So Long, ChiDogO’s, We Hardly Chewed Ye
ChiDogO's, one of a handful of specialty hot dog shops to open in the District of late, is shutting its doors on Nov. 11 after barely a year in business near the corner of 14th and U Streets NW. Prince of Petworth has the scoop. An employee confirmed the closure for Y&H last night. Its displacement will make way for one of ubiquitous architect Eric Colbert's latest condo projects. Operators are planning to open a new shop in College Park.
Former Y&H contributor Scott Reitz (now working as a food critic at the Dallas Observer) examined the Windy City-themed wiener venue in a hot dog roundup last year, finding little to, um, relish about the fare:
On my first visit to ChiDogO’s, my foot-long was warm but not hot, and lapped with spicy full grain mustard. The link itself (from Vienna Beef Ltd., based in Chicago) was a mildly flavored steamed dog devoid of smoke or personality that would distinguish it from other hot dog suppliers. A pair of bright, vinegary peppers packed heat, but the tomatoes were unripe and flavorless. Onions and a pickle spear were bright and crunchy, and muddied with the expected, and much appreciated, dusting of celery salt.
The relish, however, left me confused. After talking to a number of Chicago natives and eating at DC-3, I was expecting a distinctively sweet, bright green number with a radioactive appeal. ChiDogO’s relish was grayish and tasted flat, as likely to come from a plastic Hunt’s packet as a specialty Chicago provider.
According to [proprietor Robert] Hisaoka, all of his toppings hail from Chi-town except the onions, tomatoes, and other fresh condiments. When I badger him on the relish matter, he concedes the neon green varieties’ popularity, but says he decided on his chosen relish after a number of recipe tests. He won’t tell me what brand he’s using, citing competitive concerns.
Photo by Chris Shott