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The Slaw Dogs, Pasadena

I just came across The Slaw Dogs today. They soft-opened a few days ago in the space on North Lake where Fredo's Phillys was. They seem to draw a lot of inspiration from Oinkster and Fab Dogs.

They use Vienna Beef dogs as their basic dog, though they have many other types. We tried their "Original Dog", which is chili, cheese, mustard, onions and cole slaw. The chili was very good (made with Newcastle Ale), done in the perfect style for chili dogs and chili fries. I have to admit I didn't warm up the idea of cole slaw on a hot dog, but they have lots of other promising combos. Their menu says they'll ripper or charbroil dogs on request -- definitely something to try on the next visit. We also tried their Belgian fries and beer battered (Newcastle again) onion rings, which were also good. Sadly, they don't have tater tots. Their menu is quite ambitious, with a lot of unusal combinations and toppings. Their toppings include kimchi, truffle oil, and "thai slaw" (cole slaw with satay and coriander).

The room is completely transformed from when it was Fredo's -- wood and black leather(ette?) furniture and low lighting. No liquor license yet, but they're in the process of applying for one. They hope to serve a selection of craft beers in the future.

All around, a very welcome addition to the neighborhood.

The Slaw Dogs
720 North Lake Ave
Pasadena, CA 91104
626-808-9777
http://www.theslawdogs.com/

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  1. THANK YOU for this, Peri! I love hot dogs and am so glad to have a new option in the 'hood. Will have to try it sometime this weekend (if not today at lunch).
    Also, The Great Kielbasa still has their "coming soon" banner up on that new building on Hill between Colorado and Walnut. When I check the website indicated, thegreatkielbasa.com, it is not currently up so I could not get any info from there. When I drove by earlier this week, there is another banner on the building indicating some other type restaurant (can't remember) will be going into that space as well. Should be interesting! Thanks again!

    6 Replies
    1. re: WildSwede

      WildSwede, glad I could help. I was disappointed when Fredo's closed a month after I moved to Pasadena, though admittedly Fredo's seemed to be running on empty. The Slaw Dogs more than makes up for the loss of Fredo's.

      I hadn't noticed the banner for The Great Kielbasa or the other place. I'll look today. It's inauspicious that the domain name thegreatkielbasa.com isn't even registered.

      1. re: Peripatetic

        I think a lot of people are sorry to see them go. Slaw Dog's is a little pricey, but if they have a quality product, then maybe it will make it...

        The first time I saw the sign several months ago, it had a different hot-dog name on it, but I guess they decided to change it to the Great Kielbasa. We shall have to wait and see just how great they are! ;-)

        1. re: WildSwede

          The other restaurant I noted above is called Local Mediterranean Cafe. Hope it's good!

          1. re: WildSwede

            Is this Koko's moved from Shopper's Lane?

            1. re: mc michael

              Don't know - are they closed?

              1. re: WildSwede

                no info

    2. Drop by Slaw Dogs yesterday for lunch and I must say that I was not disappointed. I'm a big fan of Kosher dogs and I was not disappointed. The dog itself was firm and tasty, and I must say that the list of toppings is pretty overwhelming, with 3 free toppings with each dog, you should be able to customize as you wish. They have good selection of dog types, Vienna beef, natural cased, polish sausage, turkey, chicken sausage, you can eve get your selection of all those toppings on a burger.

      Yes, it is pricey, especially for a hot dog, however, I honestly felt the price was worth it since a decent hot dog is so hard to come by. Nice people, nice looking restaurant.

      I actually ended up going back to pick up dinner for my girl who was working late.

      As for Fredo's, I was sad to see it go, however, quality had dropped off a cliff since the origibnal owner sold it. He was last seen running a hot dog cart at that park at the corner of Walnut and Raymond during the Leavitt events.

      1. Went with the junior pup Friday evening. I had the natural casing beef, and he had the Kosher. Both were char-grilled - my son said it was the best hot dog he's had in L.A. Very nice ambience, and equally nice and agreeable owner. Hopefully a keeper.

