For my first encounter with Franktuary, I rolled out the red carpet- an actual red carpet! I happened to be coordinating the commemoration of a business’s expansion to a vast, manufacturing site, and the occasion called for a red carpet For the sake of food fantasies and fantastical narratives, let’s say the red carpet just appeared and led to a sustainably sourced hotdog. Logistics aside, that carpet did indeed lead to a sustainably sourced ‘dog from one of the trailblazers of the Pittsburgh food truck scene. All in all, that’s a good narrative and an even better hotdog!
Not long after that red carpet rolled away, a building started to take shape in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh. The rumors proved true, and much to the local foodies’ delight, Franktuary’s second brick-and-mortar (and garage-doors) shop opened for business.
Upon opening, a coworker wagered Franktuary wouldn’t be open for more than a year, since a frank costs more than $.99 and isn’t plucked from one of those rotations of nastiness [I judge those heavily. Don’t eat one around me lest you be judged]. In his distance from the growing trends [ie: in his old age], he failed to see the delightfully long list of what Franktuary had done right.
That list in no particular order:
No corn syrup! What a beautiful mission and so well executed. Much like a Portlandia skit, browsing through Franktuary’s facebook pictures leads to photos of happy, healthy cows on a farm. They put a lot of care into their sourcing, so you can enjoy an American past time without guilt. To the responsible sourcing, I say amen!
There just aren’t enough outdoor or semi-outdoor eating areas in this steel town, where Vitamin D is a precious commodity. Plus, once my little one‘s attention span grows a bit, I’ll be able to straddle the interior and exterior with my puppy in tow, making Franktuary a high priority on the list of dog-friendly restaurants. To the breeze and city scenes, I say amen!
The [Raised] Bar
This positive attribute is twofold. Firstly, many of the cocktail ingredients are sourced from a garden behind the restaurant, so we are talking fresh. Secondly, the bartenders know what to do with those fresh ingredients. Should you say “I like ‘summer’ and ‘bourbon,'” well then, you would be me, and you would also receive summer and bourbon with the accent of grilled peach. Be warned cocktail kindred spirit, that icy, grilled peach cocktail could easily push us past our drinking limits! For non-drinkers or working lunches, it’s worth noting Franktuary serves kombucha and Boylan’s root beer on tap. To the [raised] bar, I say amen!
Creative Toppings & Choices
From the standard New York dog to New Zealand, grass-fed beef with local and vegan versions in between, Franktuary leaves plenty of room for customization. Beyond the embrace of dietary restrictions, they offer several creative takes on hotdog toppings. My favorite menu dog is the “Bangkok” (Thai peanut sauce, carrot, cilantro), but on this occasion, I was lured by the “Featured Frank.” Our curiosity also led us to start with “beet balls,” which I recommend for both the oddity and successful delivery. To the toppings & choices, I say amen!
The Sweet Pea
Fresh peas, mint, spring onion
With the abundance of hot sauce slathered on that dog above, it might as well be called “The Nina,” in honor of my dining companion. The girl likes hot sauce with a side of hotdog, and when she put herself at the mercy of the grillmaster, he magically delivered.
Is there anything as lovely as poutine against the backdrop of the city? You might say, “Poutine? Isn’t that just a fancy name for ‘cheese fries?'” to which, I would reply with a scathing facial expression and negate my offer to share my Poutine Québécoise with you. To Franktuary’s poutine, I say amen!
To the [old] guy who said Franktuary wouldn’t make it, I say, “I’ll see you in less than a year [with a shit-eating grin on my face… and maybe a smear of ketchup too]!” Their list of rights is long and growing, and I for one am happy to pay more than $.99 for some overly rotated, questionable, mystery meat. Roll out your proverbial red carpet and try them for yourselves!