Portland’s humble hot dogs are ready for their close up: ballpark wieners dressed up in delicious condiments; four-star sausages packed with seafood; and all-local franks simmered in hoppy beer. Behold, the next generation of America’s great dirty water dog, as reimagined by local chefs.
The One-Pot Sausage: Clutch Sausagery
After Ken Norris’s well-regarded seafood spot, Riffle NW, went under in 2013, he opened his dream project: classic comfort food, carefully stuffed into pasture-raised, Oregon-local casings. Yup, you heard right. That means bacon cheeseburger filling with spicy ketchup and mustard aioli, or chicken pad Thai with peanut and Thai chile sauce. We especially love the branding, bursting with sexual innuendo. Timberland Town Center, 230 NW Lost Springs Terrace, #22, clutchsausagery.com
The Pop-Up: Stray Dogs
Two New York transplants, Peter Cho (The Breslin) and Johnny Leach (Momofuku Ko, Clyde Common), recently put their respective brick-and-mortar plans on hold and emerged with mahogany, deep-fried chili con corn dogs and “Fun-Yums” (Funyuns meet Cool Ranch Doritos). These dogs are for the chefs, by the chefs, with collaborative wieners like Ava Gene’s “McFassoulet”—Toulouse sausage with lamb-braised borlotti beans and herbed bread crumbs. For location and hours, check straydogspdx.com
The Dive Dog: Donnie Vegas
Ned Ludd alums Benjamin Artaiz and Jeremy Wilson take the down-and-dirty approach to hot dogs with their late-night, Las Vegas–inspired bar on NE Alberta Street. The former Luddites are offering six minimally bedazzled $4 hot dogs (the wildest flavor, Dog Japon, features cream cheese, scallions, and togarashi seasoning) with cocktails on tap, from a hyperlocal Moscow Mule to a carbonated White Russian with Stumptown cold brew. 1203 NE Alberta St
The Franchise: Hop Dog
You know hot dogs are officially “a thing” when serial franchiser Micah Camden gets involved. The trend-surfer hopes to do with hot dogs what he’s done with burgers (Little Big Burger), doughnuts (Blue Star), fried chicken (Son of a Biscuit), and ramen (Boxer): a few simple options done well, with counter service and cheap beer. His beer-boiled “hop dogs” come in tame flavors like “Chicago” and “Greek,” with the occasional whimsical special (think banh mi or tikka masala). It’s slated to open this month.
SW Stark Street & 12th Avenue