        1. In the same 'hood I like El Pollo Unico as an alternative to Pollo Loco. Strictly take-out unless you want zero ambience.

          4 Replies
          1. re: mc michael

            Which do you think is better? EPU or EPL? Have not tried EPU yet, but have heard good things about the food. Thanks!

            1. re: WildSwede

              I'm down with EPU.

            2. re: mc michael

              FYI, the space across the street (west side) that has housed some serious losers is apparently the new home of El Pollo Unico. Parking is only marginally better, though since the lot will be totally theirs and it's NOT on a corner it should be a lot easier to get in and out. And the space is bigger and newer, so a lot of the old ick factor for anyone wanting to dine in would appear to have been addressed. That's good - they deserve a better venue, and that space deserves some good food. No idea of the startup date - there's paper on the windows and a sign saying El Pollo Unico, and that's all I know.

              1. re: Will Owen

                That's good news -- the current parking lot must be the worst one in Pasadena. It always discourages me from going to EPU.

            3. I went back again and had a rippered natural casing dog, and it was outstanding. It's been a while since I was last at Fab Hot Dogs (it was pre-Fieri) , but this one exceeded my recollection of the Bald Eagle. There was no mustard relish, but it was very good with horseradish mustard.

              1. As much of a hot dog purist as I thought I was............... I just love cole slaw on a good dog.

                13 Replies
                1. re: Midlife

                  Me too - I might even like it better than sauerkraut, at least on an otherwise simple one. I just really need to eat it over a plate or napkin...

                  1. re: Will Owen

                    I tried their sauerkraut, too, and it was excellent.

                  2. re: Midlife

                    To be clear, it was great cole slaw and a great dog. I just didn't warm up to the combination, but fortunately there are many other combinations available. Disclaimer: for some reason I don't like peanut butter and jelly together, either.

                    1. re: Peripatetic

                      Oh, well, there goes YOUR credibility right in the toilet... No, seriously, get started on what is or is not proper on a hot dog and you have a 200-entry thread before you know it. It's just nice to know that these folks have the wherewithal to make most of us happy. I would like to know what KIND of coleslaw we're talkin' here - if it's the chopped kind and/or sweet, no thanks for me. I go for creamy shreds...

                      1. re: Will Owen

                        I'd say it was coarsely shredded and creamy. But I have to profess surprise that I'm describing it to you . . . you can probably see it from your window!

                        1. re: Peripatetic

                          No... I can HEAR Lake Ave. okay, I just can't see it! I can see that what I need to do is make a combo stop and hit this place for a dog or two, that poor suffering Armenian chicken place for a couple of side dishes, and something from Lake Ave. Produce. Maybe dessert...

                          Tell ya what, North Lake is getting "foodier" all the time!

                          1. re: Will Owen

                            I KNOW! AND such close proximity to everything WildSwede!! ;-) I am going to Slaw Dogs today since I have to go up there to post some fliers on a dog I found in the area... Slaw Dogs, here I come!!

                            1. re: WildSwede

                              I maintain that Will Owen and Wild Swede are in fact the same person. If you've followed their Chowhound posts over the years as I have, observing just too many similarities to be coincidence, I'm sure you'll agree. Despite the attempt to mislead by responding to himself,
                              I take:"I KNOW! AND such close proximity to everything WildSwede!! ;-)" as a not to subtle clue admitting that. And no :-) inserted here. But is that because I don't do smiley faces or is that because I'm serious??

