Hot Dog of the Week: The Jackalope from Frank in Austin, TX
This week's hot dog is a crazy collaboration between Serious Eats, WRAP Magazine, and Frank Restaurant in Austin, just in time for the last weekend of South By Southwest. SE'r YiMay recently wrote about Frank's brunch in our SXSW Austin Eating Guide, but you also really have to check out their menu of traditional (and not-so traditional) hot dogs that start with grilled Vienna Beef dogs from Chicago and range to their wild, more artisan selections like the rabbit-antelope-pork Jackalope above.
One of the first things you'll notice about Frank Restaurant is that it just looks awesome. Retro and modern at the same time, yet it still feels genuine. Owners Geoff Peveto and Christian Helms are award-winning graphic designers slash printmakers who also really know their hot dogs. Along with their crew they've been scouring the country for hot dogs since 2008 on their blog Buddies And Hot Dogs, and you can really feel the influence of old-school midwestern hot dog joints (and a little bit of Geoff's grandfather's sign work from the 1950s and 60s) in Frank's design and branding.
What really seals the deal here is that the food is just as awesome as the concept. About half of the artisan sausages are made in-house, the rest from nearby meat processor Hudson Sausage. The Jackalope is one of the most popular, but they also do all sorts of weekly specials like the Venison Corn Dog or the In-and-Out tribute Animal Style dog, an all beef Vienna topped with grilled onions, American cheese, iceberg and Thousand Island dressing, only available during SXSW.
Along with the artisan sausage there's also a nice mix of classic and tastefully creative hot dogs. You can get a plain dog for $3, or a Chicago dog with all the trimmings (including poppy seed bun). Or go for the Carolina Pork-It: bacon-wrapped, deep-fried and covered in horseradish cole slaw and green chili pimento cheese. Not traditional, but sort of makes sense in an Arizona meets South Carolina plus bacon sort of way, and seriously, green chili pimento cheese? Sounds incredible.
They also have veggie dogs, waffle fries poutine-style, local beer, coffee and espresso from Intelligentsia and Handsome Coffee, and insane cocktails like a moonshine and root beer Mexican vanilla ice cream float. Oh, and live music several nights a week and every night during SXSW.
If you're interested in owning a copy of this week's artwork, it was recently published along with an article about Frank in WRAP, a really beautiful oversized UK design magazine that features poster-sized full and double page illustrations that you can hang on your wall, use as wrapping paper, or whatever.
This was the magazine's North America themed issue, full of tons of great artwork. It's limited to 3,000 copies and available (£9.50 = 15.50 USD) at thewrappaper.com. Giclee prints of the art are also available on my website. Anyway, if you're lucky enough to be in Austin for SXSW, or anytime soon, don't miss this place.
About the author: Hawk Krall is a Philadelphia-based illustrator who has a serious thing for hot dogs. Dig his dog drawings? Many of the illustrations he has created for Hot Dog of the Week are available for sale: hawkkrall.net/prints/.