Photo by Caitlin Abrams
There’s something about summertime and hot dogs. They just go together. And Minneapolis has never had a gourmet hot dog shop like Prairie Dogs at Lyndale & Lake.
The brainchild of restaurant consultant Tobie Niedetz, the hot dogs are Vienna Beef from Chicago. But the toppings are all chef Craig Johnson, formerly of Spill The Wine. All of the sausages are made in house, from a chicken bockwurst to a corned beef brisket sausage. This is really next-level, creative stuff at a really approachable price.
The restaurant looks great: It used to be The Gray House, but it’s been brightened up on the inside. I brought my family on a Saturday night, and was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t have to wait. There was a nice balance of young people having fun and families with young kids.
YOU SHOULD ORDER
The Bahn Mi Joy Dog had that perfect Vienna Beef dog topped with a lovely chicken liver pate, some char siu pork, picked carrot, jalepeño and shoyu mayo. With perfectly balanced flavors, it really mimicked everything I love about a bahn mi ($10).
The Pig Easy is a boudin-style cajun pork sausage with a lot of spice. The pickled peppers balances that with a sour note, blue cheese adds the funk, and cracklins add the spice. This is a heck of a sausage for just $9.
Fried Cheese Curds: The curds are from the Faribault caves, the batter is made of pickling spices—the most unique flavor I’ve ever had on fried curds. Don’t miss them ($8).
There’s a kids menu! It’s great because kids will absolutely love this place. One son got a plain dog, the delicious French fries, and a drink for just $5. For the same price, my other son went for the kid burger (grass fed from Stonebridge Beef), with carrots and ranch. Perfect.
The shakes are epic. You’ve probably seen the instagrams of the s’more & bacon, with two giant charred marshmallows. I loved the Berry Lavender shake made with Sebastian Joe’s ice cream, I was surprised how strong the lavender flavor was. Enough for two (or three) for $6.50.
No cocktails here, but the beer list is huge (Prye’s Miraculum on tap $6), and they do some beer cocktails. I didn’t love the Michelada—it needed more spice, more depth, to the very tomato-ey, tomato mix ($9).
THE BOTTOM LINE
Prairie Dogs is fantastic. Great local ingredient sourcing, innovative and clever elevation of cased meats, and a warm and friendly approach to service (Thanks Andrew!), I can’t recommend this place enough.
610 W. Lake St., Mpls., 612-223-8984, prairiedogsausage.com