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Tube Steaks in Alameda

Am in search of an edible hot dog in the Island city. My two references for doggie delights are those offered up by the late, great "Hot Dog Harry" Yaglapian at his tiny, dirty- pink "Kaspar's Original" kiosk on the traffic island at Telegraph and Shattuck in North Oakland,(The franks "popped" and spurted savory juices when you bit in, which is an absolute requisite for excellence in tube steakery) and, of course, the multiple pleasures
of Berkeley's Top Dogs.

Anything close in Alameda?

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  1. Man, I sure do miss Henry. http://www.originalkaspers.com/home.html So sad. The page was last updated in 2004...promising to re-open.

    Here's more to aid the nostalgia:

    1. The only "tubesteak" specialist in Alameda that I know of is The Pampered Pup, which recently reopened after having been closed for a couple of years after a fire.

      I wandered in there a few weeks ago, and I remember noticing that they were serving dogs by one of the local sausage makers, although I don't remember which one. Miller's?

      Anyway, they're more in the vein of Kasper's than Top Dog -- not a lot of fancy sausages, just traditional dogs (although not so traditionally, it was the first place I ever saw tapioca tea, musta been 20 years ago).


      I just remembered there's a Top Dog knock-off in the Marina Village center (next to the Tube). Darn. Can't remember the name. Ah, search reveals it's called "Dog Out."

      Pampered Pup
      1401 Park St, Alameda, CA 94501

      Dog Out
      831 Marina Village Pkwy, Alameda, CA 94501

      23 Replies
      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        Dog Out seems to be some sort of Top Dog franchise since the offering are more or less exactly the same. I think they wanted .50 cents more then Top Dog which just made me wait.

        1. re: ML8000

          There's some kind of relationship -- when I went in there shortly after it opened the manager explained it to me, but I can't recall the details now.

        2. re: Ruth Lafler

          I've tried both Pampered Pup and Dog Out, and a few other Alameda weiner outposts, and sadly, the offerings I sampled- plain, unembellished hot dogs- were pretty uninspired, definately nothing close to the quality of Original Kaspar's or Top Dog.
          So plan B is a trip to Dave Samaljian's Baron's Meats and some serious home tube steaking-
          And- based on what I tasted, I would seriously doubt that Alameda's Dog Out is related to Top Dog,

          As for the juvenile "tubesteak" comments......No comment.

          1. re: alameda fats

            I totally agree with the PP, Dog Out comments. Years ago, McGee's did a good dog, I haven't tried Bips (one visit was enough and it was for a burger) or Nations. How about Jims at the golf course? I haven't tried that but other stuff I have had is good and they seem to sell a lot.
            And yes, tubesteaks on CH, absolutely, we don't eat arugula, burrata and crudo every day! Why the ever present search for burgers and pizza and the implied sneer at hot dogs? A great dog is great food!

            1. re: foodfan

              I tried Bip's "Big Dog"; it's a Hebrew National-style large beef frank , grilled, on a
              toasted French roll, with a sparse smattering of tomato and onion. You get
              mustard, relish et al, from little plastic pouches. No celery salt or other great
              hot dog necessities. Certainly nothing special. I didn't try Nation's on Webster,
              although I made the effort. The condiment bar was too befouled and empty to use,
              so I left I'll give Jim's a shot. Thanks.
              FYI- "Tubesteak" is also a rather infantile slang term for something-ahem- other
              than a hot dog or sausage..

            2. re: alameda fats

              Dog Out is definitely related in some way to Top Dog, but there was something about the Top Dog itself being trademarked or proprietary or something.

              Baron's might not be the best place for just plain hot dogs -- I think they usually have the Niman Fearless Franks, which are to be avoided. If they have the Niman old fashioned, those are much better. Their housemade sausages are excellent, but that doesn't sound like what you're looking for. I think the meat market inside the Encinal Market might be a better bet for classic dogs.

              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                Thanks for the Baron's tip, Ruth. I would have bought the Fearless Franks.
                I tried Joe Scalise and Sons at Encinal Market, since they carry Boar's
                Head and a "Caspar's" -style sausage, but both were unremarkable, and,
                quite frankly, (terrible pun intended) both tasted like they'd been around awhile.

                Sigh. No hot dog heaven in Alameda.
                There's a Caspar's on MacArthur near Coolidge in East Oakland. The only
                problem is, you have to drive through International and Fruitvale to get there,
                in which case I'll probably forget the hot dog thing and get a nice chalupa

                1. re: alameda fats

                  Some of the supermarkets carry Caspar's (not Kaspar's) hot dogs. I think the new Nob Hill does.

