The leftovers of patriotism from July 4th still lingered. It was Friday, the work week was winding down, and something was missing. My life felt incomplete, and I couldn’t process complete thoughts or remember Taylor Swift lyrics. There was a void inside me that mere mortals could never hope to explain. How does one fulfill this void? Impromptu hot dog review. There aren’t a lot of good dog spots near work, but luckily my coworkers and I found one in an iconic American building: Grand Central Terminal. If you haven’t been, its a pretty magnificent place. Spanning 48 acres, accommodating 21.6 million visitors per year, and hosting 525,600 minutes of flash dances, the picture below puts it all in perspective. ‘Murica.
In case you didn’t realize it, I made a Rent joke just then… like, the musical. Anyways, pictured above is the menu. Notice that they chose the McDonald’s marketing method — everything starts with Frankies. The place is humble, signs are small, and it is literally in the middle of the Grand Central food court. So, the atmosphere leaves something to be desired, but I honestly don’t care if the wiener is good. The variety offered here is exactly what every dog fan wants. There are hot dogs for all moods, but I have to play by the rules, so I simply asked for their best dog. The employee working that day wasn’t too sure what that was. She tried to ask me questions, to which I replied, “your best dog.” Confused and frustrated, she eventually landed on a Chicago Dog, because, well, it “sounded good”. I honestly think she chose it because it was first on the menu. Strike one, Frankies. Rule number 14 of a hot dog stand: employees must know and love their product. So, I order a Chicago and also a classic with mustard. This is a meal, not a snack.
After ordering, time suddenly became a factor as we realized we had to get back to the office for a 1:00 meeting. Luckily this is Frankie’s “On The Go”, so the dogs were packaged up and we headed back. Strike 2, Frankies. Hot dogs are called hot dogs because they are best at a certain temperature: hot. Any transportation time can severely jeopardize this crucial factor. The entire walk back I was sweating. This wasn’t because of the temperature outside, oh no, I was sweating with anticipation. Finally we get back to the office, we all unearth our dogs, dial in to the conference call, and dig in.
I started with the Chicago dog. It looks amazing. Tomotoes, peppers, pickles, onions, mustard, and spices. I’ve had some amazing Chicago style weenies before and this looks up to the test. The first bite was great. Then, in between the time I had to say something on the conference call and the time I would take the next bite, I was hit with it. The spice on this dog invaded my mouth and took my taste buds hostage. I wasn’t allowed to taste anything else. It was overbearing and, quite simply, just too much. This experience was kind of like when you go to a party and there’s the really loud outgoing guy with a bright shirt and a dumb haircut. You really like him at first, but after about 2 minutes of conversation you realize that he sucks. The actual frank looked like a quality sausage, the bun was well prepared, but the toppings were overkill. At this point, I wasn’t feeling great about Frankies.
Next was the classic yellow mustard dog — always my favorite. This was a high quality hot dog. I thoroughly enjoyed it and it was prepared very well. I have two critiques: the bun should be toasted more, and the wiener should be charred more. Furthermore, the 3 guys I went with all had great looking, well-reviewed dogs. Dick had one with baked beans, the intern had something epic, and even gluten free Joey V had a bunless dog that looked halfway decent. You’ll never catch me eating a dog without a bun, but even this was probably better than my Chicago dog. (As long as it wasn’t served with an Angry Orchard or a Redbridge.)
My review: 2 weenies.
In summary, the place has potential and I will probably go back for a different dog. The problem is that on that day there was a lady working there who told me that their best dog was their worst dog. Little did they know that nyweenies.com was in the house and I don’t mess around. Strike 3, Frankies. You put a non-hot-dog-lover at the helm and I will expose that weakness. If you are Megatron, I am the cold. If you are Achilles, I am your heel. I found your kryptonite, Frankies. Now the world will know your secrets. (But your yellow mustard dog was pretty damn good.)
P.S. National Hot Dog Day is Thursday…