Friday, December 10, 2010

Good Eats: Hank's Haute Dogs

No, that's not the auto-correction making a typo.  It's haute as in high or elevated, but still pronounced as "hot" and Hank's Haute Dogs elevates the humble hot dog to new heights.  The founder, Hank Adaniya was born in California, grew up in Chicago, and became one of the top restauranteur in Chicago.

After working for several years as a chef, sommelier, and other positions in the culinary industry he opened Trio, one of only 13 restaurants to receive a 5-star Mobil rating in America.  Trio was famous for it's creative fusion cuisine and visionary chefs.  Four of Trio's chefs went on to win James Beard Awards (that's the Oscars in the cooking world).  You might have heard of one of Hank's chefs, Dale Levitski who competed in Top Chef Season 3 (and is coming back for Top Chef All-Stars).  Dale managed to make it all the way to the Season 3 finale, but was defeated by Hung Huynh from Las Vegas.  Like Dale's run, Trio's run was finished.  A few years ago Hank decided it was time for a change, closed Trio, moved to Hawaii, and opened two hot dog stores.  Why Hawaii?  His parents lived here and use to sell hot dogs on the beach.

The main restaurant is located on 324 Coral Street, past Ward Center, one block off of Ala Moana Drive.  The other location, Hank's to Go, is located in Waikiki at the International Market Place's food court.  The To-Go booth has a limited selection of these tasty eats, so it's just a tease.  Better to stop by the main restaurant to enjoy the whole creative menu like a Kobe Dog or the Duck Foie Gras Dog.  If you're a vegetarian, have no fear, there is a No-Dog (vegetarian hot dog) here.

Walking in the main restaurant, it is a small, cozy place.  Please bring cash, no credit cards are accepted.  If you were like me and forgot your cash, you can walk to the corner store which has an ATM.

There is a counter with stools inside as well as shaded tables outside.  Notice the big picture of "Chicago's Hot dog" on the wall.  This place serves authentic Chicago-style, all-beef, Vienna dogs on a poppy seed bun.  You can't get them locally because Hank's is the only one that ships them here.  

If this place looks familiar, you might have seen it on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.  Here is part of the Hawaii episode when they visited Hank's.  This place gets creative with everything, it's not just ketchup, it's curry ketchup.  They don't just serve Mac 'n Cheese, they serve Truffle Mac 'n Cheese.  It's not enough to see it on TV, you have to try it.

In the middle is the best selling dog, the Chicago Dog.  It's served with 2 sweet peppers, a kosher pickle, green relish, raw onions, and tomatoes.  The combination of sweet, spicy, sour, and savory is delicious.  To the right, is the Fat Boy.  Here at Hank's you don't just get a Chicago style dog, you get a Chicago style dog wrapped in bacon and deep fried.  Topped with mayo, tomatoes, and lettuce it's like a hotdog BLT.  That sounds so bad, but tastes so good.  It's almost as bad as the twice cooked, thin-cut french fries (called Awesome Fries because they're awesome) with a side of wasabi tobiko creme.  And you have to get the Hibiscus Lemonade to wash it all down.  

You shouldn't stop there.  In addition to the regular items, there are daily specials.  Fridays are Lobster Dog Days.  And what better day to try it than today.  That dog on the right is the famous Lobster Dog.  While it sounds weird, it tastes good.  The dog on the left is the Chili Dog, there's nothing like a dog piled high with cheese and chili.  In the middle is their famous Truffle Mac 'n Cheese.  To wash this tasty meal down, I tried the Lilikoi Lime Soda.  I didn't have enough room for dessert, their creme brulee.  The creme brulee here is the creation of Gale Grand from Food Network's Sweet Dreams, so it's bound to be good.  

Check the menu for Hank's daily specials and creative condiments.  You won't be disappointed.  The menu changes (they sold a Spam Dog and jasmine-peach ice tea at one time) so check back from time to time.  Their main restaurant is open from 10:00 to 4:00 Monday to Friday, and 11:00 to 5:00 Saturday and Sunday (parking is free on Sunday).  Street parking only.  Just be warned, this place gets busy around lunchtime.


  1. Definitely check this place out. The more I go, the better I like it. They also have a bunch of magazine articles on the wall that talk about Hank's past restaurant and chefs in Chicago. This guy is talented.

    Also, become a follower (link off to the right) to get updates of new posts on the blog.

  2. I love (and miss!) Hank's. I always take my visitors there for a quick meal. I can't wait to get back and eat there again.