Kid Hit Menu Items: Beef dogs, plus veggie, chicken apple sausage, brats, and lots of link choices, along with fries (regular and sweet potato) and fixings of all sorts. The Slaw Dogs has char-grilled burger patties, too. (Note that traditional cole- or Thai slaw consumption is not mandatory.) A roster of signature dogs are fixed menu items, but customization is part of the Slaw Dogs approach. So kids might go bonkers for the wacky, unwieldy Picnic Dog complete with onion rings and potato salad, or they might just prefer a plain Vienna beef topped with a squirt of ketchup ($3.49 for the basic dog). The “Pups” menu includes a dog, fries, small drink and piece of fudge ($5.99).
Adult Perks: If you’ve ever contemplated the possibilities of off-beat hot dog combos, this is a good place to let your imagination run wild. Tired of the waits and limitations of, say, Pink’s? Not an issue at the Slaw Dogs. The hot dog is a blank canvas on which to tinker and experiment with the most sacred of American street foods. From Eastern Europe to Oaxaca to Thailand to the U.S. Eastern Seaboard, many traditions provide intriguing source material for dog topping overlays. Salad bowls ($7.99) sound a little less adventuresome, with options such as mixed greens with apples and goat cheese, a Caesar, Thai sausage, and Greek salad. The fridge stocks a small but well-selected and adequate selection of bottled beer, and non-alkie drinks including Dr. Brown’s.
Pros: Thin, crisp Belgian style fries to go along with the dogs are excellent. I’ll be trying the beer battered onion rings one these days. Paper-lined bright red plastic baskets make for an easy serving and bussing situation.
Cons: Very few. What you see is pretty much what you get.
Changing Station: No
High Chairs: Yes
Parking and Access: Metered street parking along Lake Avenue.
Other Tidbits: While not on the ethical or culinary level of Let’s Be Frank, the Slaw Dogs in Pasadena is yet another attempt to elevate the humble hot dog. The folks behind this operation on Lake Ave. just north of Orange Grove are having a lot of fun seeing what creative experimentation with hot dogs works. Or fails. Chili is a major part of the Slaw Dogs’ repertoire, but since I’m not interested in chili — neither on its own nor as a component of a larger dish — I can’t vouch for what the Slaw Dogs does with that favorite sidekick. We kept our meal straightforward, and all parties were satisfied. Light knotty pine wainscoted walls and tables and dark terra cotta colored walls make it a welcoming and well-worn spot, but make no mistake. The Slaw Dogs is many steps above your average neighborhood hot dog joint.
720 North Lake Ave. #8, Pasadena
Cuisine: Hot Dogs/American
Hours: Monday – Wednesday, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Thursday – Saturday, 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.