Ostentatious-ness is out. Pricey restaurants are feeling the squeeze. The entire downtown population is pinching pennies and gorging itself on cheap hot dogs at lunchtime. And though the economic forecast looks bleak, things are looking very, very good for the hot dog.
Good Dog/Bad Dog
The lowly hot dog gets the gourmet treatment at this veritable bachelor pad of a hot dog stand. Jaded singles complain that there are no men in this town? They're in here! And the men Ñ not a middle-aged ponytail in sightÑ appear to have both jobs and access to showers. The dogs? Smothered in grilled onions, if you like, and served on either a hard or soft roll. Most popular is the Oregon Smokey ($4.75), a hickory-smoked garlic, molasses and cayenne pepper sausage.
708 S.W. Alder St., 503-222-3410
Wynn's Hot Dogs: King Dog & the Weenie Queen
Has four years of runaway success spoiled Jeff and Kathy Wynn? The answer is a resounding 'no.' They've served righteous New York-style hot dogs to office workers and tourists alike. The dogs are from Fletcher's Meats in Canada.
This menu is not for the shy. Choose from the Seattle Dog (an unholy combination of Philadelphia cream cheese and bacon) or the more reasonable sounding Chicago Dog (sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, celery salt). Other tasty options include the Portland Dog (a combo of the Seattle and Chicago Dog), Naked Dog, Chili Dog or Chicken and Apple Sausage.
Why not stick to tradition? The Naked Dog is a plain, 8-inch, quarter-pound hot dog ($3) served on a sourdough bun and wrapped to go in a piece of foil. Mustard, ketchup, relish and onions are available. 'Newcomers always like the Naked Dog,' Jeff Wynn says.
Corner of Southwest Fourth Avenue and Morrison Street, 503-309-6028
All beef, no fillers! This downtown newcomer sells a variety of sausages and franks, but the menu's alpha dog is the fantastic Hebrew National Frankfurter, which comes via special delivery from the Bronx.
David is the chatty former Angeleno stooped inside the tiny trailer, head grazing the ceiling. The Hebrew ($2.75) is an all-pork dog in a casing. It's lovingly grilled with little cuts in it to give the dog a barbecue flavor. Got a penchant for spice? Try the Louisiana Red Hot Sausage.
Corner of Southwest Taylor Street and Park Avenue, 503-740-9043
Hot Dog on a Stick
'There's mustard touching my hot dog!' a child screamed as his grandmother brought his corn dog to the table. To underscore his point, he tried to flip the table with his chubby arms and a few rams of his barrel chest. Little did he know that she had her foot anchoring it down, poor little guy.
However, once the mustard was wiped away, he appeared to enjoy his hot dog immensely.
Other menu items include Cheese on a Stick, Hot Dog on a Bun, a veggie dog and fresh squeezed lemonade prepared with a pogo stick.
Pioneer Place Food Court, 888 S.W. Fifth Ave., 503-224-5809