Date of Last Visit: Tuesday, March 2 2011
The Victim: @dupreeblue
The Background: I met Mindy at my second foray into the Chicago social media scene at Pierrot Gourmet the other week. She volunteered to be a victim and you know I am always in need of victims. So Westmister Dog on Tuesday it was.
The Hard Part: It’s hard to be a hot dog stand in Chicago. There are a lot of them. But it’s particularly hard if you want to offer a lot of exotic hot dogs because there’s already one place in Chicago that does this: Hot Doug’s. And Doug does his thing awesomely well. (Check out all the photos on Flickr over here.)
So I mean, launching with a crappy interior…you’re just really begging for someone to tell you you suck because your interior sucks. (Doug’s interior is awesome.) Have you watched Trading Spaces? Because seriously…a little paint, a few accessories from Target…it would all go a long way.
But the presentation was pretty crap. This is terrible. I’m not even talking about how the food tastes. But really…firstly, I asked for my hot dog “for here.” And they gave it to me in a take-away bag. (Mindy’s too.) So firstly, that’s wrong. And secondly, your food is just going to look like crap because it’s been delivered in a paper bag.
Part of me likes the little retro French fry envelope. But the other part of me is thinking, “Really. You have a major competitor in Hot Doug’s. Everyone is going to compare you. You know that. Could you not have tried a little harder? Come up with something different?” Any why Restaurant Depot frozen fries? Why not fresh? (I know why. Fresh is hard. It’s manual. The margin is probably higher on frozen as well.)
I don’t normally take the reviews on Yelp seriously, but I think if you read them, you’ll get the gist that while someone here might be able to make hot dogs, they’re not much of a homemaker. (I’m imaging an apartment full of Laz-y boy recliners and big screen TVs. Maybe a dart board. And a calendar of some sort turned to the wrong month.)
I’m already imagining the proprietors reading this. “Who cares what she thinks. We’re about the hot dogs. Not about the decor.” And I don’t disagree. But really…can’t you just take it up a notch? Just one notch? You are making GOURMET HOT DOGS for Chrissake.
I had the Carolina BBQ specialty dog. It came with mustard based bbq sauce and colby jack. I could taste the mustard and barbecue. I could kinda taste the dog. But the dog itself was just too dry.
The Verdict: I really want to like this place. But it needs help! A decorator! A painter! A food stylist! Something. (Rosemary fries! They need rosemary fries!)
Random: Don’t name your hot dog stand after a dog show. Because no one will ever be able to find you on Google.
P.S. Someone needs to report back and tell me if the plants are real. If they are, that spoils my whole Laz-y boy/big screen TV/dart board/old calendar image.