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Hot dogs, Vienna beef and Home Depot

I was reading Rhulman's (The Soul of a Chef, The Reach of a Chef) blog on hot dogs and he reccommended Vienna Beef franks made in Chicago. I went to their site and found in Austin 3 people used them, Luck Dog, no longer in existence, Manny Hattens, which I have never tried and the hot dog stand at the Home Depot store in Buda. Anyone have any comments about this dog, in casing or not, and have you tried the one at the HD in Buda? I miss the hot dog stand at the north side HD and think it was a real disservice to their customers not to have the guy there. He told me one time, at the old HD site, that his rent was something like 700 a month to set up his stand there. I would be interested in comments. Thanks, J.

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  1. I use to love getting a sausage or beef frank and a soda at costco for 1.50...though it has been a long time....

    1 Reply
    1. re: chowinginaustin

      The costco dogs are a good bargain, but the last few times that I have had them, the buns suffered from sitting in the steamer too long. Kind of sticky.

    2. I spotted Lucky Dog in Round Rock near La Frontera last week.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Rene

        Lucky Dog's website has their address as wel as mentioning this Vienna beef:


        1. re: Carter B.

          We stopped by Lucky Dog today, the first time and it was quite good. I personally added too much mustard because I only checked one side of the bun but the Vienna Chicago Dog seems fairly competent to me. I liked the sport peppers. The poppy seed bun, pickle spear, tomatoes and funky green relish were all there.

      2. I think it's important to note that there are various tiers of Vienna products -- some dogs have that nice natural-casing snap, others are of the skinless variety, and there are I'm sure multiple subdivisions within those two categories (10:1, 8:1, etc.). I guess I just say this to temper your expectations.

        Costco dog is Hebrew National if I'm not mistaken.

        I've been meaning to try the dog at Casino el Camino now for a while, supposed to be a good one ........

        1. Target, of all places, used to sell them at their snack bar (Ohlen/183, at least). It was a 1/4lb (1/5th?) version. The knockwurst, I believe. But last I looked at the menu (at Lamar/290) they didn't specifically say it was Vienna Beef on the menu like it used to.

          Specs Chicago Dog was pretty darn good and quite authentic (minus the food coloring), but I couldn't identify which brand of skin-on hot dog it was. Could have been Boars Head. It was a good meal with the onion rings (they gave me about 12-14 tasty o-rings even though the receipt said the small order was only supposed to be 6 rings. Still, I couldn't finish them).

          The skinless Vienna dogs are available at HEB. But most hot dog aficionados require the skin-on version. They're still pretty good. Slightly better than Hebrew National.


          1. Thanks for your posting. Are you no longer also on 2300 Gudadelupe?

            1. There's a joint in downtown San Antonio called Jerry's Chicago Style Hot Dogs. He imports EVERYTHING from Chicago...Vienna hot dogs, buns, florescent green relish, sport peppers, etc. He has italian beef sandwiches, polish dogs (from Chi also), etc. He's from Chicago and wanted to do it exactly like there. It is very, very good and worth seeking out if you are down there for some reason.

              1. Chicago-style and Vienna Beef hotdogs aren't my favorite. I'm partial to the NY style / Sabrett's. But I have seen a place on the west side of S. Lamar just North of the Brodie Oaks shopping center that purports to sell Chicago-style dogs.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Brian Lindauer

                  I've forgotten the name of this place as well, but the Chicago dog is good and the Italian beef wasn't bad either.

                  1. re: Brian Lindauer

                    Chris Little Chicago (though doing Chicago style to the max) has New York style dogs(kraut and mustard) Chili dogs (chili onion and cheese) Austin style (Mango salsa and avocado) Slaw Dogs and mini dogs great seasoned fries and a really friendly owner and staff (Nancy). Eat and Enjoy

                    1. re: baseball junkie

                      Austin style is mango and avocado? Is this something they have determined themselves, or has there been some consensus somewhere made?

                      I'm not entirely serious, but I wonder what a proper austin style hot dog would be.

                  2. The place at 3600 S Lamar is called Chris' Little Chicago and it's another one of Austin's little trailer eateries. The Austin American Statesman said "Neon green relish. Large, crisp tomato wedges. Full pickle spears. Chopped onions. Fresh sport peppers and celery salt atop a plump all-beef Vienna dog that sits in a poppy-seed bun. That’s a classic Chicago-style hot dog." Once my Chicagoan husband got wind of that, he became a convert and drives down there as often as he can from far northwest Austin. Highly recommended.

                    1. You don't have to drive to Buda or San Antonio for the best Chicago taste in Austin. Run to a great red trailer at 3600 S. Lamar better known as "Chris' Little Chicago". All his meat products are Vienna including the poppy seed buns. He offers 8 varietys of dogs, authentic Italian beef, Maxwell St. Polish, great chili and slaw. When you get food this delicious and the proprieter and staff are so very friendly and accomodating there is no need to go anywhere else. There's horseshoes to pass the time on that lazy afternoon and why sit inside when the view there is amazing espically at sunset.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: baseball junkie

                        Google Maps shows Chris' Little Chicago as pretty close to the intersection with Ben White (Little Panther Trail), but the Chronicle has it "near Zilker Park." which is accurate?

                        1. re: ridgeback

                          Where I've seen Chris' Little Chicago for the last couple of months has been on So. Lamar across from the Broken Spoke, but a little farther down toward Ben White. It's pretty much just before that Brodie Oaks shopping center on the right if you're driving south.

                          1. re: ridgeback

                            It's just across Lamar from the Wendy's burger place in an empty lot. There is parking there.

                          2. re: baseball junkie

                            I stopped at Chris' Little Chicago last weekend for lunch. Excellent. Since I didn't want to choose between the 2, I had a chicago dog as an appetizer and the italian meatball sammy for the main. Each was really terrific.

                            1. re: ridgeback

                              Found out that Chris Little Chicago does Meatball sammys one weekend and Pulled Pork w/ slaw on the others They had sold out on the day I went so will have to try again

                              1. re: baseball junkie

                                Well worth the jaunt! I think what they told me was they start serving the weekend special on Thursday. It's a good reason to try to take some time for a visit during the week.

                                Very nice folks serving quality food. Thanks for the tip.

                          3. FWIW, there's a chain called Freddy's Frozen Custard that's about to open (maybe already has) in the 1890 Ranch shopping center in Cedar Park. Their online menu lists a Chicago Dog made with Vienna Beef franks. I cannot vouch for it as I've never eaten at one of their locations.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: yum72

                              OK, let me amend the above reply. Freddy's is now open. Had lunch there today. My family enjoyed it. I'd compare their burgers and frozen custards to Culver's, and their fries are similar to those at Steak 'n Shake. I did have one of their hot dogs, though, and truly liked it...really good flavor, nice snappy bite. My favorite part was the bun. They use my favorite type of hot dog bun; it's basically a bun shaped piece of thick toast that gets griddled. I love my hot dogs like this. I didn't have the Chicago style as that's not my thing. Normally I'd order a chili cheese dog, but today I just got plain so that I could sample the beef dog. Needless to say, I'll definitely go back.

                              1. re: yum72

                                Good dogs at Freddy's but not natural casing dogs. Before I tried one I asked the owner if they were natural casing dogs and he had no idea what I was talking about!

                            2. Rockets on 5th between Congress and Colorado advertises that they use Vienna Beef. A friend who was a Chicago expat (back in Chicago now) regularly stopped by for their Rocket Dog when he wanted a taste of home, but doesn't find it 100% authentic because they toast the buns.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Blanche Davidian

                                Rocket's dogs are really expensive (around $4, I think), whichs boots them off of my list.