1934 C 14th St. NW
Washington, DC 20009
ChiDogOs opened several months ago near the intersection of U Street and 14th in what was once a fried seafood carryout. Bookended by a McDonalds and a KFC/Taco Bell, it is perhaps seeking to provide a modestly heart-healthier, but still amply cholesterol clogging, alternative to these establishments by slinging Chicago-style hot dogs and Italian Beef sandwiches to the hordes of late night U Street barflies too drunk to realize they are spending $10 on two hot dogs.
The interior attempts to be edgy and hip with pockmarked metallic paneling on the tables and a little exposed brick wall near the condiments. Unfortunately, the interior is very sterile and cold, something I imagine a prison canteen would feel like (if it accepted cartons of cigarettes, sexual favors, or American Express as legal tender, then this place could double as an exhibit at the Crime and Punishment museum). It didn't help that the tables weren't wiped down with regularity and that I was sitting next to one with a puddle of drying soda on it.
I ordered two Chicago styled hot dogs that were "run through the garden." This means that on top of your Vienna Beef dogs, you get slices of tomato, a pickle spear, some relish, mustard, celery salt, and sport peppers. And, to be fair, they were pretty decent: the tomatoes obviously came from a Peruvian greenhouse and the relish didn't have the artificially radioactive green intensity I come to expect from a Chicago dog, but all in all, it wasn't bad. Of course, I am a fan of Vienna Beef, which is a 100% beef frankfurter stuffed in natural casings, and ChiDogOs did not do anything particularly special with them...they were either simply boiled or steamed. But, at least, they have the wisdom not to screw up a simple and good thing like this frankfurter by trying to be unnecessarily avant-garde, such as wrapping it in a purple maize tortilla with a dollop of escargot foam and then dipping it in liquid nitrogen. Of course, whether this exercise in simplicity and goodness is worth $10 is another question entirely.