                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                      Ruth, you and I are on the same wavelength. I went to Nob Hill and picked
                      up some Caspar's franks, and also an old reliable favorite, Evergood
                      Old Fashioned franks. The Caspar's cooked up ok, (steamed), with a
                      moderate "pop" and a subtle spiciness, but were rather dry, not at all
                      as good as the restaurant product. However, the Evergood were great- juicy, flavorful, with a profound "pop", and when ensconsed in a steamed,
                      cottony white-bread bun with French's mustard, freshly sliced vine-ripened
                      backyard Early Girls and some finely chopped yellow onions, were
                      vaguely reminiscent of "Hot Dog Harry's" North Oakland masterpieces.
                      Now all I need is a source for Yoo-Hoo, and my tube steak quest is comptete.

                      1. re: alameda fats

                        I see Yoo-Hoo around sometimes, but I can't offhand think of a specific place. If one comes to me, I'll let you know. :)

                        You know there are a couple of Kaspar's (not Caspar's) still around, don't you? There's one on Hesperian near the Bay Fair mall, for example.

                        Check out this site: http://www.urbanspoon.com/f/6/531/SF-...

                        Kasper's Hot Dogs
                        15251 Hesperian Blvd, San Leandro, CA 94578

                        Kasper's Hot Dogs
                        24020 Hesperian Blvd, Hayward, CA 94545

                        Kasper's Hot Dogs
                        26953 Mission Blvd, Hayward, CA 94544

                        Kaspers Hot Dogs
                        34672 Alvarado Niles Rd, Union City, CA 94587

                        Kasper's Hot Dogs
                        39020 Argonaut Way, Fremont, CA 94538

                        Kasper's Hot Dogs
                        5450 Newpark Plaza, Newark, CA 94560

                        Kasper's Hot Dogs
                        3300 E Castro Valley Blvd, Castro Valley, CA 94552

                        Kasper's Hot Dogs
                        699 Lewelling Blvd, San Leandro, CA 94579

                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                          I always used to talk Hotdogology with Hot Dog Harry back in the day,
                          and he always bragged that his franks were "custom-made" to his recipe
                          by some mysterious West Oakland sausage maker. Plus, according to
                          Harry, his Kaspar"s was the Original. So the magic of Harry's titanic
                          tube steaks died with him, probably never to be replicated. Sniff.

                          But hell- I'm too fat to be eating hot dogs anyway.

                          1. re: alameda fats

                            Browsing another one of my guaranteed to make me hungry spots, I came across this and couldn't resist posting it for you. Keep it in mind if you get to Portland ~ http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Write...

                            1. re: alameda fats

                              Harry's son is still alive. I wish he would pass that recipe on to someone or sell it. I never could get Harry to spill the beans about the franks.

                              1. re: rworange

                                "Spill the beans about the franks?" Marrone mia, that's awful! (Tee hee hee)
                                Regarding Harry's son, IMHO, the effects of "urban blight" (i,e, several armed robberies at the store) probably dissuaded him from keeping
                                the old place running. Sad. However, with the Temescal area rapidly
                                becoming a new gourmet ghetto, maybe he'll decide to dust off the old steamer and make a "bun-a-fide" effort to once again cut the mustard. I certainly would relish that possibilty, because Original Kaspar's tube steaks, quite frankly, were a real "weiner."

                              2. re: alameda fats

                                The other Kaspers-with-a-K are all descendents of the original -- there's a whole history of Kaspers and the Casper's split right on the wall of the one on Hesperian. Anyway, I stopped in there yesterday, and had a Kasper's dog, and darned if it wasn't good: snappy casing, slightly spicy/smoky. Yum! I assume they're using the orginal dogs -- or at least, I don't know why they wouldn't be!

                        2. re: Ruth Lafler

                          What's wrong with Fearless Franks? I've never had them, but assumed they would be good since they're from Niman Ranch (whose bratwursts are great).

                          1. re: Ozumo

                            The class franks are good, but the Fearless franks are bland and mushy.

                            BTW, if you're really into hot dogs, you can get 5 pound packs of Miller's (local hound fave) at Smart and Final (there's one on the corner of 42nd and International -- across from the El Gordo taco wagon).

                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                              Sadly, Niman ranch no longer makes the classic franks. those were my favorite hot dogs. Boar's Head and Saag's make a good classic skin on frank though.

                              1. re: matt c

                                Oh, too bad! I tried the Saag's for the first time a while back, and they're very good: slightly spicy and a good snap to the casing.

                                The new Farmer Joe's in Oakland's Dimond district has a really good selection of local sausages, from standards like Saag's to more artisan varieties. A staff member there told me the guy who does the buying for that department is really into sausage.

                              2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                Thanks for the warning, I probably would have bought those eventually. I'll just stick to their brats...

                      2. You might want to try the Dog Out, 831 Marina Village Pkwy. Its in a strip mall and I think its a chain, but its still pretty good.

                        1. Well, if the closed Kaspar's was close enough for you, on Friday at the Old Oakland Farmer's market DiBrova sells hot dogs and sausages. I love most of their sausages, but didn't like the dog because there was too much bun to dog ration. They use the same buns as for the sausages.