Sunday, April 27, 2014


There are several things that, to me, mark the beginning of the spring and summer seasons.  The smell of fresh cut grass, girls in sundresses (even when it's still too cool outside), day drinking, and hot dogs.  Glorious, glorious hot dogs.  I can't bring myself to eat hotdogs during the winter, so by the time that warm weather comes around, I am usually ready for a crispy grilled wiener.  Unfortunately, my grill is still hibernating from winter.  Fortunately, there exist places in Pittsburgh like Franktuary. 

I've previously mentioned Pittsburgh's plentiful and diverse neighborhoods with the wide variety of inhabitants contributing to the overall color of the city.  Last night, Stemstar and I ventured to the city's Lawrenceville neighborhood, an area brimming with eclectic flare, hipster localvores and unique dining venues nestled among refurbished buildings and repurposed spirit.  The sidewalks are teeming with flannel shirts, non-prescription oversized glasses and ironic Oxford shoes; naturally, Stemstar and I stood out in our J. Crew preppy threads.

We intended to visit Lawrenceville's annual Art All Night event, an overnight art show featuring the works of local artists, highlighting performers and allowing many cultures to collide within a warehouse setting.  Before surrendering ourselves to artists and artwork that we are not deep enough to understand, Stemstar and I first surrendered to gourmet hot dogs at Franktuary.

Franktuary is located conveniently on Butler Street, but does offer a Downtown location and food truck.  Ginger Sister and I had dined at Franktuary last summer and immediately fell in love (lust) with the many topping options and eclectic atmosphere.  The booths are repurposed church pews and the entire environment evokes the feeling that you're about to eat hotdogs sent from heaven.  After my second dining experience there, I'd say that sounds about right.  

Stemstar and I were told to anticipate a 20 to 30 minute wait, so we took seats at the bar to enjoy house mojitos and conversation.  The house mojitos were made with basil, versus mint, with a hint of ginger.  I loved the alternate version of a classic summer cocktail and had no trouble slurping down a few. The bartender was attentive and quick to fill up our glasses.

We did not wait long for our table and once seated, our busy waiter came by to offer a bottle of water for our table and two small glasses.  We reviewed the menu while our server scuttled back-and-forth between tables serving awesome-looking hotdogs.  Finally Stemstar and I decided upon our meals.  I ordered the underdog (New Zealand grass fed beef) served Oahu style, with pineapples, bacon and teriyaki sauce.  I also ordered poutine buffalo, Canadian fries served with bleu cheese dressing, wing sauce and celery.  

My hotdog was perfection in a bun.  It was grilled just right and the combination of the fruit, teriyaki sauce and subtle bacon made me wish that I had ordered two.  The poutine seemed to be the same as Franktuary's standard frites, but the buffalo-style was delicious.  The wing sauce was not overbearing, nor was the blue cheese.  Everything blended together amazingly well and I was sad to leave some on the plate at the end of dinner. 

Stemstar ordered both the Oahu dog and the PA Dutch dog, featuring apple onion jam and cheddar, plus a side of standard pomme frites.  We were confused about the difference between poutine and frites, but that didn't stop us from enjoying both.  This was Stemstar's first visit to Franktuary and when asked, he voted the PA Dutch dog supreme.

Judging by the way that we devoured our meals, I'd say that both Stemstar and I enjoyed our fancy schmancy hotdogs and fries.  My favorite summertime food paired with a deliciously crisp summertime mojito was a perfect dinner to enjoy on a warm Saturday, despite the falling temperatures later that night.  I will definitely be back for a summertime visit when the windows open, but I may just have to order two hotdogs next time.

Franktuary on Urbanspoon

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