Is there any way that hot dogs can be good for you? I think we all know the answer to that question. But Willie’s Dawgs, located in a cheery sliver of space on 5th Avenue in Park Slope, is doing its best to change the frankfurter’s reputation.
Willie’s opened back in February and has been attracting the young (and the young-at-heart) ever since. The orange-hued dining room hosts an amusing, celebratory hot-dog mural, while a walk to the back leads to an outdoor eating area that’s just perfect on sunny afternoons.
The main attractions, of course, are the dawgs, and Willie’s offers 6 varieties, served on fresh-baked, hand-made rolls. When was the last time you had a hot dog on homemade bread? Yes, I remember, never.
The house dawgs include the Mutt, described as an all-beef frank in natural casing ($3); the Bird, composed of turkey or chicken ($3); and the Downward Facing Dog, made from tofu ($3.50). Associating yoga with hot dogs is pretty risky, but so is eating hot dogs from a street cart. I’d take Willie’s anyday.
I ordered the Mutt, and then considered Willie’s combinations. If you’re the independent sort, you can top your dog with whatever you like. But Willie’s has invented some compositions that shouldn’t be missed.
I went with the Daisy, which paired my Mutt with sweet pickle relish, mustard, and cheddar cheese on a multigrain roll ($3.50). Jim also got a Mutt, but Spike(d) it with red onions and jalapenos ($3.50). We both agreed that we had expected a little more snap! from our hot dogs when we bit into them, but these franks were really quite tasty. Jim’s dog was spicy while mine was sweet, so we had it all covered.
I also sampled some fries, which could have been a little crisper ($2.50). The onion rings were nice and crunchy though, and we wondered if they were breaded with panko, our new favorite bread crumb ($2.75).
Willie’s Dawgs can’t totally change the historical perception of the hot dog; there’s just too much there. But I am willing to test history more than once and return. And hopefully our little friend in the photo will too (even though he didn’t eat his Beenie-Weenies! ($2.50))
351 5th Avenue (between 4th and 5th Streets in Park Slope, Brooklyn) 718-832-2941