                              Jonathon Gold just did a blurb about Slaw Dogs:
                              http://blogs.laweekly.com/squidink/fa...
                              They have several things going for them: variety of toppings, a more limited variety of dogs, and cooking methods- grilled,chargrilled and ripper (deep fried) along w/ using Vienna beef wieners.
                              Ordered the chilli natural casing dog, didn't notice any distinctive snap to the dog so I'm not sure natural casing is what I got. Overall good but nothing special. Big disappointment was that the bun was split, making for a messy exp till I used knife& fork (J. Gold remarked about this too). Hot dogs should not be eaten w/ a knife and fork any more than they should be eaten using feet....someone's else's feet....after gym. Also a no-no: mustard was served on the side. tough to spread esp on chilli dog. That's easily taken care of by telling them to squiggle it on in the future. As mentioned it's kind of pricey ($8 for my dog and fries) but I saw Langer's, the only other place around serving Vienna beef that I know of (Know any others?), charges $6 for their "Super Dog". So, considering there's Vienna beef dogs close by and the huge choice of available toppings, I'm willing to spring for that. Next time chargrilled. Though It sure would be nice if they could do an authentic Chicago dog.
                              The fries,advertised as Belgian (though they are not thick, I take it they mean fresh & twice fried) were very good and traveled surprisingly well, about 15 minutes till consuming.

                              1. re: ilikefood

                                I can assure you that the very female WildSwede and the adequately male Mr. O are two very different persons*, though we have shared more than one table. In fact, we have on one occasion conversed with Mr. Gold together. We do have similar tastes, though we like different things in our pho...

                                Anyway, I meant to go there today myself, but had too many perishable leftovers. Mebbe Mrs. O (the real Dog Hound in the family) and I can drop in over the weekend. Grilled plain w/slaw sounds good.

                                * The "Swede" part, for starters, as opposed to my pan-British/German makeup.

                                1. re: ilikefood

                                  ilikefood, you are too funny! Will Owen and Wild Swede are not the same person. I'm married to Will, and I know Wild Swede. They're kindred spirits, but two entirely different people.

                                  1. re: Chauve Souris

                                    By "kindred spirits" I think she means "equally enslaved by anything with potatoes and cream"...

                                    1. re: Will Owen

                                      Yessir!! ;-) Like, I am still laughing - too funny. I actually have pictures that include both Will and me, so...
                                      I did end up going to Slaw Dog on Friday for lunch. I orderd the chili cheese onion mustard "snap" dog, the 1/2 fries, 1/2 sweet potato fries (side of Chipotle Mayo) and iced tea. Came to over $13. I was not overly impressed with the dog - not a lot of flavor and the ones you can get at Ralph's have much more snap and flavor. Chili was good and I loved to gobs of shredded cheddar but as mentioned before, the bun fell apart before my second bite (but I did get one in before it collapsed). I could do without the fries, but those sweet potato fries (with the delicious chipotle mayo) were out of this world. I think I only ate one of the fries and spent the rest of my time picking out the sweet potato ones and trying not to have the chili drip on my white top. I was looking for a Chicago Dog and thought to myself it would be a nice addition to the list.
                                      The owner was wonderful and made sure everyone was happy. I asked him how he came up with the combinations on the menu and he said he just put what he likes. I told him it is great that his taste runs the gamut of everything imagineable!!
                                      I think I will try a chargrilled dog next time and order only the sweet potato fries. My tastebuds are currently singing just thinking of them!!
                                      PS - did you see my found dog flier? He put it right on the counter in front of the register.

                      2. re: Midlife

                        Nothing wrong with slaw on a dog -- that's southern style! Never had it with chili as well like Slaw Dogs serves it, but that sounds divine.

                      3. Hey their burgers are very good too! Gotta love this place great dogs and burgers and nice owner.

                        1. Mr. and Mrs. O finally made it to Slaw Dogs for lunch today, along with lots and lots of other people. Yes, the joint was jumpin', and everybody seemed really happy, especially the two women running the place. We both picked the Spicy Polish, which turned out to be slimmer and firmer than the juicy Chicago items of my youth, but damned tasty anyway. I got kraut, garlic mayo and horseradish mustard on mine, plus fries, while Ms. Tubesteak Freak had cheddar, Dijon mustard and relish, plus some of the ketchup from the fries, and a side of coleslaw. We each had iced tea and of course shared the sides. I'm not fond of leaving the skins on fries but they were very good anyway, and the slaw was dynamite - a somewhat creamy dressing with maybe some celery seed and something else more elusive, and rather coarsely shredded cabbage. At just shy of twenty bucks for all that this ain't McDonald's, but it sure was lunch, and we're already plotting what we'll get next time. This place is within walking distance for us, a fact which I think it will be a very good idea for us to remember, given the calorie load...

