Best Hot Dog
It's not just Vienna beef franks we've come to love from the Wienery, it's the toppings with combinations like mayonnaise, cheese, and sauerkraut tucked into a soft poppy-seed bun and named the "Hairy Brain." Or the "Upsetter," made with bacon, egg, and cheese over a spicy Italian sausage. Or the Chicago-style dog served with classic relish, onion, tomato, sport peppers, pickle, and celery salt, and most suitably paired with hand-cut fries (also some of the best in town, hands down). The average price of a topped dog is less than $4 — obviously not because owner Pat Starr is out for big profit. "I'm not too concerned about making money. I'm here to help keep the heart of this neighborhood strong," he says. Starr greets his regulars by name; from taxi drivers and Vietnam vets to members of the local artists' community and counterculture punks, he knows and feeds them all at this Cedar-Riverside institution. He charms them through the lunch rush and listens to their stories. The wall holds a collection of hospital-ID wristbands from patrons who've headed over after a hard night to hear this bearded, blue-eyed, toboggan-topped Starr chuckle through whatever kind of day brought them to the Wienery.