July 4th celebrates the tubesteak in all its glory. That’s a tradition we endorse
The Fourth of July is a holiday that’s as much about food as is it patriotism. And this weekend, the traditional meal to show your love of country is, of course, the frankfurter. The hot dog. The footlong.
The jokes write themselves. But we’re gonna be serious here … even when the restaurants aren’t always. Because we want you to know where you can satisfy your craving.
Luscher’s Red Hots
Luscher’s Red Hots is my current favorite. Brian Luscher, owner of The Grape, ventured down to Deep Ellum earlier this year and opened a storefront where folks can taste the same sausages and hot dogs he’s been selling at pop-ups and festivals for a few years now.
There’s a reason why his sausages had a following even before he opened. The mark of a quality dog is the surface tension when you bite into it — the slightly elastic bounce-back of tooth to meat, and the flavor balance once you chow down. That’s what you get here.
Luscher calls his recipes “Chicago style” with “Texas taste,” from the signature Post Oak (a beef and pork wiener on poppyseed bun, smothered in a spicy giardiniere of onions, peppers and mustard to the Italian sausage version, the bratwurst or the all-beef Polish kielbasa — any of which you can sample at the patio party at Luscher’s on Saturday, starting at 6:30 p.m. Oh, and Luscher’s nod to camp? Catered events are called “sausage parties.”
Samson’s Gourmet Hot Dogs
This isn’t the only wiener to capture my attention, though — nor the only one with a sense of humor. In the heart of the gayborhood, Samson’s on Oak Lawn proudly declares its products as “9 inches of fun on a bun,” and even offers a free “Weenie Club” that offers one free “teeny weenie” to regular customers. (Note: Teen weenies are not intended for size queens.) Proprietor Troy Gardner — whose dreads symbolize the Samson of the name — has designed a hot dog menu that’s both customizable and well thought-out.
Not the least of the appeal are the buns, which are smartly sized to be shorter than the frank itself — cradles in which the main attraction can rest with its entourage of accessories, from pickles to corn to chili. (Having a great bun gave Samson’s the edge over its now-defunct neighbor, Scotch & Sausage, whose dogs always looked sad and unfinished.) The buns also serve as the basis for the bread pudding dessert, one of the best indulges in Dallas.
The final leg in the tripod of tubesteak is, of course, Tallywackers. The name alone projects an understanding of the double entendre nature of selling a hot dog … though a lot of it has to do with the waiters’ stretchy, nothing-left-to-the-imagination-oh-I-didn’t-realize-you-were-Jewish short-shorts. And the wiener at Tallywackers actually provided food for thought — a 16-oz. all-beef frank slathered in cole slaw and a topped with a pickle? New to me. But not at all unpleasant — indeed, it’s my favorite thing on the menu so far that can be purchased without getting the vice squad involved.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 3, 2015.