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: Will Owen

                            My fiance and I were looking at a house (to buy) around the corner from there and we both remarked on the dietary danger that would be incurred by living so close to this place. I think we'll opt for a something a little further up the hill.

                            After having been here a few time, I too must admit that I'm a little bothered by the fact that my bun rarely stays in tact after the first few bites. Other than that, though, and the continuing lack of beer, I have very few complaints. I'm a big fan of Kosher dogs and theirs is great.

                            1. re: inlikeflt

                              "After having been here a few time, I too must admit that I'm a little bothered by the fact that my bun rarely stays in tact"

                              I have to agree. They may be aware of the problem:

                              http://twitter.com/theslawdogs/status...

                              1. re: Peripatetic

                                I must say that neither of us had the slightest problem with our buns (except for those hard chairs, oops, 'scuse me). And I'd've thought my massive load of kraut would have stressed it to the max, especially after I stuffed it all well down into the interior. Until inlikeflt mentioned it in fact I'd forgotten there'd been any problem.

                                1. re: Will Owen

                                  Hey, maybe it's just me and my dog eating technique. Perhaps I learn a more ginger touch...

                                  1. re: inlikeflt

                                    Wrong again, Grasshopper. The secret (or maybe not, but it's how I always eat those things) is to grasp the buns firmly in both hands in such a way as to preclude anything going anywhere except into the mouth. BOTH hands. Clean up later. I have to do that, for otherwise everything from burgers to tacos (hard or soft) will simply explode on (and all over) me.

                                    1. re: Will Owen

                                      Perhaps that's why they give you wet napkins with every order at this place.

                          2. Went last night after reading Thi's great writeup in the Thursday paper. Despite the rain the place was HOPPING, but the four of us did not have a hard time finding a table.

                            The dogs were really good; my wife had the Original and I had the Green Monster. I think I'd prefer it with Hatch versus Pasilla chiles, or even fresh Jalapenos ... just something to impart a bit more heat, but it was still quite tasty. The Original was also delicious, I loved the creamy slaw contrasted against the snap of the dog and the meatiness of the chili.

                            Service was quite nice and quick, despite everything being so frenetic.

                            Unfortunately, even though it was only 7, they had already run out of Onion Rings and Amy's Fudge. I'd imagine that they just weren't quite prepared for the influx of customers given said writeup.

                            My only problem, which is not a small one for a lover like myself, is that the Fries were anything but Belgian style pommes frites. In fact, both my wife and I commented that these seemed like nothing more than Sysco fries; and the sweet potato ones were just as poor. Not enough salt, basically cold, and did not have a great flavor.

                            I'd have to say that I prefer Fabs; I feel the dogs are just as good (though, like Crif Dogs in NYC, I LOVE slaw on a dog), and the Tots are far and away better than anything fried we tried at Slaw.

                            As always, YMMV.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: a213b

                              They've been mobbed every time we've driven by since Thursday. I guess SOMEBODY is reading the Times... last night there were damn near as many outside as in, it looked like. Kinda like Fab's, which leads me to believe that there's a hell of a market for a good hot dog.

                            2. The Slaw Dogs is one of my favorite Pasadena places. The best items are the ones not on the menu. My personal favorite is the Hulk which is a spicier version of the Green Monster (get it?). Since they've been opened I've tried just about everything on the menu and have yet to be disappointed.
                              Their specials are inspired, chili-cheese fries are some of the best in town, their burgers can hold their own too! The fries are good but not nearly as Belgian as they used to be (they used to be better) but, put some chili and cheese on those suckers and you are a happy camper.
                              And the owners are absolutely the nicest people. I think I'll go tomorrow.

                              -----
                              The Slaw Dogs
                              720 N Lake Ave, Pasadena, CA 91104