Thursday, May 14, 2015

Rochester Dining: Dogtown


As a child, my dad would take my siblings and I to a teeny-tiny restaurant called Lipuma's Coney Island that sold the best hot dogs in Michigan. I always ordered the same thing: a chili, onion, and mustard hot dog with a heaping side of chili-cheese fries. To this day, I still haven't found a hot dog as tasty as the one from Lipuma's (which we affectionally named "Little Coney Island"). However, Dogtown in Rochester, New York, is pretty comparable.

Jake took me to Dogtown two separate times when I visited him in Rochester. The welcoming red shack is located right downtown. The hot dog menu is impressive; Dogtown prides itself on serving local favorites from across America as well as its own unique hot dogs. You can see the whole menu here. Dogtown has everything from the classic Cincinnati Red Dog (chili sauce and cheddar) to new combinations like the Coyote (salsa, cheddar, sour cream, jalapeño) and the Golden Retriever (bacon and cheddar). The menu also includes fries, burgers, sandwiches, and garbage plates, which you can read about in this blog post.

In an effort to recreate my memories of Lipuma's, I ordered the classic Cincinnati Red Dog with chili and cheddar. The hot dog was drastically different than my childhood favorite – whereas Lipuma's chili was sauce-y, the chili at Dogtown was more chunky due to the the ground beef. The cheddar cheese complimented the chili nicely, though. I just wish the hot dog had some diced onions!

Jake got a simple red hot with ketchup, mustard, sautéed onion, and Dogtown sauce (chili). Note: in Rochester, red hot dogs are referred to as "red hots" and white hot dogs are "white hots." Jake has also ordered the Pit Bull (sautéed peppers and onions, Dogtown sauce, and BBQ sauce). Although he really enjoys the hot dogs, he says they sometimes put on too much chili for his taste. I agree – the chili overwhelmed the hot dog.

The French bread used with Dogtown's hot dogs was interesting since I'd never had a hot dog with French bread before. However, Jake and I prefer the classic soft hot dog bun. The French bread seemed a little too elegant for the greasy hot dog and chili, and the combination seemed off. Soft buns are simply a hot dog staple. Both the french fries and home fries tasted delicious, though!

Jake and I will head back to Dogtown in the future for the cool atmosphere, unique hot dog combinations, and great prices. Hot dogs are typically $3.50 - $4.00 each. While Dogtown gets my approval, I'm still on the hunt to recreate my favorite childhood chili dog from Lipuma's.