When I announced that we were going to be hosting a Chef's Table event at Dog Haus Biergarten, a few people were thrown. "Hot dogs?? A Chef's Table for hot dogs?"
I get it. Even though I'm a fan of encased meats, this is not exactly the cuisine you consider when you think of an event designed to showcase great places to eat.
When it comes to Dog Haus Biergarten in Lincoln Park, however, you should.
These aren't your typical "hot dogs." Even in the land of the all-beef hot dog, there's no comparison. You won't find any weiners with ingredients of questionable origin. Instead, you'll taste real all-beef "Haus Dogs," hand-crafted proprietary recipe sausages, crispy fried chicken, and tasty cheeseburgers, all served on Kings Hawaiian buns.
What makes them different is the meat and their dedication to quality food that doesn't have all the junk in it. Everything is hormone- and antibiotic-free. Their beef comes from Creekstone Farms in Kansas. I had enjoyed a steak from this producer at Fireside Grille in Wichita, and learning that's where Dog Haus gets their beef earns them an unequivocal stamp of approval.
Here's why: Creekstone Farms provides USDA Premium Black Angus Beef that is non-GMO and grass-fed. Jesse Koontz, who with his partner Toni Siprut opened this branch of Dog Haus earlier this year, passionately explained that Dr. Temple Grandin designed Creekstone's processing plant. I'd never heard of her, but he had. He and Toni had watched the 2010 movie about Grandin (starring Claire Danes and Julia Ormond), who's one of the top scientists in the humane livestock handling industry. One of the benefits of using such high-quality beef that's been raised humanely is that it's also Halal. This means that Muslims can actually come into Dog Haus and eat their hot dogs.
Jesse created a "Local TWOurist" menu for the event, which featured two Haus dogs, two Haus Sausages, and two items from their sandwich menu. We also tried their fries, sweet potato fries, and tater tots.
It was a LOT of food, and the proof of the quality of their cuisine is in the no-nitrate Reservoir Hog, as they say. (I know, they don't actually say that, but they should.) After all of that food, plus two beer samples and two drinks and a shot of salted caramel milkshake, we all felt fine. Full, yes, ever-loving-stretchy-pants-full, but not that gross wobbly-stomach feeling you get after eating something with all sorts of gunk. This was just good, delicious, tasty.
In addition to being really good at encased meats, they also make really good burgers. When you start with the quality of beef they use, it's pretty easy, but then you add some melty cheese and put it on Kings Hawaiian buns and it's no wonder Dog Haus won the Pasadena Burger Challenge in 2016 and 2017 and was #2 in 2018.
And the chicken Would you look at this chicken???
Another way this isn't your typical "hot dog" place is their bar. Their beer list was a beauty to behold. I was in such awe that I forgot to take a picture of it. (ME. Forgot to take a picture.) But I did get a photo of their drafts. To give you an idea, the beers we tried were Oskar Blues Throwback Pinner and Smittytown ESB on nitro.
If you're more of a cocktail fan, be warned: theirs are DANGEROUS. The Frosé goes down like a slushie summer treat, but as Toni said, be careful or you'll be dancing on the table. The Daly Drinker was an Arnold Palmer with booze. It'd be easy to drink a pitcher without knowing it.
If you've got room, be sure to get one of their milkshakes. Even after we didn't think we could eat another bite, one sip of their salty caramel and we wanted more!
Dog Haus Biergarten is located at 2464 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL. A perfect time to stop by to check them out for yourself is during their happy hour. From 3pm to 6pm Monday through Friday you can get $3 PBR 16oz; $2 off draft beer, wine, & single mix well drinks; $3.99 burgers; and $1.25 tots & fries. Oh - I forgot to mention. Those fries were so good we asked if they used duck fat or something. Nope. Just regular ol' oil. Well, I don't know what you do to your oil, Dog Haus, but those fries and tots are some of the best I've ever had!