hotshots Craft Hotdoggery across from the Pappajohn Sculpture Park.
Hotshots takes your basic frank and goes far beyond mustard, ketchup and onion, although that combination is on the menu. But you can also get kielbasa, andouille, Italian sausage or duck sausage dressed up with such ingredients as curried cheese curds, horseradish mayo, caramelized onions and cream cheese.
I had looked up the restaurant on Facebook and had fallen in love at first sight with the photo of the Katja Poensgen dog ($5.75). (All the creations names have a motorcycle connection. This particular one is named for a woman who is a professional bike racer.) My mind was made up before we walked in the door.
My companion likes to walk on the wild side and ordered the Wiener of the Week, which was a wild boar sausage pimped out with goat cheese, stone ground mustard, cherry fig jam and green onions ($6.95). We upgraded our orders to a combo for an additional $2.50; he got pasta salad and I ordered the Hotshot tater tots. The dogs are made to order, so we took a seat at an outdoor table and enjoyed our wait.
My dog was barely visible under toppings of Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, Russian dressing, fresh tomatoes and caraway seeds. And the bun, made from dough enriched with egg, was outstanding. The tomatoes were fresh, and the whole thing was a messy, delicious sensation.
My companion, who had recently been to Chicago and tried one of the city’s famous dogs, gave the wild boar creation an equally high ranking. He particularly enjoyed the cherry fig jam’s unexpected sweetness. The accompanying pasta salad also got high marks.
“I’d give you some, but I want it,” he said. Guess I’ll have to go back and get my own.
Hotshots Craft Hotdoggery
1220 Locust St.
Hours: Mon. – Sat. 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.